Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh
Sunday Services at 10 am and 11.30 am
Letter from the Manse
Looking back on Christmas past I want to thank everyone who made the Christmas season such a positive one in 2017. We are now using the Duddingston Golf Club for so many events that I almost took up residence there during December! Among many, I was invited to the Art Group and Garden Club Christmas lunches that were taking place simultaneously in adjacent rooms. I was feeling a wee bit the Vicar of Dibley, forcing myself to eat more Brussels sprouts!
Back at the church we had some wonderful services. The Parent & Toddler service might be one of the shortest of the year, but it is one of my favourites. We had close on one hundred pre-school children from our own Parents & Toddlers and from several neighbouring nurseries. Next were two services when the whole of Duddingston Primary comes to celebrate Christmas. Two services are needed due to the number of pupils in the school. I am still chuckling to myself when, in the middle of the nativity story, Primary 3 sang ‘All I want for Christmas is a hippopotamus!’
Our choir sang beautifully at our Carol Service, ably led by Ken Taylor conducting and John Anderson on the organ. Once again we managed to fill the Kirk for the Watchnight Service. I always see this as a wonderful opportunity to reach out to those who perhaps have not been at church for a while. We examined the themes of ‘Fake News’ and ‘Good News’. This service raised £1,005 to be split between Christian Aid’s Southern Sudan appeal and the Torch Fellowship in Edinburgh. Attending that service was a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Very Rev. Prof. Iain Torrance and his wife Morag. We send our congratulations to Prof. Torrance who became Sir Iain in the New Year’s Honours List.
For me, my Christmas was complete on Christmas Day when I got my annual chance at trying out our children’s toys! The children at the service were all wonderful and coped with, if not tolerated, my enthusiasm! The star of the day was little Freya who appeared with her toy dog that barked when you stroked it. For me (and the congregation) the joy was seeing Freya laugh every time that happened.
Christmas may be past and the baubles and tinsel put in a box until next year but let me share with you these words from a verse by Howard Thurman …
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
Then the work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal those broken in spirit,
To feed the hungry,
To release the oppressed,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among all peoples,
To make a little music with the heart,
And to radiate the Light of Christ
Every day, in every way, in all we do and in all we say.
Then the real work of Christmas begins.
Rev. Dr Jim Jack