Westwood Church https://www.westwood-church.org.uk A Gathering of People Expressing Faith in Jesus Christ Fri, 16 Feb 2024 09:18:36 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.4.3 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/cropped-webicon2-2-32x32.jpg Westwood Church https://www.westwood-church.org.uk 32 32 Sunday 18 February 2024 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/18/sunday-18-february-2024/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/18/sunday-18-february-2024/#respond Sun, 18 Feb 2024 10:30:00 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=8614

1st Sunday of Lent

Welcome!

We know not everyone who is part of Westwood Church is able to be in church on Sunday morning however, we thought it would be good to offer some excerpts from the Sunday morning service. Where we can, we offer parts of the service in text and audio, whichever works best for you. If you want to plug in headphones to your computer, tablet or mobile phone now is a good time to do it ! If you want to offer some comment or feedback just use the comment box at the end of this post.



Scripture

1 Peter 3: 18 – 22

Mark 1: 9 – 15


Praise – Be still for the presence of the Lord


Prayers

Lord God, faithful in Your love, we come before You as we are, to offer our worship at the start of Lent.

We come before You as we are, to hear what You have to say about our human journey.

We come before You as we are, to seek Your help and strength for the week ahead, and for every week, through Jesus Christ our friend and saviour.

We confess that we think too much about ourselves, and too little about Your ways.

We confess that we have lived too much for ourselves, and too little for the sake of others; too little with the demands of Your kingdom.

Forgive us when we go the wrong way or the foolish way.

Have mercy on us, and upon the world we inhabit.

Be patient with Your people and help us to walk wisely in the way that is Christ.

We give You thanks for a world of wonder and mystery,

with so much to discover.

We give You thanks for everything good that has happened this past week,

for people whose kindness goes unnoticed,

for prayers which have been answered,

for tensions which have resolved,

for strength given when spirits are low.

Above all, we thank You for Jesus Christ, who walked before You in trust and in truth, whose walk has inspired us and given us light, whose walk took Him to the cross and beyond for our sakes.

With generous and open hearts, we place an offering before you.  This is our way of saying thank you.  We bring what we can, be it great or small you know it is given in love and gratitude.  Yet, more than gifts, we offer you a life that seeks holiness, a heart that seeks righteousness, and a spirt that seeks to love.

Hear us as we join in the words of the Lord’s Prayer saying…

Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.  Amen.


Address

Many moons ago I used to tell a joke about Noah.  It was a very Aberdonian joke, very understated North East humour, which no one here on the West Coast found funny.  There is nothing more embarrassing than telling a joke no one finds funny; so, I stopped telling it.

Anyway, as you know in the story of Noah it rained for forty days and forty nights.   The flood waters rose and wiped out all the unfaithful, disobedient, unrepentant people.  Noah and his family, faithful to God, were saved from the flood waters by the Ark Noah had built.  And then God was seen to be fulfilling his promises by stopping the rain that fell and the waters that rose up from the bowels of the earth, placing the sign of the rainbow in the sky.

Moses, when he was leading the people of Israel through the desert had a bit of a rough time because of the people’s waywardness.  Deeply disappointed that the people were worshipping idols Moses smashed the first set of stone tablets that the Ten Commandments had been recorded on.  He then fasted for forty days before receiving the second set of tablets.

The prophet Ezekiel lay on his right side for, yes, you’ve guessed it, forty days as a sign of the sins of Israel.

When God sends Jonah to Nineveh to encourage them to repent of their sins, God give the Ninevites forty days in which to repent.

In the story of the prophet Elijah, Elijah fasts for forty days before he receives a revelation from God and then is ministered to by an angel.

The bible may be a complex book that spans some 5000 years of God’s revelation to humankind, complex it may be but stupid it is not.  There are themes that re-emerge like that of forty days, themes that suggest devotion and the earnest seeking of God.  Themes, like forty days that suggest ties between biblical characters giving us insight and understanding.  Like Jesus fasting forty days in the wilderness to then be ministered to by angels, just as it was for Elijah.

When it comes to complexity Peter, in his first letter, takes it a step further.  Peter almost re-interprets the story of Noah creating a bridge between old and new; a bridge between the ancient promises of God and the new thing happening in Christ.  The eight people in Noah’s Ark were saved BY the waters he says, (I always thought they were saved from the waters).  Eight people saved by the waters which is a sign pointing to Baptism, which now saves you.

So, our passage in 1 Peter ties in with the Baptism of Jesus that we read of in Mark’s Gospel.  Jesus baptism was followed by forty days in the wilderness; forty days which we now call the Season of Lent.  

The Season of Lent may be different things to different people.  For some it’s about resisting temptation, for some it will be a time of fasting and prayer, for many it will hold no significance at all.  For all of us it is an opportunity to draw close to God, remembering that we are baptised into Christ, that we have been confirmed in our faith promising to follow in His ways, to seek Him and serve Him and uphold the promise made to God from a good conscience. 


