LATEST GUILD NEWS
Updated: Feb 6
Divide and plant
February is one of my favourite months, the last of the winter, and a month of promise. The vision of snowdrops in my back garden reminds me that despite new life struggling to get established, spring is imminent.
Snowdrops vary greatly in size, colour and shape, but if too many propagate in one place, the overcrowding causes numbers to reduce. Divide and plant is the best way to secure an increase – a bit like the Christian church (which has sometimes been better at one than the other).
The best way to spread the Good News of Jesus and to flourish is by replanting, spreading out into new places with new ideas. For that, we need patience as bedding-in takes time for plants as well as for people.
We pray this year that we’ll have the courage to progress the work of growth where God is calling us to serve.
“God will meet you where you are in order to take you where He wants you to go" — Tony Evans
National Vice Convener - South Area
PeaceThis month we are launching a series of worship resources that have been compiled by Guild members and friends. These focus on a particular issue and we begin with peace. This also allows us to walk alongside our Moderator, the Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, who has been taking part in an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace to South Sudan. Please pray for the situation in South Sudan, asking for God's healing presence to be in that situation.
We are grateful to our National Convener, Helen Eckford, for writing the peace resource which we hope you find thought provoking and helpful and you can keep to use both now and in the future. This new resource complements the 'Help I'm Leading Worship' resource that is available on the Guild website.
You can download the worship resource below or get a paper copy by emailing the Guild office.Download the peace worship resource.
If you are anything like our General Secretary then this is great news! The chocolate from our partner Chocolate Heaven has arrived and is available for purchase. It costs £2.50 per bar or £10 for a mixed pack of four plus postage and packaging. We don't yet have any raisin flavour but all of the others are available. You can order yours by following the link below. Not only does it taste good but the money goes directly to those who make it. Order your chocolate
We are delighted to share these wonderful photos from Houston and Killellan Kirk Guild. Both Marion (110) and Marjorie (100) celebrated their birthdays in style with letters from the King and a party at the nursing home they now share. We are very proud of our two very special ladies who have given so much of their time and talents to the Church and the Guild over the years.
New Wineskins theme and discussion guide
We are excited that our new Theme and Discussion Guide is now available and a paper copy has been sent out to each Guild. This is an invaluable resource if you are helping to lead a Guild meeting or are looking for new ideas. We hope that you enjoy using it.
Young Adults Guild
It was great to have 20 young people take part in the launch meeting of the Young Adults Guild. It was so encouraging to have so many folks at the first meeting and they are hoping, even more, will join them on 1 March when a speaker from our Guild partner Starchild will join them.
Please promote the Young Adult Guild locally, Why not download the poster and pop it up on your church's notice board?
Download and print the YAG poster
Ness Bank Church Guild - 1932-2022
Pictured above is Ness Bank Church Guild celebrating their 90th anniversary celebrations on 20 September last year.
Congratulations to all!
Sanitiser in the Saharah
Margaret Boe from Craiglockhart Guild in Edinburgh shared this great photo of her Australian companions appreciating the use of her Guild hand sanitiser and hearing the Guild's story as they stopped for lunch in the home of an Amazigh local while on tour in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. How far has your sanitiser travelled, we wonder?
Celebrating service at Tranent Parish Church
Tranent Parish Church Guild recently held their Dedication Service and celebrated the long service of their members. Many congratulations to these ladies who have between them 432 years of service.
Hymn for the month
Our hymn for this month is 'Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace'. It links with our new monthly worship as well as helping us to focus on the pilgrimage for peace to South Sudan.
We hope you enjoy this version by Susan Boyle.
Today's Monday memory image takes us back to one of our Guild events in Orkney in 2016.
