17th December 2016
Happy Christmas & A Peaceful 2017
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Christmas greetings from The Guild
Welcome to our Christmas "special edition" of Guild E-news, which focuses on our six Partnership Projects.
At Christmas time we often hear people speak of the need to remember those who face a season in in huge contrast to the commercial, romantic, idealistic Christmas that we are expected to have. To an extent, we are challenged to restrain our enjoyment and celebrations to avoid exaggerating that contrast.
But maybe there is another way.
Thinking of the Christmas story, we see images of poverty, inequality, injustice and social division set against great hope and expectation, all set against a background of faith and grace.
Let’s mark, let’s celebrate, Christmas where we can, but let’s keep a place in our hearts and minds for those who face struggles.
Especially, let’s pray for and think about the staff and volunteers working for these groups and the people that the partners work with.
Let’s remind ourselves that even where there is darkness, a little of our Christmas light is shining in the work of Care for the Family, Christian Aid, Feed the Minds, Mission International, Prospects and the Street Pastors.
Celebration needn’t only be about partying. It can also be about thanksgiving and we give thanks for all of these wonderful charities and for the work that they do.
Have a happy and thankful Christmas!
Iain, Karen, Alice, Lesley and Nicola
Feliz Navidad from Christian Aid
Feliz Navidad from everyone at Christian Aid Scotland and Christian Aid Bolivia!
We are thrilled to be partnering with you and appreciate your incredible hospitality and fundraising efforts for the Caring for Mother Earth Bolivia project.
We have now installed around 60 ovens in the communities and the families have done the very hard work of ensuring that they can cook a variety of food. Picture: Fotos LPE/ Christian Aid
Doña Esther Guarayuco lives with her children in Nueva Betania. She runs a small grocery store and grows fruit to feed her family. ‘In the morning I think about what I can cook in the solar oven. If it is cloudy, I use it as a thermal box. If it is sunny, I can make soup – making a stock from a variety of meats and bones.
It used to be more complicated. I had to light a fire very early and add the meat very early. I had to make sure I had enough firewood and keep an eye on the pot. Now it boils for 15 minutes, then I put it in the oven and it stays there. I don’t need to add any more firewood or gas. I now have more free time during which I clean my house or use my sewing machine. I also have my small grocery store. I’m not stuck in the kitchen now, with the heat from the fire and the cold of the freezer.’
Merry Christmas and may 2017 bring peace to you and your global neighbours.
'Jesus is the reason for the season', Prospects in Scotland
Christmas is almost with us and around Scotland the Prospects groups have been enjoying Christmas parties and hearing the real message of Christmas – as the saying goes "Jesus is the reason for the season".
Also as we come to the end of the year it is a good time to look back and reflect on God’s goodness to each of us, our families, Guilds and Prospects groups.
In Prospects in Scotland we continue to give thanks for the opportunity to be a Guild project and the warmth of the welcome we have enjoyed when speaking on our project All Friends Together.
The newest group in the Prospects in Scotland community is in Kinross and they have chosen to name their group All Friends Together – how great is that?
Our other "big news" is of the appointment of Trish Archibald as Assistant Mission Development Coordinator. Trish started work on 5th December and this post is fully funded by the Guild project. We believe that with the extra post we can help more churches to be friendly and welcoming places for people with learning disabilities.
So we have much to be thankful for and we look forward to next year and our continuing friendship with the Guild.
God bless you and have a wonderful Christmas.
Ivy Blair, Mission Development Coordinator
Greeting from Feed the Minds Kenya
Dear Friends of the Church of Scotland Guild,
First I should introduce myself, my name is Cess Wangui Mugo and I am the Project Manager here in Kuria, Kenya. I have the privilege of delivering the Breaking the Cycle of FGM Project that you are supporting. I will be honest and say that I was not aware of the Church of Scotland Guild until this partnership but wow, your support has been amazing! Thank you.
Here in Kuria we are all aware of the wonderful talks that have been happening around the whole of your country and we are blown away by the amount of support we have had in so many ways. I know this topic is not the easiest to talk about, the same is true for us sometimes, but you have shown that you are ready and prepared to stand up and make more people aware of this issue, for that I am truly grateful.