Praise – O Happy Day


Prayers for Others

Father in Heaven, in stillness of heart and mind we come to you in prayer, wondering just what prayer is about, the mystery of prayer that the thoughts we hold and the words we whisper, and the emotions that stir our souls somehow rise heavenward and are made known to you.  And how is it Lord, that the love which burns in your heart comes to us in these moments of prayer to direct us, change us, mould us into your image?  

We pray for those in leadership, the thankless task they have for they cannot do right by everyone, they cannot please everyone when we all want something different.  But we pray that those in leadership might follow in your ways of love, bring peace to the nations, lift the poor and strengthen our common life.  We pray the hungry might be fed, in body, mind and spirit, that the thirsty be satisfied, that God will hear the cry of those who long for justice…

We pray for those we meet each day, at work or in the street, online or in person,

at home or on the phone, whose pain and fear, anxiety and loneliness are so carefully hidden…

We pray for those who teach, in college and school, in church and community,

praying that knowledge may build up all people and strengthen our sense of community… 

We pray for pastors, ministers and priests, for elders and leaders of churches and fellowships that serve our communities, who seek to care and love and support, to offer the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who will listen.  May they come to serve with unity, with love and with joy…

We pray for one another, that we grow in faith during this season of Lent, discerning God’s hand upon our lives, hearing again his calling to serve, to give, to love and offer hope to a weary world…

Lord Jesus, we thank you for hearing our prayers which now rest upon your heart.  May your prayers now rest upon our hearts that guided by you we learn to do your will and bring Glory to your name.  AMEN


Praise – You are the vine


The Grace

And now… May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and all whom you love, now and for evermore. AMEN.

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Sunday 11 Feb 2024 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/11/sunday-11-feb-2024/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/11/sunday-11-feb-2024/#respond Sun, 11 Feb 2024 10:30:00 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=8584

Transfiguration Sunday

Welcome!

We know not everyone who is part of Westwood Church is able to be in church on Sunday morning however, we thought it would be good to offer some excerpts from the Sunday morning service. Where we can, we offer parts of the service in text and audio, whichever works best for you. If you want to plug in headphones to your computer, tablet or mobile phone now is a good time to do it ! If you want to offer some comment or feedback just use the comment box at the end of this post.



Scripture

2 Corinthians 4: 3 – 6

Mark 9: 2 – 9


Praise – From Heaven You Came


Prayers

God of light and truth, open our eyes to the glory of your presence in the world around us, but more than anything help us see that glory in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, that we may grow into his likeness, and experience the joyful fulfilment of our hopes when He comes again.

God, who comes to us in the highs and lows of life, transforming us by your holy presence, shining through the dark valleys of our experience, warming and lighting our souls with shining hopes, we praise you for the light and glory of Jesus Christ. 

Heavenly Father, a life of faith in Christ your son presents us with so many things about Him that we do not understand; of how He healed and cured people of their illness, how the offer of forgiveness transformed the patterns and perspective of life.  He did that which was truly loving and we struggle to understand love so deep, so perfect.  And Father, we struggle to understand what Transfiguration means or signifies, what are you saying to us through this event which completely mystifies us?

We offer ourselves to the God who surrounded in mystery, reveals Himself to us in Christ the Son.  Mystery and revelation, hiddenness and openness, there for us to see, or not to see.  And humbly we lay an offering at your feet, gifts and resources, prayers and service, wondering how gifts so simple might be fitting for the God who transcends all these things.

Hear us as we join in the words of the Lord’s Prayer saying…

Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.  Amen.


Address

Do you believe in UFO’s  Unidentified Flying Objects?

In recent months the USA released archives from one of their secret agencies detailing accounts of UFO sightings.  It turns out UFO sightings are anything but rare, in fact they happen quite frequently.  Video footage, Radar Tracking data and eye-witness accounts lend weight to the probability that UFO’s do actually exist.

In past decades those who believed they had witnessed such events were ridiculed by family, friends, the community and by the media.  Those who chose to tell of their encounter with UFO’s were branded as crazy, insane or just plain stupid.  Too often their lives were made miserable for talking about what they believed they saw.

Modern communications however, allow us to gather information from across the globe and it turns out that not all UFO sightings are in Area 51 – that highly classified US Military base in the Nevada desert.  Right across the globe people have seen what they believe to be spaceships, technologies, beings, from other civilizations.  There is a considerable body of reliable evidence to suggest UFO’s exist.  And yet, I remain a little sceptical, only because I have not seen one myself.

In a documentary that I watched recently one participant offered some wise words, ‘Why can’t we accept that human beings have these “experiences” which are often inexplicable and outside of the norm yet are deeply meaningful and life-changing for those who have them.’  And that subtly changes the focus away from the physical existence of UFO’s to a focus upon our human condition, meaning and the spiritual.  As human beings we are able to have experiences that we cannot rationally explain but that doesn’t make them less poignant or less truthful.

