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Sunday 18th April 2021

April 13th, 2021 · No Comments

Public Morning Worship was held at Helensburgh URC on Sunday 18th April at the slightly earlier time of 10:30am to allow the minister to then travel to take a service at 12:00noon in Clydebank at our partner church, Morison Memorial URC.

The 10:30am service was broadcast using the regular Zoom link (available from your Church Secretary or the Minister) and this edited recording posted here for those who were unable to attend on the day.

Guidance for attending in person: don’t turn up too early, don’t attend if you feel unwell or have tested +ve, follow stewards’ instructions, give your name and contact information to the steward on arrival, keep hand hygiene, don’t go near other people to chat, wear a face covering, observe the 2m guidance and at the end of the service leave the premises and don’t linger to chat inside. There will be limited numbers able to attend and there will be no congregational singing but there will be music and words will be projected on the screens.

We met again in the evening at 6:30pm via Zoom using the regular link.

Next Sunday, 25th April, the morning service at Helensburgh URC will be at the slightly later time of 11:00am. It is hoped this 11:00am service will be broadcast live over Zoom and a recording posted here by the following day as usual.

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Sunday 11th April

April 5th, 2021 · 1 Comment

There will be public Morning Worship at Helensburgh URC on Sunday 11th April at 11:00am but this will not be broadcast or recorded this week due to our technical team (ie the minister) being on holiday. Instead, those unable to attend in person are invited to share in this service that was recorded for the Sunday after Easter last year. This was not long after lockdown began and every week the introductions were filmed in a different location – for this service it was in the ‘upper rom’ at Helensburgh URC to bring to mind the disciples gathering after the resurrection in their upper room.

Guidance for attending in person: We will be observing the same safe practices we observed from September to December last year: don’t turn up too early, don’t attend if you feel unwell or have tested +ve, follow stewards’ instructions, give your name and contact information to the steward on arrival, keep hand hygiene, don’t go near other people to chat, wear a face covering, observe the 2m guidance and at the end of the service leave the premises and don’t linger to chat inside. There will be limited numbers able to attend and there will be no congregational singing but music and words will be projected on the screens.

We will meet again in the evening at 6:30pm via Zoom. You can get the login details from your Church Secretary. There will be no ‘Sunday @ Seven’ prayer from our Scottish Church leaders this week but this, our Sunday morning Zoom broadcast, recording and weekly emails all resume the week after.

Next Sunday, 18th April, the morning service at Helensburgh URC will be at the slightly earlier time of 10:30am to allow the minister to then go to lead worship at our partner church in Clydebank at 12:00noon. It is hoped this 10:30am service will be broadcast live over Zoom and a recording posted here by the following day.

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Sunday 4th April 2021 – Easter

April 4th, 2021 · 1 Comment

We gathered for public Morning Worship at Helensburgh URC on Easter Day, Sunday 4th April, at the slightly earlier time of 10:30am. This was to allow our minister to then go to lead worship at our partner church in Clydebank at 12:00noon. A recording will be available here by Monday morning.

Those attending were asked to bring two things with them – a daffodil to wave and a piece of bread. Although we cannot share bread and wine for communion as we might have done in the past we can break break together with each of us eating our own piece.

The music in our worship for Easter was led by a string quartet and a solo singer. Although we cannot sing at this time we can still be uplifted in worship through music.

We will meet again in the evening at 6:30pm via Zoom. We will have an online celebration of communion for Easter so please have ready some bread and wine or their equivalent. You can get the login details from the Minister  or your Church Secretary.

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Worship in April 2021

April 1st, 2021 · Comments Off on Worship in April 2021

Comments Off on Worship in April 2021Tags: Worship

Saturday

March 28th, 2021 · 1 Comment

Daily reflections from the clergy of the Helensburgh area and from Dumbarton will be posted here each day of Holy Week.

Holy Saturday reflection from Helensburgh

Have you ever felt forsaken by God? On the Cross Jesus cried out to God in words from Psalm 22 which could lead us to believe he felt forsaken too.

A reading from Psalm 22 beginning at verse 1

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

and from verse 27

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.

29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it.