We hope there will be an upcoming Guild event you can visit near you:
Ayrshire, Wednesday 12 April, 10.30am – 3.30pm, Howard Centre, Kilmarnock
South of Scotland, Thursday 13 April, 11am – 3.30pm, Castle Douglas Parish Church
West of Scotland, Saturday 22 April, 12.30pm – 4pm, Springburn Parish Church
Moray Firth, Wednesday 26 April, 2-30pm – 4pm, St Ninian’s Church, Nairn
Western Isles, Saturday 28 April, 10am – 12.30pm, St Columba’s Hall, Stornoway
Fife, Monday 12 June, 11am – 3pm, Linktown Church, Kirkcaldy
Perth /Stirling, Tuesday 13 June, 12.30pm – 4pm, Auchterarder Church Centre
Angus, Wednesday 14 June, 11am – 3pm, East and Old Church, Forfar
North East, Thursday 15 June, 10.30am – 3.30pm, Acorn Centre, Inverurie
Pray this mont
Week beginning 6 February: for peace in areas of conflict, for peace in our communities and for peace in our hearts.
Week beginning 13 February: for love, remembering those who feel unloved or marginalised, for children struggling to find a loving family, for those who are lonely and for love shared between Guild members.
Week beginning 20 February: for joy to permeate every fibre of our being, deep lasting joy that comes from God.
Week beginning 27 February: for strength when we are feeling weak, for strength to stand up for what is right, for strength to change even if it terrifies us.
The Guild does AdventThinking about the Advent candles which we light in our churches, it seems to me that the Guild does Advent all year round.
Hope is a vision for the future and there is hope for the future of the Guild. We have survived the last two years and are now seeing signs of growth. As I have visited Guilds and Guilds Together groups around the country, I have been encouraged by the positivity and the determination not just to survive but to grow.
New seeds planted with new Guilds who have chosen to unite. New ideas for Guilds Together groups thinking about new presbyteries and planning ahead, taking the initiative to have Guilds Together groups which will work for us in the new presbyteries.
Our young friends who took the initiative to start the Young Adults Guild, and who will meet online for the first time in January 2023. We wish them every success and keep them in our prayers.
Advent is a time of preparation and a time of reflection, although too often it is a time of noise and lists of things to do. Stress and worrying that we won’t get everything done. In all the preparation, we can lose sight of reflecting. No time to be still. No time to reflect on the angels’ song of peace and goodwill. Where is the peace of Advent? How often will we say in the coming days, “I just need some peace!” External peace may be hard to find but internal peace which strengthens our relationship with God and calms our fears, is ours through prayer.
Four times in the Christmas story the angels calmed fear and brought this inner peace. Four times the angels said “do not be afraid” to Zechariah, to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. The fellowship we share in our Guilds brings peace to comfort and support friends, all year round.
Like peace, joy is in our Guilds all year round and during Advent we share joyful times. Joy is happiness, delight, excitement. I recently went to some Guild Christmas Fairs and the noise and excitement in the busy halls with stalls full of good things and people chatting while enjoying tea and mince pies was a real joy.
Then there are the Guild carol services. Our Christmas Big Sing was a joyful occasion. The singing was wonderful, and the sharing of the Christmas story was very meaningful. Just as joyful are the Guild and Guilds Together carol services. The carols and readings may be familiar but the shared delight in the telling and the singing is not diminished for the re-telling every year.
And finally, love. Have you ever been to a Guild meeting when you did not feel love in the shared fellowship, even in difficult times? Then there are our Guild projects, built on love from those who run them and love in the Guilds who support and raise money for them.
All this love is evident in the words of our Guild prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me right where I am.
Help me to know Your love deep in my heart and enable that love to flow from me to those with whom I am in contact.
Love came down at Christmas. A love which is at the core of the Guild. A love we share every day.
We are a Guild of hope, a Guild of peace, of joy and of love!
May I wish each of you every blessing for the Christmas season and continued growth in our Guilds in the year ahead.
Christmas is coming
Well, I think winter has truly arrived with cosy jackets, scarves and gloves very much in evidence. With Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and St Andrew’s Day celebrations out of the way, we are now hurtling at an amazing speed towards Christmas and all the celebrations!