It is inevitable that at the close of the Season of Epiphany we will focus on the story of the Transfiguration.  I will have written sermon’s and address on this story a goodly number of times but that does not mean that I understand it better now than I did when I entered ministry 35 years ago.

For Peter James and John what they saw was very real to them.  Peter responded to what he saw by offering to make three tents; his very practical response indicating just how real and tangible it felt to him.  They heard a voice from the cloud; physically their sense of hearing was stimulated even if they couldn’t identify how this voice was being produced.  And what they saw with their eyes was a change in Jesus appearance his clothes shinning white, whiter than anyone could wash them.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not in any way suggesting Jesus was an alien life form visiting us from a far off planet.  Jesus was a human as you and I.  But I am saying that Peter James and John, as human beings had an ‘experience’ which was inexplicable and outside of the norm yet it was deeply meaningful and life-changing for them.  In a similar way to Paul’s conversion experience on the Damascus Road.

Sometimes I wonder if we overlook the significance of the Transfiguration in our Christian tradition.  We focus, understandably, on the crucifixion and resurrection of the Christ as the heart of our Christian faith and see in those events a God of love and power at work.  But we should not overlook the capacity of human beings, like you and I, to have an ‘experience’ which defies explanation yet offers meaning and is frequently life-changing.

Peter James and John had an ‘experience’ of the Christ which though they were asked not to tell anyone about it, I suspect they didn’t have words to truly describe that experience.  And I suspect that even today we still need the reality of that unreal experience; those moments when God leaves us mystified, speechless, utterly in awe of Him and changed forever.


Praise – Fairest Lord Jesus


Prayers for Others

Israel / Gaza

The Hamas offer of a truce rejected as delusional.  Only total victory is acceptable to Israel.  And we cannot help but wonder what total victory looks like when after three months of conflict almost half of all buildings in Gaza have been destroyed, tens of thousands of civilians killed.  When Gaza has been razed to the ground and millions are left with nowhere to live and nowhere to go, with precious little in the way of aid getting to them – is that victory?  Or is it the collapse of all humanity? Does it herald something glorious or something dark and sinister?  Europe and the USA once cautiously supportive of conflict is now finding a voice that says ‘no more, this cannot continue’.

And here we are Lord, gathered in the safety of our small church, far from conflict, far from the pain that others suffer, and all we can bring to it is our small prayer.  Yet, we believe that our small prayer goes to a wonderful and amazing God who can change the course of history by changing the hearts of people.  May those who seek total victory come to set aside empty goals and learn instead to bear with one another in love.  Lord hear our prayers…

Royal Family

Father God, we remember in our prayers the members of the Royal Family as they face a time of personal crisis.  We learn of King Charles diagnosis of cancer and many will associate with the anxiety and fear such words bring.  Many will know the journey to recovery that is far from easy when treatments can be harsh and invasive.  Like many families they face these difficult times with levels of tension in relationships.  We pray that they may rediscover the importance of family and find healing for past wounds.  We pray for King Charles well-being and strength to all those who know him, love him and support him.  Lord hear our prayers…

Graciously Lord, you have heard our stumbling and inadequate words.  In our hearts there is a desire that is pure even if our words fail to give it voice that all people should come to know your love and learn to love one another as you love us. AMEN


Praise – Immortal Invisible


The Grace

And now… May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and all whom you love, now and for evermore. AMEN.

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Hall User Bulletin Feb 2024 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/06/hall-user-bulletin-feb-2024/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/06/hall-user-bulletin-feb-2024/#respond Tue, 06 Feb 2024 08:50:17 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=8570 Hello!! 

It’s been a while since we last spoke. June of ’22 to be exact. Maybe there’s just been no news to share cause everything’s running sweetly. And it is!

So, why now? Well there’s Good News and Bad News. Will we start with the Good News? 

OK…

Good News

is that Westwood Church has been able to appoint a new Property Convener, Mr Robert Porterfield. Robert has quite a task on his hands catching up on the last four years during which we have not had a Property Convener. Yet, since his appointment to the role in December of last year he’s really got stuck into things. As a Hall User this is Good News for you. If you see things that need attention, things that have been broken, or got broken by you (accidentally of course) then report it on the [email protected] email address. We do actually have someone who will receive your email. Brilliant!!!

