Thought for the day 8 June

8 June

On a walk along the shore, up-river from the Castle, we came upon dozens of jellyfish washed up by the tide. There is an amazing variety of wildlife in Dumbarton, from ravens to wrens, bats to geese, deer to rabbits and foxes, some folk have spotted a seal and an osprey here. How much wildlife can you spot this week? What do you know about it, what can you learn about it? Share pictures on this page if you can


Lord, thank you for the rich variety of life around us. Help us to appreciate it, and preserve its habitats


Sunday Worship, 7th June 2020


  • Welcome
  • Hymn  110 Glory be to God the Father (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
  • All age time
  • Prayer
  • Reading Matthew 9: 9-13, 18-22 (Good News Bible)
  • Reflection
  • Prayer for others
  • Apostles’ Creed
  • Hymn  19 Ye gates lift up your heads on high (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
  • Communion
  •  If you wish to share in some bread and wine/juice/water at the appropriate point in the service, that is quite acceptable
  • Hymn  624 In Christ there is no East or West (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
  • Blessing

View our online service here:

Thought for the day 6 June

6 June

“We’re all going on a Summer holiday!” No we’re not, at least not in the near future, and maybe not very far away if we do. Travel companies and those in the hospitality industry would love us to be going on holiday, as their livelihoods depend upon it, but lockdown travel restrictions, quarantine rules for anyone going abroad, uncertainty about job/finance and uncertainty about risk of catching the virus are all factors that will hold people back on planning holidays. Not every holiday community is keen to see an influx of visitors who could potentially bring the virus with them. A few weeks ago the media were promoting ‘staycations’ in Scotland or Britain to preserve businesses and local economies in both. This week the excitement has been about foreign holidays being possible again (and please could the government do this, and this, to make them easier). Why the change of heart? Does it reflect their own wishes, or what they believe their core audience want? And what about the rest of us, who would be delighted even to have a trip ‘doon the waater’?


Lord, help us to cope with ‘staying put’, with not getting a holiday, seeing people, going places. If we can, help us to make the most of the weather, the views, the local facilities that we have. Help us to be aware too of those who do not have such facilities (eg living in flats), and do what we can to help and support them


PS Time to get back on board and sail past Henry Bell’s memorial at Dunglass, and the crannog at Dumbuck, to get off at Dumbarton Castle Pier (1875-1908). Would that the new River Leven walkway were open! We’ll have a look round the town centre – though, as the locals would tell you, a wander round the shops won’t take long


Thought for the day 5 June

5 June

How many of us missed going out to ‘clap for carers’ last night – not just to express support for those people, but also to see, shout to, and wave to, neighbours up and down the street? Though it is probably better for the practice to make a definite stop rather than just drift into extinction. But we still need to remember the carers, and the impact that coping with the crisis has had on them – physically and mentally. We need to remember too the people who were and are patients or residents in hospitals or care homes, and those whose appointments/treatments were cancelled or postponed till well into the future. The health and care systems went into the crisis with ‘underlying health problems’ that have only been made worse. We hope that the decision-makers in government will ensure that all the words said in favour of the staff and the systems will turn into actions (and funding) – maybe we will need to keep reminding them.


Lord, thank you for the continuing care and dedication of health and social care workers. We ask your blessing on them, on all who are or have been in hospital or care homes, and those whose appointments/treatment is postponed. We ask you to inspire those in government to be bold in recognising the importance of the health and social care systems, and addressing issues urgently 


Thought for the day 4 June

4 June

A month or so ago hopes were widely expressed about the New World there would be after Covid-19: greater concern for neighbours; greater respect for health and social care workers, those who worked in transport or retail; more walking, cycling, less use of cars; home working; greater interest in gardening, growing your own food, knitting, sewing, painting; re-evaluating our need constantly to buy new clothes, furnishings etc; a re-focussing of the economy on ‘local’ and ‘sustainable’. Then restrictions started to be eased. Only travel up to five miles was the Scottish Government advice, so people flocked in their cars to beauty spots. Mountains of litter were left behind in places like Balloch. Adult cyclists speed along pavements. Were we mistaken in our hopes and dreams? Has lockdown had a negative effect of making people (some people) more self-focussed? Do we just let the dreams fade away, or do we work hard at holding onto them, and trying to turn them into reality?


Lord, help us to keep our vision of a cleaner, more caring, more just world, and to keep working for it

Thought for the day 3 June

3 June

Much attention is given in the News at the moment to the unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd. Deep-seated prejudice and pent-up anger in a country deeply divided over its core values and so much more, has led to widespread protest and violence. On this side of the Atlantic we like to think that we don’t have the same attitudes to race and inequality, that we all share the same values. But do we? What do stories in the News here tell us?


Lord, it is easy to see what we want to see, to have myths and legends about what we are like as a community or country. Sometimes we fail to recognise that the reality is rather different from the myth. Help us to be open and honest about our failings as individuals and as a community, and seek to address both


Thought for the day 2 June

2 June

We hear politicians say, ‘We’re following the science’, but then hear other eminent scientists disagreeing with the approach government advisers have recommended. People then become confused, and some become sceptical about ‘scientific advice’. There is an old adage ‘What is a fact? Answer: a working hypothesis not yet capable of being disproved.’ That might be hard to get your head round, but it reflects the situation where ‘experts’ (in whatever field) are usually engaged in debate and discussion over experimental evidence or modelling, and adapting and changing their conclusions in the light of new evidence or consideration of other ‘experts’’ critique of their approach. It might have helped if politicians had presented ‘science’ not as some kind of objective truth that cannot be questioned, but rather as a ‘balance of probability in the light of current understanding’. That doesn’t make for easy sound-bites, it might be harder for people to understand, it might even imply that those taking the decisions might not be backed up by unquestionable advice, but it just might help people to understand that we don’t have all the answers. We are where we are, but maybe going forward we need to recognise that neither we, nor the governments, nor their advisers, know everything, but that the advice given is based on years of careful research and review.


Lord, help us to appreciate that we do not know everything about how to suppress and eradicate Covid-19. Help us too to listen to those who have great knowledge and expertise, and follow their advice 


Thought for the day 1 June

1 June

It has long been said that a good law does not have to be just, simply clear and easily enforceable. It is a concept that readily applies to lockdown restrictions. Total lockdown may or may not be fair, but at least the rules/guidelines are clear and are easily enforceable. Once they start to be relaxed, with changes here and there, then it becomes harder to remember what is permissible and what isn’t (especially when people have been ‘confined’ for a long time, are becoming bored with being at home, and the weather is nice). It becomes a little more complex when there are different steps for easing restrictions across the four nations of Britain. At times the media don’t help public awareness of which rules/guidelines apply when they miss out the words ‘in England’, and imply that moves there apply across Britain as a whole. Whether we like the rules/guidelines that apply to us or not, let’s make sure we know what they are and try to stick to them, being examples to others (without setting ourselves up as judge and jury telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing)


Lord, help us to follow the guidelines as they apply to us


Pentecost Service with the Moderator of the General Assembly and others

A service led by the Moderator of the General Assembly will be online on Sunday 31st May for Pentecost.

View the service here: alternative versions, including with captions, BSL, text-only and dial in are vailable here: