19th March 2017

From The Minister's Desk - March

 

Dear Friends,

From the Minister’s Desk

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer

live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the

body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me

and gave Himself for me.

This year marks the 500th Anniversary of the beginnings of the

Protestant Reformation, as we remember that Martin Luther nailed his

95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church. As part of

marking this anniversary, we have been following a series on Paul’s

letter to the Galatians in our morning services.

We’ve been thinking about the Gospel of Grace – the way that

forgiveness and membership of God’s family comes from the free gift

of God, not through our own ‘good works’ and righteousness. It

challenges our thinking about God Himself, as we see Him not as a

demanding tyrant, but a loving Father.

And so this Gospel of Grace transformed the Church in Europe –

and here in Scotland – as these principles changed the way members

and ministers thought and acted in worship and in witness.

The Church of Scotland’s very form was shaped by this Reformation, but

over the centuries our denomination has continued to change. Worship,

buildings, parishes, ministry, organisation, all of these things have changed

and are changing still.

Today we face new challenges as the Kirk herself is shaken by the realities

of the 21st Century. Falling membership, closing buildings, financial

difficulties and lack of ministers are bringing with them a sense of crisis.

What lies ahead, we wonder, and how do we face this future?

Rev Dr Doug Gay gave the Chalmers Lecture series in St Giles in February,

looking at where we have come from, and giving a forthright analysis of the

state of the Church of Scotland and the choices facing us. These have been

recorded and we will be showing them in the Philip Hall in April (19th, 26th)

and May 3rd at 7.30 pm.

With the opportunity for discussion afterwards over coffee and tea, we’ll

explore the implications for the continuing reformation of the Church of

Scotland and for our own local congregations.

Yours in the Grace and Peace of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

As we face the challenges of change for the future, we can be glad of the

anchor of the unchanging Gospel of Grace and the hope we have in our Lord

Mike Goss.


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