The not Good but not Terrible either News

is that we have not been able to do some of the works and upgrades in our halls that we might have hoped to do. And this time, (dodging the bullet) it’s not our fault. The Presbytery, of which Westwood Church is a part, has not yet agreed it’s future plan and so we cannot spend more that £3,000pa on building works and this is intended for keeping the building wind and weather tight it’s not for all the little extra’s we’d like to do. Our hands are tied just now but it will get better. Oh! and we do know about the water coming in under the Fire Exit door of the Duncanrig Hall. This has been an ongoing problem which we thought we had got on top of, but obviously not. If you are using the Duncanrig Hall be aware that there might be a puddle at the Fire Exit door. The floor can get slippy when wet. Until we find a remedy you are best advised to make it safe as possible (mop and bucket stuff) and place a warning sign of a wet floor.

The Bad News

When keys were issued to organisations to let themselves in and out of the Church Halls (usually in the evenings) we created a form on the church website (tick list sort of thing) that verified that the building was left clean, tidy and secure. It’s a tedious thing to use the form every time you lock up the halls but it has worked great. Since the autumn of last year we’ve noticed a real drop off in use of the online form and now the issues are creeping back in. In the early part of this month the Fire Exit Door in the Duncanrig Hall was left open overnight. Apart from the obvious security risk which that created it has to be said that in the weather we’ve been having wind or rain damage to the hall and its contents could have been a real possibility. Those responsible for leaving the door open would inevitably be charged for loss or damage. Please, please, pretty please, do the checks when you are leaving the building. Find one of those posters with the QR code, scan, go to the link and complete the form it will guide you round all the things you need to check before you leave the building. Complete the form as you are closing up, not afterwards from your comfy armchair at home (we can tell if you’ve done that!) Even if you haven’t opened the Fire Exit Door (presumably to put the bins out or doing your own fire evacuation drill) do check that it’s closed before you leave. If you were last to use the hall it’s all too easy to point the finger of blame at your organisation if something goes wrong!

It’s not all negativity

No it’s not all negativity. Since issuing keys to organisation things have run pretty well. We notice that everyone is respectful of the halls and don’t abuse facilities, vandalise them or tamper with fire extinguishers and all that sort of stuff. So, A BIG Thank You from us to you!

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Sunday 04 February 2024 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/04/sunday-04-february-2024/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/04/sunday-04-february-2024/#respond Sun, 04 Feb 2024 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=8545

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Welcome!

We know not everyone who is part of Westwood Church is able to be in church on Sunday morning however, we thought it would be good to offer some excerpts from the Sunday morning service. Where we can, we offer parts of the service in text and audio, whichever works best for you. If you want to plug in headphones to your computer, tablet or mobile phone now is a good time to do it ! If you want to offer some comment or feedback just use the comment box at the end of this post.


The text of the prayers and address offered below were presented at Greenhills Parish Church during the 11am act of worship



Scripture

1 Corinthians 9: 16 – 23

Mark 1: 29 – 39


Praise – O God you search me


Prayers

God of love, we lift up our eyes, searching for you, looking for help, looking for love, looking for reassurance.

Jesus our hope, we lift up our voices praising Your name because we know our help comes from you.

Holy Spirit our guide we lift up our hearts seeking that moment of new birth; remake us in your image.

Loving God, You know each of us from before we were born.  You have journeyed with us through thick and thin.  In the light, when we can see clearly and in the dark, when it can be difficult and confusing; nothing hides us from you.  Darkness and light are the same to you.

We confess that we do not always live up to our expectations of self.  When you seek only to love us in all our imperfections we are only too willing to judge and condemn ourselves and others for our mistakes.  You show us mercy; show us how to offer mercy to others and to ourselves.  When we are not awake to signs of Your presence, please forgive us.  When we take a wrong turn or walk away from the opportunity to be blessed, or be a blessing to others, forgive us.

So, let us rise anew in this moment, restored, refreshed, ready to offer ourselves into your service, to give as you give and love as you love, to offer forgiveness and the healing of relationships.  For this is our true offering to you, offering that which truly matters, offering life through community, compassion through faith and healing through sacrifice.

Hear us as we join in the words of the Lord’s Prayer saying…

Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.  Amen.


Address

Way back in mid- February 2020, just before the pandemic burst forth upon us all,  Presbytery appointed me as Interim- Moderator for the linked charge of Hamilton West with Gilmour Whitehill.  Within a few short weeks of that all churches were closed, no one gathered for public worship.  It made being Interim-Moderator very easy – no pulpit supply to arrange!!  But then I discovered it made the task of Interim-Moderator very difficult.  Hamilton West wanted to continue with a newsletter (fine) and there should be a contribution from the new Interim-Moderator.  Just how was I going to write something meaningful for a congregation I had never met???  Well, I did write something; but I can’t guarantee it was meaningful.

And here I am today, in a church that I have been in on a number of occasions over the last 27 years.  I have attended meetings and Lent Studies, popped in for tea, chatted with John, had lunch with John and even attended Sunday morning worship once while I was on Study Leave.  But I have never done this before, never had the opportunity to lead worship.  And so, I am very aware that I don’t really know you, and you don’t really know me so, I don’t know if I’m going to say anything very meaningful for you today.