I know some people reading this may not have attend a talk about our project yet, but others have and may know what I am about to tell you. The barbaric act of FGM in Kuria is carried out at a fixed time of the year, they call it FGM season and it is decided by the Clan of Elders. For us the season is upon us - it starts in early December for around 2 weeks. During this time we reflect on the fact that we have many more attitudes to change and much more knowledge to share. However we also celebrate that through the help of groups like you, we have already made a difference to the lives of many girls - giving them hope for the future and letting them make their own positive choices.
I wanted to write and reassure you that although a challenging time is coming, we must also have hope, this hope has been made more possible thanks to everyone at the Church of Scotland Guild. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time but also pray for the work we have ahead of us in the coming year.
From myself, the team and the communities that you have already supported thank you for he!ping us break the cycle of FGM in Kenya. We wish you every blessing this
Christmas and a peaceful and joyous 2017.
Christmas with the Street Pastors
As we reach the halfway point in our partnership, I would like to reflect on what we have done and what we have achieved together.
We have travelled the length and breadth of the country delivering talks and telling Guild groups about the work. I have personally spoken to thousands of Guild members, as have colleagues in every Street Pastor area in Scotland. I get great joy from meeting you all, because the reception I get is always so welcoming. I know that this is raising the profile of Street Pastors, because as I had my nose pressed against the window of the Moffat toffee Shop (as you do), I saw a notice in the window inviting everyone to the talk I was giving. I was so grateful that it had been opened up to anyone and everyone.
Whilst I’m not aware of any talks being delivered this month, that doesn’t mean things are quiet for any of us. I hope you all get the chance of some quiet time, and that you have a peaceful and meaningful Christmas.
Sandy Scrimgeour, Chief Executive, Ascension Trust (Scotland
Christmas greetings from Care for the Family
As 2016 draws to a close we are reflecting on our second year of involvement with the Guild – we have built on our partnership with you, visiting Guilds right across the country from the Highlands to the Borders, from Bute to Duns.
We have met so many interesting Guild members with stories to tell about their family lives, it is fascinating to see how ‘Let’s Stick Together’ draws people in – everyone has experienced family life in some form or another and recognise the desperate need that families have to be supported and encouraged in this day and age of instant gratification and easily dismissed relationships.
We continue to grow our profile in Scotland thanks to our Guild partnership. We have had calls from toddler group leaders in villages where a Guild member has passed on our leaflet and they are keen for LST to come to their toddler group. We have begun a series of Re:connecting Days with our Volunteer LST presenters across the country – to encourage and support them in their LST work. There is more to come in 2017 and we are looking forward to it all!
We wish all the Guild members across Scotland a joyful, peaceful Christmas and pray God’s blessing upon you. We look forward to continuing with you in 2017.
With best wishes from Gill, Hannah and Kate (Care for the Family Scotland)
Haiti says hello this Christmas
Work continues in Haiti to rebuild communities after the devestation of the earthquake on 4th October and our friends at Ouanaminthe continue to do what they can to help.
During a recent visit to Ouanaminthe, we were able to see how the project is progressing and to visit a local school which was seriously overcrowded with approximately 800 children in a space designed for no more than half that number. It was a reminder to us, if any was needed, of the necessity of providing quality educationxto these children in Haiti. The joy of the kids at seeing us at their school is always hard to forget.
The church also continues to grow with 2 services on a Sunday morning with almost 600 people (including children) at each service. So the sooner we can build the new church the better it will be for all of them as well. We anticipate beginning initial building works on the project in the first quarter of 2017.
On behalf of us all at Mission International we want to say "thank you" to you each and every one of you. Without the help of the Church of Scotland Guild and the many Guild members who have supported this project thus far, we would not be in this position.
Mission International wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.
A Prayer for Christmas
Loving God, as we remember the birth of Jesus,
may we share in the song of the angels,
the excitement of the shepherds,
the curiosity of the wise men,
the compassion of the inn keeper
the dedication of Joseph
and the unwavering love of Mary.
As we awake this Christmas morning
make us happy to be loved by you,
and give us a fresh commitment
to strive for peace and justice in the year ahead.
Well, that's everything for our Christmas special edition of Guild e-news! If you have something to contribute for the next e-newsletter then please email email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=e-newsletter%20contribution> - we can't wait to hear from you!
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