Sadly, all year round we hear of disasters around the world affecting people, both rich and poor. We hear of fires where whole homes and businesses are engulfed in flames, floods where water washes everything away, earthquakes which destroy buildings and homes and, at the opposite end of the scale, drought and famine where adults and children are crying out for food. Whilst we are experiencing many challenges within our own country, we cannot begin to imagine the daily struggles experienced by the affected communities around the world.
Here in the north-east of Scotland we recently experienced extreme rainfall over a number of days, resulting in rivers overflowing, which caused extensive flooding, affecting many homes, causing road closures with tragic consequences ensuing for many. We thankfully have emergency services that we can call on, and we heard inspirational stories of wonderful communities who rallied around to provide food and safe shelter to those affected.
As we approach the festive season, I am sure that, like me, you receive numerous mailings of appeals for financial aid and, on reading the stories, cannot help feeling that, despite our challenges, we do not suffer the ravages of destruction experienced by people in the affected areas. We give what we can to the appeals in the hope that the funds will be used wisely by the volunteers on the ground. As with our current 'Wee Seeds, Big Trees' theme, we pray that however small the donation is, it can help improve the lives of others less fortunate than ourselves and inspire them to have a brighter future.
But, looking at the overall picture of what is happening to our world, much is attributable to global warming. This is caused by greenhouse gas emissions blanketing the earth and, whilst the gravity of the situation is mostly outwith the control of ordinary people, there are ways in which we can play our part, such as recycling plastics, paper etc.
The majority of problems are caused by countries and large conglomerates and, until an agreement can be reached between them, sadly, the rest of the world will suffer. Following the much-lauded COP26 which was held in Glasgow last year, COP27 recently concluded in Egypt and we can only look forward in faith and pray that an agreement can be reached to help and heal our world.
Whilst we all live with and worry about climate change, the Guild is also supporting a worthy project closer to home that touches all of our hearts. 25 November saw the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The campaign is being backed by the Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network. It focuses on the remembrance of those throughout the world living in violent situations, with an emphasis on domestic abuse. For the past 22 years, domestic abuse has been highlighted by the Guild and whilst the problems have not diminished, especially over the Covid pandemic, we have been encouraged to learn that more people are willing to talk and seek help for themselves and their families. We pray for the women and men who seek the courage to stand firm to overcome violence.
Can I ask that you continue to keep these issues in your prayers as we journey through Advent to Christmas Day and into the New Year?
With best wishes for a very Happy Christmas and I hope that 2023 will bring good health and happiness to all.
National Vice Convenor (East Area)
Young Adults Guild
We are so excited to be launching a new project next year with young folk from across the Church — The Church of Scotland Young Adults Guild. This will be a new platform for faith development, representation, journeying and questioning. Members will also learn lots more about the Guild so what's not to love? Follow them on Instagram for updates, sign up for the mailing list or email YAG@churchofscotland.org.uk for more information. Be part of this exciting new adventure.
Beautiful bulbs in Beith
It was great to see Guild members in Beith getting into our theme of 'Wee Seeds, Big Trees'! Each Guild member planted two daffodil bulbs; one to keep and one to give away to someone who they thought would enjoy it as a way of spreading the love and joy of being a Guild member. Maybe it is something your Guild could do? We are looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labours!
Birch for Breich
The Lord Lieutenant of West Lothian, Ms Moira Niven, joined members and friends of the Breich Valley Church Guild in planting a copper birch tree as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee green canopy initiative. As it grows and flourishes over the years it will remind us of how the wee seeds planted by the Guild over the years grow into big trees.
Forfar joint Guild meeting
The Guilds in Forfar came together recently to hear from Helen Eckford, National Convener, and Karen Gillon, General Secretary. The theme was 'change' and this was enjoyed by the members who also shared information about one of our project partners, Home for Good. It was a good night enjoyed by all.
Long service recognised
The Guild in Tranent recently recognised and celebrated the long service of their members. These ladies have over 412 years between them. Thank you, ladies, for your service to the Guild over the years, it is very much appreciated.