There is however, a set of circumstances that brings me here today of which we are all well aware.  The future, and not so distant future, holds the prospect of a union of the two congregations of Greenhills and Westwood.  So, it’s not just you getting to know me, it’s all of us getting to know each other.  And to that end we’ve established a little working group of six people from Greenhills and four from Westwood to think about the best ways of building good relationships.  Working Groups can come up with ideas, and suggestions and plans but really it comes down to each of us as individuals having the will to make it happen.  And I know you have rights, as a congregation you have rights.  And primarily here I’m thinking about your right to choose your minister.  You may choose me, or you may not choose me to be your minister.  And I’m very aware that I must not try to persuade you one way or the other.  I’m not here canvassing for votes.  I’m not going to be a regular at Greenhills on Sunday mornings. I’m just introducing myself – no more no less.

And I  know, and you know, and Westwood knows, that the changes ahead of us are not equally shared by the two congregations.  There may be the opportunity ahead of us to create something new and good but getting there will have times of unavoidable sorrow and loss.

Jesus, like all of us, confronted life’s unavoidable sorrow and loss, his own and other people’s.  On this occasion, as we read in Mark’s Gospel, with James and John, he travels to the home of Simon and Andrew and finds there that Simon’s mother-in-law is sick in bed with a fever.  Jesus goes to her, takes her by the hand and helps her up.  The fever leaves her and normality resumes when she does what woman of her time did by waiting on the men; proof indeed that she was restored to health!

The story rapidly spreads and people become hopeful that something like this might happen for them.  So, they gather in front of the house and Jesus heals many people of their sickness and disease.  Their hopes are fulfilled.

We might have a thousand questions about what Jesus did that day for Simon’s mother-in-law; a miracle, a healing, a trick, a coincidence, the power of God, the presence of the Kingdom?  Nor shall we ever truly know if Simon’s mother-in-law had a minor head cold or some major life-threatening infection?  We will never find a definitive and satisfactory answer to these questions.  Yet, we cannot dispute the reaction of hope it created in so many people.  By evening, when the sun had set, all the people of the town had gathered outside the house hopeful that they too would be  cured of their ills.

Mark omits to tell us of the method by which all the town’s people came to learn of Simon’s mother-in-law’s healing.  To put it simply, someone must have told them, told the story, a story which was understood to be Good News.  From out of the pain and anguish, the sorrow and loss, is born something good and hopeful that inspires others to seek Jesus out as someone who brings healing and hope to their living.

And you do this.  When you have your time of sharing Good News on a Sunday morning you tell of what God has done in your life, of answered prayers and hopeful living.  You have a story to tell, a faith story, if you like.  A story that can allow others to feel hopeful and seek the Christ.  Maybe this is something you can teach us to do at Westwood.

Telling our story is important.  It links us to other people who share the same experience be that good or bad.  Recently, Westwood Church joined up with community group Drum EK to establish a Music and Stories event.  It is absolutely in its infancy with the first meeting planned for Sunday 14th April.  I think this is something we could build together because it’s a place from which we can tell the story of the Gospel and give others the gift of hope in Christ.


Praise – How deep the Father’s love


Prayers for Others

Lord Jesus Christ, risen to live forever, we thank You for continuing to entrust us with a message for the world to hear; the good news of your gospel.

Thank you for continuing to stand by us even when we let You down and we thank You for never faltering in Your care for us and Your love for us, even when we hurt and betray You.

May we in return, stand by You…

care for You….

love You…

and above all, may we work with You in sustaining your people.

Give us, we pray, the courage as individuals and as communities of Your people, to listen for Your voice, the courage to lift up our voices speaking out in the name of Christ.   And when we fear where that might lead us, when we hesitate, held back by the safe and familiar, reassure us of being held in Your arms.

Ever with us Lord, we bring to You a world You care for deeply. Into those places where violence is rife, bring Your peace, we pray.

Into those places where hatred and suspicion grow, encourage understanding and sow the seeds of love and respect.

Where poverty and disease make life miserable for people, don’t let us turn away. Instead,

Help us to be Your hands:

Your heart,

Your feet,

Your voice.

Lord Jesus, we take these moments in quietness to think, to pray, to listen for you speaking to our hearts.  May the prayers we offer be your prayers and your prayers be ours…

All these prayers we offer in Jesus’ name, the Living God,

who sees so much more than we could ever think or know,

and who chooses to invite us to be part of what He is doing

bringing love and life and light to this world.

AMEN


Praise – Will you come and follow me


The Grace

And now… May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and all whom you love, now and for evermore. AMEN.

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Just One Thing… https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/01/just-one-thing/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/02/01/just-one-thing/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2024 20:03:13 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=7380

Now we all know times are challenging. We hear about it on the news; how people everywhere are struggling to make ends meet even if they are in employment.

Westwood Church has always been a big supporter of East Kilbride charity Loaves and Fishes. We do what we can to help but after a visit from Lesley Davidson Chair person at Loaves and Fishes we were left in no doubt that we could do more and should do more. The level of need in East Kilbride is frightening.

Just One Thing is our way of helping. To put it simply we are asking every member of the congregation to bring in just one item for Loaves and Fishes each week. One packet of biscuits OR one tin OR one item of toiletries OR one pack of disposable nappies OR … well you’ve got the gist. One item each week from the congregation would put 90 items on the Loaves and Fishes table. AND one item wont stretch our individual budgets so much as to be unmanageable. Like the old Scottish saying “mony a meikle makes a muckle.”

Westwood Parish Church is open Sunday mornings 9.30am to 12noon and Wednesday 10am to 2pm so if you feel you would like to help others in this very simple way you too can pass on Just One Thing each week. Drop into the church during those opening times and leave your gift – Just One Thing. Or if you know someone who attends Westwood Church you would be welcome to pass that One Thing on through them.

And if you want to know why Loaves and Fishes are finding it so hard to keep up these days then it’s like this… demand for their service has gone from 30 food parcels per week to 160+ per week; more than quadrupled. The need is there and the need is real.

Pick Just One Thing from the items below: 

Any tinned fruitNoodles (both Pot and packet)Jam
Tins of CustardMug ShotsFrey Bentos Pies
Tins of Rice PuddingPasta ‘n’ SauceJars of Sauce
Tinned VegetablesMicrowave RicePassata
Tinned PotatoesBags of RiceLong Life Milk
Chopped TomatoesTinned MealsDiluting Juice
SpaghettiCup a SoupsSugar
MeatballsCerealStock Cubes
MacaroniBiscuitsLentils
TunaCrisps / SweetsTea / Coffee
Tinned MeatDisposable Baby NappiesSalt
Bleach (Spray or Bottle) Cleaning ProductsToiletries (Ladies & Gents)
Shaving productsShampooShower Gels / Hand Soap
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Go and Do Likewise https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/01/18/go-and-do-likewise/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/01/18/go-and-do-likewise/#respond Thu, 18 Jan 2024 09:00:00 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=8468 Go and do likewise is the title of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The week of prayer begins on Thursday 18th January and ends of 25th January.

Prayers and other materials published by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) have been prepared by contributors in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

If you wish to participate in this season of prayer you can view it below, download the pamphlet from the “download” button or view it in a new tab by clicking the link.

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One Voice Newsletter Jan ’24 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/01/10/one-voice-newsletter-jan-24/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2024/01/10/one-voice-newsletter-jan-24/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2024 11:23:17 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=8444 Hello Community Member 

One Voice are keen to update with action and information to date with regards to the Ward 7 Community Facility Review dated Sep 23: 

  • The first action was to submit a petition to halt the Ward 7 Facility Review, but this was rejected due to being within 6 months of committee decision. The petition quickly received over 300 signatures
  • The FOI request was submitted to SLC and details of running costs of all 3 facilities was received 
  • The resident compliant was acknowledged – no further information to date 
  • The information received from all groups who use the facilities has been consolidated to support the retention of Westwood Facilities 

Although the petition was rejected, One Voice requested to meet with the SLC Head of Property Services (Ms Joanne Forbes). At this meeting the voice of Westwood Community was presented with regards to the impact of the review in the present and future. Ms Forbes acknowledged all points raised and the community concerns.  

Ms Forbes emphasised that their department like other SLC areas is subject to budget constraints,   hence the review. They did, however, confirm no decision have been made and the review is a fact finding exercise. The object of the review is to present SLC officials with researched recommendations  and options for future facility management. 

Ms Forbes noted the desire to make the best use of finances, in that, the facilities that provide the best opportunities and are structurally sound were favoured in the review. Also that alternative solutions were being scoped. 

Ms Forbes also noted the desire to support the community and the groups that utilised the facilities. They identified having One Voice as the primary point of contact for the community and this will facilitate an easier and faster exchange of information. 

It must be noted that it is unlikely that all the facilities will be able to be retained within the SLC portfolio but with the support of the community this should ensure the outcome that supports the best interests of the community and groups. 

Ms Forbes noted that all Ward 7 Facilities require expenditure to make them compliant with current legislation. 

Dunedin Park Pavilion.

Sports club still remain interested to undertake a Community Asset Transfer. They are having ongoing discussions with Mr Iain Mulholland, SLC Community Asset Transfer Officer, to progress this option. 

The Westwood Hall. 

Remains a viable facility but does require upgraded e.g. structure, bathroom facilities etc. The income from current documented usage does not meet the expenditure, however, discussion with Ms Forbes suggested that increasing usage by groups relocated from other facilities could go some way towards offsetting that. This could be supported by SLC transporting relocated groups. At this time 2 new groups are already interested in using this Hall.