Amen

The opening words of this psalm is a prayer of Jesus on the cross and it could well be that of anyone who feels that life is beyond bearing.

On Holy Saturday, also known as Black Saturday, the day Jesus lay in the tomb, I cannot help but feel that the world is God forsaken and that evil stalks close by. And the word “My God, my God why have you forsaken us?” is ever present in my head and my heart is close to breaking, yet our questioning presumes God is hearing. To ask God, “where are you?”, presumes a God who can and will answer and so we discover this is a psalm, which in the midst of suffering, encourages us to turn to God in faith and discover God’s saving power.

In the closing verses the poet testifies to God’s faithfulness. The contrast between desolation and celebration is stark. In times of darkness, we remember that the faith we have received is tested in difficult situations and having received from God the mercy for which we cry out we are called to bear witness to the goodness of God and to give praise to God. When I remember that I hear the other name for this day, the Great Sabbath. The day when Jesus was rested in the tomb before rising in glory on Easter and my heart begins to heal and I find myself ready to sing my Alleluias on Easter morning.

May God bless you.

Rev Christine Murdoch, Lochside Linkage,
Craigrownie, Garelochhead and Roseneath: St Modan’s Parish Churches.

Holy Saturday reflection from Dumbarton

After the death of Jesus on Good Friday there was little time to bury his body. Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Christ in a linen cloth and placed it in an unused tomb, hastily sealing the entrance.
“The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”
Over the past twelve months many people have suffered the incredible heartache of not only losing a loved one, but of being unable to celebrate their life, and lay them to rest, as they might have wished to do. Many of us, like the women with Jesus, could only watch from a distance, before returning home to be alone with our sorrow.

This Easter, rather than considering today as that ‘nothing’ day, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday; let us remember the suffering of those who had followed Christ; let us remember those who mourn the passing of loved ones; let us remember the loneliness of Jesus himself, separated from the Father. But let us also remember that though today is a day of sorrow and mourning tomorrow is a day of resurrection and hope!

Rev Sara Jayne Rettie, Dalreoch United Free Church

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Friday

March 28th, 2021 · 1 Comment

Daily reflections from the clergy of the Helensburgh area and from Dumbarton will be posted here each day of Holy Week.

Good Friday reflection from Helensburgh

Readings: Mark 15:22-39 & Romans 5:6-10.

And so we arrive at Friday. Jesus is betrayed and abandoned by his friends. Handed over to the authorities. Found guilty despite his innocence. Beaten, stripped and nailed to a cross. He cries out in agony, bows his head and breathes his last.

I wonder where you find yourself in the myriad of faces on this day?

Are you like Judas? Harbouring secret doubts about friends, impatient for change and disaffected by how life is going?

Perhaps you’ve behaved as Peter did – minimising our relationship with God to co-workers or neighbours. Failing to stand up and be counted when the going gets tough.

Maybe you see yourself in the crowd watching Jesus die – remaining silent in the face of injustice, not wanting to cause waves.

Or perhaps, like the centurion who looks in the bloodied face of Jesus hanging on the cross, you proclaim “Truly this man is the Son of God.”

Do you recognise Jesus for who he truly is, and what he has done? It is our sin that put him there – the only option for reconciling a people who time and time and time again turn their back on their creator. He dies, to free us from sin’s curse.

Do you see the love of God at the cross? The Father giving his only Son, the Son giving his life, all to give us a second chance.

We see so many emotions play out this day – bitterness, anger, fear, doubt, confusion, sorrow but also an outpouring of love. Yes, there is grief, but when we gaze up at the cross today, we don’t just see death, we see life. We see hope.

Emily Harvey-Cartmell, Director of Youth and Families Ministry,
Helensburgh Parish Church (linked with Rhu & Shandon)

Good Friday reflection from Dumbarton

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The notice of the accusation against him said: “The King of the Jews.” (Mark 15: 25-26). At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” (Mark 15:33-34). With a loud cry Jesus died. (Mark 15:37-39)

These bible verses were taken from the readings used on Good Friday 2019 when we were able to undertake our Walk of Witness into the town centre. A year of living with Covid 19 has meant we are unable to gather for worship out of doors. Perhaps each of us, in our own homes, can make a spiritual pilgrimage on Friday noting the time and pausing to reflect at 9:00am, noon and 3:00pm.

