mid April – June, 2018, v.1

Diary 1 Diary 2



Christian Aid: Thank you to everyone who helped and supported the Lent Lunches. We anticipate the total amount raised after expenses will be about £4750 which will be donated to Christian Aid’s general funds but, as an example, would buy 65 energy saving stoves which help families in Zimbabwe to use less wood to cook meals thus freeing up time for the children, whose task it is to find the wood, to attend school and ensuring the supply of wood will last longer.

The next event is Christian Aid Week from the 13th-19th May. The theme this year is “Together we’re stronger than the storms” with the focus on people in Haiti who are displaced from their homes because of earthquake and hurricane.

People like Marcelin who lost his home and livelihood when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in September 2016. ‘I lost pigs, goats, everything in the house. I have nothing left,’ he says. He now lives in an old concrete shower block measuring 2mx2m which he shares with his 3 teenage daughters. There are no windows or doors, and the only furniture is one single bed for the girls. Marcelin has shown incredible resilience in the face of such hardships and is working hard to raise his children alone. Every day he gets up at dawn to work the land but he’s struggling to support his family. The changing weather frequently destroys the food he grows and his family often go hungry. He can no longer afford to send all his children to school and is unable to save any money for a new home. ‘You feel as though you’re not really living when you don’t have a home’

Or like Jocelyne who when Hurricane Matthew struck, lost her home, animals and safety. She was forced to live ‘in mud’, with only a tarpaulin between her and the elements. When the tarpaulin shook in the wind, it sounded like another hurricane. Even now, her new home – made of sheet metal, wood and tarpaulin – is not secure. Once, she says, a man told her that if he wanted to hurt her, he could just rip through the tarpaulin wall. It’s hard not to feel threatened and her makeshift home would offer no protection in the event of another hurricane.

In contrast Vilia whose home was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake had a safe, stable home built for her by Christian Aid’s partner KORAL. This gave her a new start and provided a safe haven for others. During Hurricane Matthew Vilia’s house was the only one in her area sturdy enough to withstand the storms and provided shelter for 54 people. Her house lost just 1 roof panel when many others in the area were totally destroyed.

38000 people are still displaced after the 2010 earthquake but £210 raised during Christian Aid Week will train a local builder in Haiti to enable more safe and secure houses to be built to weather the next disaster and to allow people to build a better life.

Can you help? More collectors for the areas we cover are needed and may enable people to collect in 2s and visit smaller areas. It’s not as nerve wracking as you might expect. Christian Aid Week is the main house to house collection, we cover the same areas each year and with the advertising that takes place most people are expecting someone to call. 1 visit to put out the envelopes and another to collect with a further call back to the folk who were out when you called will not take up too much of the week–and will have an impact far greater then the effort we put in.

If you can help or would like to know more please contact Margaret Morton, 01387 262734 or memorton AT mypostoffice.co DOT uk.

150 years

1868 – 2018

Mission Action Plan (MAP) is, you will recall, the way churches in this Diocese are encouraged to plan ahead; effectively like a Business Plan. Technically, we are now in the 5th year of doing this and the idea is that a charge agrees on its MAP, sets about implementing it, and then reviews it, at the end of the year, with the Bishop. What with the Vacancy and various things, we have got a bit out of synch with our MAPs. We should have had the Bishop back to review MAP2 shortly before Robin announced his retirement. There was a draft of MAP3 in existence, but, what with one thing and another, we never got the chance to discuss, and adopt, it as a Congregation. The Bishop’s illness, also, meant that there were more urgent things for the Diocesan Office to attend to, likewise. Much of our Action Plan for Years 3&4 was dealing with the Vacancy and the calling of a new Rector. We also undertook a number of fabric repairs and the like. The Vestry, subject to the Bishop’s approval, accordingly proposes, shortly, to publish a combined MAP3&4 booklet, which is largely a retrospective, and describes both our intentions, and what we actually achieved, over the last couple of years. At the same time or shortly afterwards, we will then publish a draft MAP5 (already in course of preparation) for discussion and, ultimately, adoption, by the Congregation. The main points of this are likely to be the Tower & lighting repairs, the 150th Anniversary celebrations and the increase in work with children. The latter is one of Janice’s known strengths; she has already built up contact with a number of local nurseries, several of which have by now visited St John’s, and more are on the way. There will also be a Holiday Club for primary aged children this summer, organised so as not to clash with similar enterprises run by other local churches. Various members of the Congregation have already signed up to help with the Holiday Club. A small sub-committee, led by Janice, had already come up with a number of ideas for events over the course of the 150th year; and the Vestry has refined and prioritised what we might actually do. There was an impressive array of possible activities, but the Vestry felt that it was important not to exhaust the organisers and participants (all of us), so, in the end, some choices had to be made. Activities for the 150th will be the subject of a separate presentation, once things are a little clearer.

A final note about MAP. We are advised that, in terms of MAP practice, the Diocese is of the view that we have hitherto engaged much more fully and successfully than many; accordingly, the interruptions to the process we have undergone over the past couple of years are not viewed with any concern.

Vestry Update: It was a semi-regular occurrence, both during the Vacancy and beforehand, for us to make verbal presentations on the activities of the Vestry; its discussions and decisions, at the various services which St J’s members attend over the course of a week. The presentation at the 11 o’clock service was usually delivered by me as Vestry Secretary, but the script was provided to other Vestry members, who delivered it at other services. A digest of it was also reprinted in the Diary Insert. It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the rest of the Congregation can start to feel out of the loop if this does not happen regularly and it is acknowledged that it is quite some time since the last Vestry update; particularly at a time of change, as this has been. The next Vestry update is accordingly planned for Sunday, 29 April and the following week; and printed and online versions will also be made available. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact any Vestry member with any queries. A list of members, with photos, can be seen on the Hall noticeboard. David Kerr

Ann Shukman writes…Sunday Afternoon Lent Talks at Elshieshields: A very big thank you to those who came and who contributed so generously to the various charities:

We were able to send £270 to the Halo Trust after John Burton’s talk.

In his letter of thanks James Cowan CEO of the Halo Trust describes how the Trust are now working at Qaser al-Yahud on the Jordan, the spot where Jesus was baptised.

He writes, ‘Removing explosive hazards at the site is a commitment to inter-faith reconciliation. It supports the Christian churches through a practical, visible action which will also resonate with the hugely popular global campaign to rid the world of landmines.’

At the other three talks over £500 raised and has been shared between Christian Aid,

the Dumfries Prison Goodwill Fund, and the Galgael Trust (https://www.galgael.org/). Sincere thanks to those who gave so generously!

A date for the calendar:  Next Silent Prayer at Elshieshields will be on 12 May (not 5 May)

The next Diary Insert will be being prepared from early to mid-June. If you have any material you would like to submit for it, please send to David Kerr, or to pastadmin AT stjohnsdumfries DOT org.

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