The Red Deer Centre.

From the information available the centre is the facility requiring the most significant  expenditure to meet legislative requirements and therefore the most at risk.  The Red Deer Bowling Club are in discussion with SLC regarding retention of the bowling green. 

Community Asset Transfer remains an option for both Red Deer Centre and Westwood Hall. In respect of Westwood Hall there is an indication that at least 2 organisations who would be prepared to partner with a management group to run the facility for the benefit of the community. The preferred option, however, does remains for all facilities to be manage by SLC.

SLC have issued a Budget Consultation so please access and have your say here.

So what do we need to do now. A questionnaire will be released shorty for you to answer to further inform the One Voice Group to further inform the review. The with One Voice and Ms Forbes is on 5 Jan 24. 


If you wish to contact the One Voice Committee please use the contact form below. Thank you!

Feel free to share this post on your social media. You can also sign up for email updates by scanning the QR Code below.


Once Voice Contact Form
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One Voice Minutes and News https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2023/11/06/one-voice-minutes-12-oct/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2023/11/06/one-voice-minutes-12-oct/#comments Mon, 06 Nov 2023 08:33:31 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=8022 Draft Minutes of the Committee meeting of 12 October 2023 held with Westwood Parish Church are now available. Click the link (in blue) to view them on your device. Click the”download” button to save a copy.

The Petition to halt the decision to close Westwood Community Facilities has been put on hold by SLC in view of the fact that no actual decision has been arrived at yet – the future of community facilities in Westwood is still under review. Steps are being taken to recall the petition, gather more accurate information on the cost of running these facilities and the extent of their use by the community.

Below are documents relating to the SLC Review and the Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by Mari Roden.


You can learn more about Once Voice on their dedicated page where you can also Sign Up to the email newsletter or use the Contact Form to get in touch.

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Prayers for Peace https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2023/10/28/prayers-for-peace/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2023/10/28/prayers-for-peace/#respond Sat, 28 Oct 2023 12:00:00 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=7970 Below is the text of the service in Prayers for Peace held in Our Lady of Lourdes Church and shared with Westwood Parish Church. If you were unable to attend the service in person you can still join in this prayer service. As always we offer sections of this in text and audio.


In the name of Christ, we welcome you to this time of prayer as we seek peace in the Holy Land.  Father Dougan, John Barrie and I met on Tuesday 17th October and rapidly discerned that gathering in prayer was something we could call on our respective congregations to participate in and so also to invite others to join with us. 

Since then, Pope Francis has called upon all who follow Christ to join in prayer.  Yesterday Friday 27th October designated as a special day of prayer for peace.  Although not directly in response to Pope Francis call to prayer our timing could not have been better!  

We welcome you all to the House of God, this place of prayer and of peace.

May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.       

Reading – Psalm 34: 8 – 14 

Song – Be still for the presence of the Lord

Earlier this month the Bishops Conference of Scotland released this statement:

“We have been shocked and horrified by the outbreak of senseless violence in the Holy Land. Our hearts go out to the innocent people of Israel who have been murdered and terrorised and to the innocent civilians of Gaza dying in a war zone. We join with Pope Francis in his call for peace and echo his condemnation of this widespread outbreak of violence. We pray for peace and call on the faithful, and all people of good will to do the same. We hope the violence will cease, that civilians and non-combatants will be respected and that all hostages will be released.”

Reading – 1 Timothy 2: 1 – 7

Prayers

We pray to you our Father in Heaven that all people may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence towards God.  We know Father, that you would grant our prayer for you love all people, you made us in your image and you desire only the best for us; to know your love, experience your forgiveness and live in peace with you and with our neighbour.

But humanity is flawed and those who rule over us as kings and leaders, politicians, governments and those in authority do not always lead us in ways of peace or love for our neighbour.  We pray for all who are in positions of authority, those who make decisions over war and peace for Israel and Hamas that they may not equate revenge with justice or see retaliation as a means to peace.  Where they seek to crush the enemy may they come to acknowledge that mortal death does not end an ideology, but hardens it, affirms it, strengthens it.

Where generation upon generation have known nothing but conflict, pain, suffering and hatred may those in authority offer a new word, a fresh hope, a new direction that offers tolerance, acceptance, respect and forgiveness.  For the road to peace is an arduous road to travel, it is a pathway of vulnerability, openness and fragility, it is never smooth but ultimately rewarding.  

Blessed are those who work for peace; God will call them His children!  AMEN

Reading – Matthew 5: 1 – 12 (The Beatitudes)

Address – Father Frank Dougan

Song – Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Reading – Colossians 1: 15 – 20

Words from Rev Sally Foster-Fulton Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

“Friends,

“I reach out to you all, as we continue to grapple with the shattering violence unfolding in Israel and Gaza, and to ask for your prayers and your action.