This year reflecting on the suffering and death of Jesus will touch our hearts deeper due to the suffering and loss of the ongoing pandemic. We are united across the globe in our daily challenge to face the reality of Covid 19, but we can be equally united in hope that together we can find a way forward. But such hope is for another day, perhaps Easter Day. For now, let us reflect on the loss and the pain we share in the knowledge God is with us in the midst of all we face in the world.

Bungie <><
Rev Mitchell Bunting, Dumbarton United Reformed Church

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Thursday

March 28th, 2021 · 1 Comment

Daily reflections from the clergy of the Helensburgh area and from Dumbarton will be posted here each day of Holy Week.

Maundy Thursday reflection from Helensburgh

Maundy Thursday evening is the start of what we call the Easter Triduum. It sets in motion the most important days of the Christian year building up to Holy Saturday evening, the start of the Easter Vigil (‘ Solemnity of Solemnities ‘ ). So before the actual celebration of Easter, we start with the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The Epistle is always the same for every Maundy Thursday evening – 1 Cor 11:23 – 26.

In my own tradition, we belong to the Reformed wing of the Church which of course started approximately 500 years ago with the Protestant Reformation. With our worship we moved away from the Mass & for many in the Protestant stream, the emphasis became sharply focused on Scripture & its proclamation. The signs were clearly there on entering such a church – a modest table replacing the altar & often or not a substantial pulpit where the minister’s sermon would be regarded as the centre piece of the worship. In Anglicanism the choir stalls became key – sacred music; singing the Offices of Morning & Evening Prayer ( Matins & Evensong ). Rather than preaching Scripture, Anglicans were singing Scripture ……..

What we’ve seen in the last 50 years or so, post Vatican 2, is a reformation within Roman Catholicism of the simplifying of the Mass & in Anglicanism a return to the centrality of the Eucharist ( may be particularly in the Scottish Episcopal Church ). Here in St Michael’s, the choir remains pivotal but our principle service is our Choral Eucharist – lovely as Evensong is, it doesn’t trump the Lord’s Supper !

The point is this, however we celebrate the Mass / Eucharist / Communion / Lord’s Supper – Maundy Thursday evening is the night. Whatever denomination we belong to; however we celebrate this service; the Church has been given a magnificent gift. Each time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, it’s a moment of God’s grace, which feeds & sustains us to live our Christian lives.

Rev Dominic Ind, St Michael and All Angels, Helensburgh

Maundy Thursday reflection from Dumbarton

A mixed bag of emotions

Preparation for a journey can be a double–edged sword. I think about the excitement I used to feel as a child when my mother used to start, methodically, packing the cases a week before we went on summer holiday; the planting of bulbs in the autumn; preparing for an anticipated show of spring flowers; or the writing of invitations to a special party or wedding. But there is another ingredient mixed into this excitement. That is anxiety!

There is the anxiety that all will go well with the travel; that the flight will be on time; the hotel will be decent; that rabbits, squirrels or foxes will not dig up my lovingly planted bulbs; that people will turn up to our party; that there will be enough food and drink. Yes, a double edged sword, mixed emotions! A bit like returning to our Church buildings for worship, which should help us feel better but some folk are anxious and not without a little fear.
How did you celebrate Palm Sunday? It was a double-edged sword occasion for Jesus, hailed and honoured as a King on the Sunday, yet he knew within days he would be dead.

The night before his death, hours before his arrest, Jesus gathered his disciples and shared bread and wine with them. He told them: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” He washed his disciples’ feet knowing who was going to betray Him. That was why he said “Not all of you are clean.”
Mixed emotions. Anticipation coupled with anxiety.

