Advent 2015

The Church of Scotland online Advent calendar will go live on December 1st, and already thousands have submitted their email addresses to receive daily updates.

On each of the 24 days of Advent, the calendar will feature a short video from a Church of Scotland minister. The videos are all inspired by a line from the Bible, a carol or a poem, and are designed as a daily moment of reflection to consider why Christmas is such a special time.

Prayer Diary: Care homes in our parishes

We all like to be independent and do things for ourselves. Some of us reach a stage in life where we need a bit of help and support at home. Some of us need 24-hour support:

  • thank you that there are Care Homes in our parishes which not only offer care and support, but also strive to respect our dignity and independence
  • we pray for residents feeling the stress of being somewhere new and different, and not being able to do what they used to do. Give them patience and grace when dealing with staff, family or other residents, and not let frustrations show
  • Thank you for all the staff and volunteers who work in the homes, cheerfully and helpfully. Be with them, and help them to go on doing that. Give them patience when residents may behave in ways that are challenging
  • Thank you for the different activities and therapies that happen each day
  • We ask for your blessing on residents and staff who are not well, or are feeling apprehensive of the future
  • Thank you for family and friends who are faithful in coming to see us. Help families cope with the mixed feelings they have when someone close goes into a Care Home

 Fact box:

Which care homes are in our parishes?

Castleview    Castlegreen Street

Dalreoch        Westbridgend

Langcraigs    Gooseholm Road

Strathleven   Strathleven Place

Willox Park    Colquhoun Street

Prayer Diary: Messy Church

  • Give thanks for those who come to Messy Church and obviously enjoy it. Some are part of the Sunday worshipping community, some go to other churches, some don’t have much of a church connection. Pray that the links will become stronger and that all may be drawn into the life of the wider church
  • Give thanks for those who organise it and lead the different activities. Pray that others may become involved in the planning and leading – both to include them, and to enable us to have Messy Church more often


This year’s programme is:

Friday 4 September 6pm   The Rock

Saturday 24 October 4pm Hallowe’en

Friday 11 December 6pm Christingle

Saturday 12 March 4pm   Easter

Friday 20 May 6pm           Holidays

Prayer Diary: Harvest

Praise God for the harvest of orchard and field,

praise God for the people who gather their yield,

the long hours of labour, the skills of a team,

the patience of science, the power of machine.


  • With each meal or cup of tea/coffee we have this week we give thanks that we can afford to buy food, it is always in the shops when we need it, we have clean water to drink and it comes out the tap – we don’t need to go and fetch it
  • We give thanks for all the people who play a part in bringing food and water to our table
  • We pray for people who cannot afford to buy nutritious food, or worry how they will keep themselves and their family fed
  • We pray for those who grow their own food and had a bad harvest or worry that it will be a bad harvest this year
  • We pray that those who grow food will get a fair price for their work
  • We pray for fishermen who go out in rough seas to catch fish for our tables
  • We pray for politicians and officials who make decisions about trade arrangements, subsidies, and such like


Fact box

  • 795m people (more than the combined populations of the EU, USA and Canada) do not have enough food to lead healthy and active lives
  • More people die from hunger each year than AIDS, malaria and TB combined
  • 1 in 4 people in Sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished
  • In the UK roughly 1/3rd of food purchased (6.7m tonnes) is wasted each year

Source: UN Food and Environment Progammes

Prayer Diary: Sunday School

  • Thank you, Lord, for the children who come to church. May they enjoy their time here, learn about you and come to know you themselves
  • We pray for those who work with the children. Thank you for their commitment. May they feel inspired, and enjoy what they are doing. Help us all to give them the encouragement and support they need
  • Help us to know what to do to increase the number of young people in Sunday School, and what to do to keep their interest as they grow older
  • We pray for children who are no longer able to come because they have other (often sporting) commitments on a Sunday morning – you never forget them, may they not forget you
  • We pray for parents and families as they seek to help children and young people grow up knowing you

Prayer Diary 28 June: Those working in shops and offices

  • There are still quite a lot of people work in Dumbarton, in shops and offices around the town. Give thanks for the work they do.
  • Pray that they will find fulfilment in their work. Pray for those who have ‘issues’ to face at work (whether coping with personality clashes, uncertainty over the future of their job, or dealing with the public)
  • Pray for good relations with management, colleagues and clients/customers

St Columba’s Day School event

On St Columba’s Day (9 June) Dumbarton Churches Together, through their Dumbarton Christian Heritage project, invited all P7 children from Dumbarton schools to visit the Castle together and learn about the town’s history. Lovely sunny day. Provost and Keeper of the Castle attended a short service where children from the school expressed their hopes for the present and future in their prayers.

images now online here

Prayer Diary 21 June: Our MP and MSPs

  • Give thanks for those who serve our community as MP and MSPs – how many of us would be willing to do their job?
  • Politicians need to be fairly thick-skinned – people tend to have a not very high opinion of politicians in general, and sometimes this can lead to politicians being subject to abuse and hurtful comments. Pray that we will be respectful and encourage others to be respectful
  • Living between the constituency and Edinburgh or London is tiring, and can be disruptive of family life. Pray that they may have the stamina to cope. Pray too for their families who have to cope with being in the spotlight, and may not see a family member as much as they would like
  • Pray for our MP and MSPs that they will work for the good of our community, and for the building of a country and world with peace and justice

Fact box: MP and MSPs for Dumbarton
Martin Docherty MP    West Dunbartonshire (SNP)
Jackie Ballie MSP    Dumbarton (Labour)
Neil Bibby MSP    West of Scotland (Labour)
Jackson Carlaw MSP    West of Scotland (Conservative)
Mary Fee MSP    West of Scotland (Labour)
Annabel Goldie MSP    West of Scotland (Conservative)
Stewart Maxwell MSP    West of Scotland (SNP)
Margaret McDougall MSP    West of Scotland (Labour)
Stuart McMillan MSP    West of Scotland (SNP)