“Across Scotland, our Jewish friends, neighbours and colleagues grieve the loss of loved ones following the devastating terrorist attacks we witnessed unfolding over the weekend, worry for friends and family who have been kidnapped and fear the possibility of increased antisemitism in their own neighbourhoods as tensions rise across the world.

“In Scotland, our friends with family in Gaza mourn the loss of loved ones, worry for those unable to find safety or a place of refuge and fear an even more uncertain future.

“Together we agonise, yet again, over peace gone to pieces. We desperately try to fathom how we can be any comfort to the members of our global family trapped in the middle of such a barrage of violence and fear. We are appalled by the horrifying levels of brutality and the inhumanity of mass murder scenes which were broadcast across our screens in horrifying, gut-wrenching detail.

“We call for calm and active consideration for the innocent civilians who are suffering in Israel and Gaza. Peace in our world can never come through violence. Peace in our spirits can never come through revenge.

“So, what can we do in the face of war?

“If you pray, pray from your guts, not your lips – offer a prayer that moves in you and through you – one that calls you to reach out to a fearful neighbour, to speak up for peace and calm and the unity of humanity.

“Pray for all those many people injured and those mourning the loss of loved ones and those living in abject fear who await news of family members missing.

“Wherever you are, check in on your Jewish neighbours, friends and colleagues.

“Wherever you are, check in on your neighbours, friends and colleagues who have family in Gaza.

“Wherever you are, be mindful of your words. Tarring with a broad brush adds more fuel to the fire, so be kind to one another wherever you find each other.

“The Zulu phrase, Ubuntu, is the theme for my year as Moderator and its challenging truth resonates powerfully today. ‘I am because you are.’ We are one global family. When we look into the face of another human being, God looks out from the windows of their souls. Today, love God by loving each other.”

Musical item for Reflection

A Prayer for Peace

‘In days to come … they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore.’

God, it is said that you are the peace that passes all understanding. We sit now, staggered at how quickly the fragile half-peace we had pieced together has unravelled.

The lessons we have so desperately needed to learn have been laid aside as the instruments of war begin their horrible, haunting reprise. 

Call us back to our senses.

For the angry, abused and frightened among us, who strike out in a distorted quest for victory, help us find ways to convince that there is no victory to be found in violence.

Peace-making is a daunting path to tread, especially when fear follows so closely behind, so breathe your loving spirit into our hearts and help us walk your way.

We pray ceaselessly for our family in Israel and Palestine, for we are all family and when one part suffers, we are all depleted. Peace in pieces is a collective, shared shame.

God, you are the peace that passes all understanding, so help us understand how to find you.

In these present days we pray for all whose lives are in danger, those on the frontline of conflict, those who are defenceless civilians, the old who cannot flee, the child who is traumatised, the infirm confined to hospital bed, the mother and the father who bear excruciating grief at the loss of their child.  We pray for those who have lost hope, confused and bewildered, angry and revengeful.  We pray to you our God because you too have borne the pain of sacrifice in order to make peace.  Bring all things we pray back into our loving embrace, restore us Lord.

We pray that the escalation of conflict may never come to pass as military allies make their presence known and the political divisions of East and West rears its ugly head once more.  It does not take much to tip the balance; Lord may there be wisdom, restraint, consideration of the consequences not only for the middle-east but for us all.

We pray that those in need of aid may be supported and those who wish no part in conflict may play their part in bringing comfort to the hurting, food for their bellies, food for their souls, water for their thirst and water for their spirits, healing for their wounds and healing through faith.

Lord Jesus Christ, when words no longer suffice and we know only the anguish of hearts may you accept the prayers we offer to you now from the stillness of our spirits, prayers offered in silence and echoed by Your Spirit…

May these prayers live in our hearts until that time comes that all humanity can break bread together, embrace, and grant each other the Peace of God.

Then hear us now as we say together the word of the Lord’s Prayer saying:

Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.  Amen.

Song – I the Lord of sea and sky

Benediction

And now… May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and all whom you love, now and for evermore. AMEN.

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Just One Update… https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2023/10/26/just-one-update/ https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/2023/10/26/just-one-update/#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2023 18:27:08 +0000 https://www.westwood-church.org.uk/?p=7964 We’ve been running our Just One Thing campaign for a little time now and each week we take anything from 9 to 20 bags of food up to Loaves and Fishes.

The picture below tells another part of the story… the part where folks at Westwood Church are happy to donate whatever funds they can to help others.

Sorry if it’s a little hard to make out. The cheque is for £2,400.00 In fact we are well beyond that now. Westwood Church has donated £3,000 to Loaves and Fishes. We hate blowing our own trumpet but on this occasion we thought it was worth doing just that !!!

Keep Up the Good Work !!

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