And yet as sure as the spring flowers bloom after all, and as we emerge from lockdown on the road to “normality”, so too Jesus will emerge from that ordeal a week later at the Resurrection. And there was Thomas – still not convinced; Peter, riddled with remorse having denied he even knew Jesus; then broken Judas hanging on a tree, realising what an eternally awful thing he had done for a few quid!; then John, now convinced of who Jesus was and all that He had said; and then Mary, excited and afraid at the same time; and there were the other disciples gathered in the upper room, confused and frightened that the fate of Jesus was soon to be theirs too; a mixed bag of people – and a mixed bag of emotions! But when they all eventually saw Jesus later that first Easter day, joy and excitement took over. Jesus got the job done, death, our final, feared frontier was conquered, sins forgiven, and life abundant was freely offered to all.

I wish you all a joyful and blessed Easter.

Revd Heller Gonzalez, Rector: St Augustine’s, Dumbarton.

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Wednesday

March 28th, 2021 · 1 Comment

Daily reflections from the clergy of the Helensburgh area and from Dumbarton will be posted here each day of Holy Week.

Wednesday reflection from Helensburgh

The Wednesday in Holy Week is traditionally the day when the Church considers the treachery of Judas.
Nature or Nurture, Fate or Free-will?
Scripture seems to lead us along that route.
However, we all know that we should not take any Bible passage on its own,
there is a danger we will miss a more important message.
Find a Bible or go online and read John Chapter 13, verses 21 to 32.

Do you get a sense of passion? Consider the demeanour of Jesus, at table with his disciples and he knows that one of them is going to betray him. Is he angry, outraged, incensed?
All the scripture tells us is that Jesus was ‘troubled in Spirit.’
The words used to describe the incident, suggest that Jesus remained calm.
Jesus identified Judas and asked him to get on with the betrayal.
When Judas had gone Jesus said ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.’
Where does this strength of character come from?
It comes from God.
Jesus has put absolute trust in God.
There is no doubt that God will give him the strength to pursue his task to save humanity.
It’s going to get nasty, but Jesus knows that all things are possible in God.
We are invited to compare Jesus and Judas as two types,
one who loves God and finds their strength in him,
the other who has known God but loves material things and will do anything to get them
Encouraging us to ask ourselves where we stand.
Is there room for us to improve,
do we cling to material things, or this Easter can we say
‘Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.

Rev Ian Millar, OLM, Lochside Linkage,
Craigrownie, Garelochhead and Roseneath: St Modan’s Parish Churches.

Wednesday reflection from Dumbarton

Today is often known as “Spy Wednesday”. It is the day that traditionally we remember Judas making a deal to betray Jesus. As the story of Judas unfolds we ultimately see him take his own life after the shame of what he has done overtakes him. Shame is such a powerful emotion and can easily destroy us, slowly eating us up inside. However, the story of Holy Week is ultimately a story of restoration and renewal. It is a stark reminder that our shame is never too big for God. In fact, Paul writes to the early church in Rome and reflects on the life, death and resurrection and says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Cheers
Oli Higham
Pastor, Rock Community Church

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Tuesday

March 28th, 2021 · 1 Comment

Daily reflections from the clergy of the Helensburgh area and from Dumbarton will be posted here each day of Holy Week.

Tuesday reflection from Helensburgh

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree: 18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

I’m sure we’ve encountered people who get a bit short tempered when they’re hungry –as a very old saying has it – a hungry man’s an angry man! Is that what’s happening in the story of Jesus and the fig tree. Yes, Jesus was hungry and yes Jesus seemed angry but there’s more to it than just that. I’m sure Jesus didn’t want to take out his anger on the poor tree just because it was bare and he needed something to eat. Jesus wouldn’t hold a tree morally responsible for being fruitless. When we see this encounter in context we understand a bit better. It was the Tuesday of Holy Week and Jesus was near Jerusalem. The fig tree symbolised the nation of Israel. Centuries before God spoke through his prophet Jeremiah and said, “I wanted to gather my people, as a man gathers his harvest but they were like a fig-tree with no figs.” (Jer 8:13). The tree Jesus came across had leaves but no fruit. Israel had a show of religion but no practical experience of faith resulting in godly living. Jesus was not angry with the tree. Rather he used this tree to teach that God wants to produce fruit in the lives of his people. The time of judgement had come for Israel and within a generation the nation would see their temple destroyed and the people scattered. No, this is not a story of Jesus taking out his frustration on a tree – It was a practical lesson about faith and prayer – a reminder to every generation that we must beware of the peril of fruitlessness.