As we get out the soup pans to heat us up on these cold winter days and enjoy soup lunches in many congregations, our Monday memory takes us back to our virtual soup lunch in April 2020 when we raised much-needed funds for CrossReach. It is amazing just what the Guild can do when it sets its mind to it!
Marian still going strong
It was a privilege for Helen and Karen to catch up with our oldest member Mrs Marian Dolan recently. Although Marian will soon be 110, she is as sharp as ever and as well as sharing many fascinating stories she was keen to know everything that was going on at the Guild. She gets updated through the newsletter and the magazine thanks to the support of her local Guild friends at Killearn and Houston who visit her, and her fellow Guild members Marjory and Nancy every week. It is what we are all about — looking after each other and supporting the work of the Guild at home and abroad.
Come thou long expected Jesus
There are so many great Advent hymns to choose from but this year we have chosen 'Come thou long expected Jesus', a traditional hymn but with everlasting truths. We hope listening to it helps you prepare for the coming of the baby born to be King and Saviour.
Christmas Life and Work Magazine offer
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To take advantage of these savings, which are valid until 31 December, please visit www.lifeandwork.org/subscribe.Subscribe to Life and Work Magazine
Pray this month
Week beginning 5 December: thinking of the loyalty shown by Joseph, help us to be loyal to friends and family as well as to our Guild and our God. Give thanks to all who are loyal to us.
Week beginning 12 December: thinking of the commitment of the Kings as they journeyed to see the baby, pray that God will show us new ways in which we can use the skills and gifts we have to serve Him.
Week beginning 19 December: remembering the excitement of Mary, pray that we will continually be excited by God and encouraged to always look forward in faith.
Week beginning 26 December: as we think of the initial fear experienced on the hillside by the shepherds, we pray for all who live in fear, be that within their own homes, in their community or in the country they live. Help their fears to be stilled and a safe place found where they can experience the joy the shepherds felt as they rushed to Bethlehem.
Week beginning 2 January: as we remember that the Holy family had to quickly flee persecution and were themselves refugees, pray for all those who this week are fleeing themselves or who are seeking refuge in a strange land. Pray for empathy to be shown and justice to prevail.
Annual Gathering 2022
It's hard to believe that the Annual Gathering has come and gone and we are now beginning planning for 2023!
It was so encouraging to have so many people come together in person and to have as many people join us online as well. The day was filled with love, laughter and encouragement. The Moderator, the Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, reminded us of the importance of the Guild and encouraged us to remember that God used Abraham, Moses and Elizabeth in their later years and that age should be no barrier to us being used by God through the Guild.
We enjoyed linking up with the Guild in Ardoch and sharing in fellowship with them. Our guest speaker, Rev David Clark, took us on a journey through Scotland through his own journey of faith but also encouraged us to think anew about the Psalms and how we could reimagine them through the landscape of Scotland.
We were also entertained and challenged by the Clydeside Singers, particularly with their song 'It's Still Me Inside', which reflected someone's personal journey with dementia. The day concluded with the installation of Helen Eckford as our new National Convener for 22-23 and we wish Helen the richest of blessings as she carries out this important task on behalf of the Guild.
We know that a good number of folk couldn't join us either because of the change of date, the train strike or simple geography, so we are producing a recording of the day that can be purchased as a DVD or on a USB stick. It is a great Guild meeting basis to use in itself and you can order using the link below.
One of the real bonuses of modern technology is the opportunity for those unable to come in person to join us at the Annual Gathering. We loved being able to link up with the Ardoch Guild who meet in Braco. They hosted with their own Guild and with folks from Guilds nearby. By all accounts, they had a great day of fun, fellowship and food.
Broughty Ferry Guild
The historic first meeting of the new Broughty Ferry Guild, incorporating Broughty Ferry New Kirk, St Luke’s and Queen Street and St James Guild, was held in the hall of St Luke’s and Queen Street Church on Tuesday 27 September. It was great to see folk queueing to get into the Guild. In total, 36 members and friends were in attendance, and everyone is looking forward to a great first year together as a united Guild.
