September 8 International Literacy Day
I am writing this, you are reading this. We take it for granted. But do you remember those days (for some of us a long time ago!) when we struggled hard to learn to read and write (and had spelling tests, and were told off if we didn’t write neatly, and…)? Some children will be learning to read and write today, maybe for the first time. Some children don’t get the chance to go to school. Some are at school, but never really mastered reading and writing, so that holds them back learning other things right through school. Some leave school and are faced with a world that presumes that everyone can read and write: road signs, application forms, social media, online information, and so much more. Take a moment to picture life if you couldn’t read or write. Pretty difficult? As individuals, as a community, what can we do to promote literacy for everyone?
Lord, literacy has been an important part of our faith and culture for a long time. We take it for granted. But many struggle to read and write. It holds back their development and opportunities. They can feel isolated or embarrassed. Help us as individuals and as a community to help them to master these skills
Have you ever been at a crossroads or junction, on foot or in the car, and it isn’t clear from the signposts or your map (or SatNav) which way to go? It seems a bit like that with planning the way forward with public policy regarding the virus. The physical well-being of vulnerable people versus the mental well-being of a large section of the population. Suppressing or containing the virus versus allowing schools to remain open, colleges and universities to start, jobs to be saved and the economy revived. Acknowledging that younger people who catch Covid-19 seem to display milder symptoms, and might contribute to a ‘herd immunity’ versus the risk that there could be longer-term effects on them not immediately apparent, and the possibility that they could pass it on to ‘vulnerable’ people. We approach the crossroads from different directions, depending on our age, health, finances, family circumstances, where we live etc. Our own concerns are important, and need to be heard by others. We need to hear and understand their concerns too. We hope and pray that those who take decisions about public policy will hear all the voices, and develop a strategy that addresses all the conflicting concerns. We hope and pray too that we, the public, will be ready to understand each other’s concerns and follow the strategy and guidance put in place
Lord, there are so many conflicting needs in this situation that it is hard, maybe impossible, to satisfy everyone. We pray for those who make public policy that they will take the right decisions. We pray too for the wider public that we will respect each other, think of the needs of others, and do what we can to help
Last Tuesday, the former Presbyteries of Dumbarton and Greenock & Paisley united to form Clyde Presbytery. I have the honour of being its first Moderator.
For many years people across the Church of Scotland have felt that the Church’s structure – designed for circumstances pertaining 40-50 years ago – needs to be overhauled drastically to meet the very different world of the 2020s and beyond. The creation of Clyde Presbytery is part of a wider programme of change across the Church of Scotland – a programme that will probably be extended and speeded up to reflect the challenges and opportunities arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.
The union of the two Presbyteries, and the changes that will in time flow from it, are designed to refocus the role of Presbytery: instead of primarily having an administrative function, it will in future provide congregations with support in a variety of ways. It will take time for Clyde Presbytery to settle into its new role and for new support staff to be recruited (not helped by the limitations in place thanks to the pandemic).
To the Minister or Interim Moderator, Kirk Session, Office-bearers, members and the wider church family of your congregation, I bring the greetings and good wishes of Clyde Presbytery. We give God thanks for all that you have been doing over recent months to continue his work in your congregation and community, and pray for his continued blessing on you as you continue striving to do his work.
Moderator Clyde Presbytery
View our online service at: http://dumbartoncofs.org/2020/09/sunday-worship-6th-september-2020/
Watch our livestream service from 10:30am:
The first Saturday in September is usually the time for the Guild’s Annual Gathering. A special version is going to be broadcast online today at 11am. It lasts about an hour or so. It can be accessed at:
Lord we remember the members of the Guild, missing seeing each other, chatting to each other, and working for the church and the wider community. Thanks you for opportunities like this to bring them together. Help us all to work to support those missing company and conversation
PS Today we reach Ailsa Craig, the end of our Trip doon the watter. Next week we’re off to Edinburgh. You may not have been there for the Festival this year, but we’ll have a walk around its streets
Week beg: 6 September – Returning life to normal?
We give thanks for progress made in the fight against the Coronavirus and remember, with deep appreciation, the sacrifices made by many in our communities over the past months to keep us, loved ones, and neighbours safe.
We ask for God’s protection over the whole of Dumbarton as we return to work, school and Church. And, pray that the recent reintroduction of lockdown measures will prove successful and will be lifted as soon as reasonably possible.
That shops and local businesses adversely affected by lock-down would be able to bounce back. That jobs would be protected and, even that the local economy would grow.
We give thanks that our congregations were able to begin meeting face to face – all be it with masks, social distancing and fewer numbers. We know the months ahead still pose many challenges – we pray for wisdom and safety as we manoeuvre our way through this time of crisis.
We pray for those still isolating and cut off from social activities due to poor health – may they feel comforted in knowing we have not forgotten them. Guide us to show our love and care for them in practical ways.
Help us to create safe ways to involve many people in the life of our congregation through the use of technology. We are thankful that we have so many opportunities to meet up virtually. Help us to be open to learning new skills so that we can thrive and grow deeper in our faith and fellowship with one another.
The first Saturday in September is usually the time for the Guild’s Annual Gathering. A special version is going to be broadcast online at 11am on Saturday 5 September. It lasts about an hour or so. It can be accessed at:
Please pass this information onto anyone that might be interested:
A new mobile testing unit, will be located at the Meadows Centre, Meadows Road, Dumbarton from 03/09/20. The centre will operate on alternate days including weekends & testing will be available by booking an appointment through NHS Inform.
Communities Project Worker – Communities Team
Housing & Employability
West Dunbartonshire Council
People who listen when they are corrected will live, but those who will not admit that they are wrong are in danger. Proverbs 10: 17
September 3 Merchant Navy Day
80 years ago today the SS Athenia, en route from Glasgow to Montreal, was torpedoed by a U-boat NW of Ireland within hours of Britain and France’s declaration of war against Germany – the first of many merchant ships sunk during the Second World War. 98 passengers (mainly women and children) and 19 crew lost their lives. The anniversary in 2000 was used by Seafarers UK and the Merchant Navy Association to bring to public attention the contribution of merchant seamen, and the lives lost, during the two World Wars, and their role in contemporary life where most of the country’s imports and exports go by sea (though not so much now in British-flagged ships). Each year since then local authorities, including West Dunbartonshire Council, and others fly the ‘Red Duster’ in memory and appreciation of seamen past and present. We share in that
Lord, we give thanks for the service of past and present seamen (and women). They and their families can face many challenges because of the nature of their work. We pray for your blessing upon them, and all those who work to support them