Rev Margaret McArthur, Cardross Parish Church

Tuesday reflection from Dumbarton

“My House will be called a house of prayer for all nations” Mark 11:17
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” Mark 14:38

From the crowded, bustling Temple to the lonely garden of the olive-press, symbolic of agony-fuelled private prayer, Jesus proclaims the centrality of prayer. The ‘Court of the Gentiles’ should have been a place of prayer, not a market place. A place where the non-Jews could see the importance of worshipping the One True God. Instead it was a place of commerce not communion.
The Garden was where Jesus chose to spend his last night before betrayal, beatings and the cross – communing with Abba, Father and praying for us (see John 17).
Prayer: Lord may we put aside anything that impedes prayer and worship in our churches and in the solitary moments of our lives.

David Buchan, Lennox Evangelical Church

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Monday

March 28th, 2021 · 1 Comment

Daily reflections from the clergy of the Helensburgh area and from Dumbarton will be posted here each day of Holy Week. 

Monday reflection from Helensburgh

Hello and welcome to this short reflection for the Monday of Holy Week. As we continue our journey to Jerusalem, I’d like to share with you some verses from the Gospel of John, chapter 11.

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them[a] with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” Amen and thanks be to God.

‘What a waste’, says Judas. “Leave her alone,” says Jesus.

Who’s right, who’s wrong?

Mary, who risks everything – poverty, reputation, disapproval – for love. Judas, who contemplates what could be done with money wasted on expensive perfume now mixing with the dirt at Jesus’ feet.

Mary, who responds emotionally to the needs of Jesus. Judas who responds rationally in the context of the needs of the world.

Mary, who sees a Saviour soon to die. Judas, a Messiah who is to change the balance of the world.

Who’s right, who’s wrong?

It doesn’t matter. For at the heart of this story isn’t the wasting of expensive perfume or a lesson about poverty and injustice. At its heart is an intense message about love, compassion and relationship.

Before long women will anoint Jesus’ body after he is taken down from the cross. At that moment – as right at this moment in our story today – what lasts, what lives, what lingers amidst the aroma from broken bottles and the reality of broken lives, is a love which cannot die or be defeated by this world.

An immeasurable love, poured out in overwhelming excess over an ungrateful, uncomprehending world. Here, in this action and reaction, is reflected the wastefulness of God. A God who in such careless and beautiful extravagance has chosen to right our wrongs for all time.

I wish you every blessing this Easter time.

Rev Tina Kemp, Associate Minister, Helensburgh Parish Church (linked with Rhu & Shandon)

Monday reflection from Dumbarton

“As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” (Matthew 27.32-37)

I know it’s only early in Holy Week and I’m fast forwarding a bit to Good Friday but the whole issue of earthly treasures and earthly possessions has been very much on my mind recently. My mum recently had to move to a nursing home for her own safety. It was a massive change that involved her giving up a two bedroomed house to move into a single room.

I don’t cry very often but I cried the night I packed my car with her belongings to take her to the home. I think it was the realisation that a life of working and accumulating meaningful ‘treasures’ had reached a point where almost everything had to be abandoned and in fact almost everything no longer had the meaning it once had. My mum is happy and settled and doing without the vast majority of her possessions and we are blessed to still have her with us but Jesus’ words on the sermon on the mount about being careful to store up treasures in heaven rather than earthly possessions really came to the fore.

Jesus lived what he said and as he was dying on a cross people gambled for his earthly ‘treasures.’ In his case all he had were the clothes on his back. Not much for a king, yet this King of the Jews was richer than anyone who has ever lived and he promises us that if we put our faith in him we will ultimately gain an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade. That inheritance is waiting for me and waiting for my mum so I take huge comfort from the fact that in the end no Christian is ever a nett loser, however tough certain moments in our lives may be. In fact we have more than we could ever hope for or imagine, to gain.

Grant Hamilton
Pastor, Dumbarton Baptist Church

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