Sunflowers blooming in Balerno
The seeds given out to Guild members at the Big Sing to show support and solidarity with Ukraine have been blooming across Scotland. It was lovely to see these healthy, cheery flowers that were on display in Balerno.
Christmas Big Sing
We are so excited to be able to have an in-person Christmas Big Sing this year and hope that we have a full house to join in our celebrations: Friday 2 December at 3pm (doors open at 2:30pm) Dalziel St Andrew's Church, Motherwell Please do encourage your members to come along to what promises to be a great afternoon. You can reserve your tickets using the link below.
Guild scarf goes global
These are the gifts that the World Day of Prayer Scotland committee sent to 200 delegates from the virtual international conference which was hosted by the Scottish committee. We were delighted that the pack included a Guild scarf, which we hear has been very well received by delegates all over the world. The Guild is an integral part of the World Day of Prayer here in Scotland and it is great to see the delegates being encouraged to show off that connection.
The members at St. Ninian's Craigmailen in Linlithgow have been making their own little pots at the start of the session. These little pots will help members remember that the money that they collect over the year will help to plant seeds that, when nurtured, will multiply and grow over the months and years ahead. Maybe it is something that you could use in your own Guild this session?
Dull and Weem Guild is 50
Congratulations to our friends at Dull and Weem Guild who have celebrated their 50th anniversary. The Guild held a special event to celebrate including planting a tree and having a special Guild cake made. The cake was cut by one of their founder members, Mrs Pam McDiarmid. Pam is now their treasurer. Huge congratulations to you all.
Our memory takes us back to the 2008 Annual Gathering and the Guild shop. It is great to see some familiar faces!
Prayers for November
9 Nov: for our Guilds Together Resource Coordinators as they meet to share and prepare for local Resource Days in 2023.
10 Nov: for members of the Guild National Council who are meeting together in person for the first time. Asking God to richly bless them in their deliberations.
11 Nov: for Morag Duncan as she takes on her role as National Vice Convener and supporting Guilds in the North of Scotland.
12 Nov: giving thanks for the wee seeds planted by the Guild over the past 135 years and giving thanks for the work of our project partners.
13 Nov: remembering particularly the Guilds in Guilds Together groups in Glasgow.
14 Nov: thinking especially of the seeds being planted by our current project partners who are making a difference in the lives of people here in Scotland and across the globe.
15 Nov: giving thanks for our brothers and sisters in Malawi and asking that God will protect them as they try to contain a recent cholera outbreak.
16 Nov: remembering those who have been planting seeds, bulbs and trees to celebrate our theme 'wee seeds, big trees'.
17 Nov: giving thanks for the Guild in Westburn Guild in Greenock which is celebrating its 130th anniversary.
18 Nov: particularly for Flora Buthlay who, as a National Vice Convener, supports Guilds in the East of Scotland.
19 Nov: remembering all who have served the Guild faithfully as a past National Leader or General Secretary.
20 Nov: for Rae Lind, as she takes on her role as National Vice Convener and supporting Guilds in the South of Scotland.
21 Nov: for General Secretary Karen Gillon as she speaks at the Guilds in Penicuik, Cockpen and Carrington and Burntisland.
22 Nov: giving thanks for Guilds in the new Moray Firth Guilds Together area.
23 Nov: thinking particularly of all who serve in elected office at the local council, Scottish Parliament or United Kingdom Parliament, asking that they will serve with justice, wisdom, compassion and integrity.
24 Nov: for Christina Paterson as she takes on her role as National Vice Convener and supporting Guilds in the West of Scotland.
25 Nov: on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women we remember all women who are victims of violence and all who work to support them and bring an end to violence against women in all forms.
26 Nov: for Guilds Together groups in the Forth Valley and Clydesdale area who are working together in a new way.
27 Nov: giving thanks for new members who have joined the Guild this year, asking that God will richly bless them as part of the Guild family.
28 Nov: particularly for Guilds in the Edinburgh and West Lothian areas as they look to see how they can work more closely together.
29 Nov: giving thanks for the Guild staff, Mandy, Chris, Joanne and Dorothy, who along with Karen work to support the Guild in so many different ways.
30 Nov: especially for Guild members who are now housebound or in nursing homes. Asking that God will richly bless them.
1 Dec: on World Aids Day, we pray particularly for all who are affected by HIV/Aids. Praying that God will help to bring an end to the epidemic and end the stigma people living with HIV face.
2 Dec: thinking particularly of all who are joining together for the Big Sing at Christmas today.
3 Dec: giving thanks for Guilds in the new Moray Guilds Together area bringing together Guilds in Moray East and Moray West.
4 Dec: remembering ministers who are retiring and for whom this will be their last year in full-time ministry.
The King and the Queen
On 6 February 1952, a very young Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya with her husband Prince Philip, when she was told of the death of her father, King George VI. Elizabeth returned home to a nation in mourning.
The young princess, aged 25 and a mother of two young children was thrust into a public role as Queen Elizabeth whose duty was to serve the people of Britain and the Commonwealth.
As we celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, I thought about how her life as Queen compared to the life of Jesus, our King. At her coronation, the Queen went to Westminster Abbey in a beautiful coach. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey.
The Queen was dressed in beautiful robes. Jesus was dressed in purple robes, not because he was King of Kings but because the Roman soldiers were mocking him.
The Queen travelled to Westminster Abbey through streets full of cheering people waving flags. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the crowds lining the streets cheered and waved palm branches, a symbol of victory, and shouted: “Hosanna. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Both were crowned: the Queen with the St Edward’s crown of solid gold and Jesus with a crown of thorns, pushed onto his head to mock him. She returned with her husband to Buckingham Palace, He walked to His death.
On her 21st birthday in 1947, Princess Elizabeth made her first ever broadcast. She said, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be short or long, shall be devoted to your service. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share it.”
For me, the life of Christ, Prince of Peace, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life, a role model for reconciliation and forgiveness. He stretched out His hands in love, acceptance, and healing. Christ has taught me to respect and value all people, whatever their faith or lack of faith.
Sunday 5 June was a double celebration this year; the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and Pentecost. The Queen has served for a long time, but her reign will end. After the resurrection, Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” Jesus will be King forever and for that, we give God thanks and praise.
Andrea Houston, National Vice Convener
National Convener Elect 2022-23
At their meeting in June, the National Council unanimously elected Helen Eckford of Inverclyde Guilds Together as the National Convener Elect for 2022-23.
Helen is a member of New Parish Church in Port Glasgow where she is a worship leader. Since retiring as a teacher of French and German she has enjoyed having more time for church activities, especially the Guild, and learning more about what happens locally, regionally, and nationally. She has also had the opportunity to represent the Guild as a corresponding member of Presbytery.
Speaking after her election, Helen said: "To be elected to serve as National Convener of the Guild is a huge privilege and I welcome the opportunity to repay what the Guild has given me. I am looking forward to meeting Guild members over the course of my year of office."
Helen is very keen to visit as many Guilds and Guilds Together Groups as possible. If you would like Helen to visit your group over the coming year please get in touch with some
Book a visit from the National Convener
Joanne Brown, East of Scotland Regional Support worker
We are delighted that Joanne has joined us to support Guilds in the East of Scotland. Joanne will be contacting Guilds Together Groups in the weeks ahead to look at how best she can support their work.
Joanne will also look after our communications such as the newsletter, Facebook and website. She will also help us find great new merchandise.
We hope that you will give Joanne a warm welcome to our team.
Christine Fulcher, West of Scotland Regional Support worker
We are delighted that Christine has joined us to support Guilds in the West of Scotland. Christine will be contacting Guilds Together Groups in the weeks ahead to look at how best she can support their work.
Christine will also look after our resources such as the theme guide, a new support guide for those leading worship, and our revamped dedication service.
We hope that you will give Christine a warm welcome to our team.