September Manse Message

September.  Already?  The beginning of the Church year. Yes, I know that’s really Advent – but that’s the ‘theological’ year; I’m talking about the ‘practical’ one, when organisations begin again, the winter routine falls into place and Christmas looms large on the horizon. It’s only three months away (shops are already full of its stock!), but before we reach that point there’s much work to be done.

I do hope you enjoyed the summer and have not allowed yourself to become too depressed with all the rainfall. Let’s hope it’s not over yet for a little bit of June’s sunshine would not go amiss just now. If you were fortunate in travelling, then I trust you enjoyed the journey, whether explored again or for the first time. Hopefully, you have returned home refreshed and enthused, ready to take up old activities or new interests.

125th Anniversary of SSAFA Forces Help

Several events of special interest are planned to take place during the autumn. The first is the above Service to be held at 2.30pm on Sunday 31st October 2010.  SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Families Association) has a long and honourable history of providing much needed financial and material help and support to former members of our Armed Forces and, especially, to those whose career has been cut short by injury or disability caused in conflict.  Lanarkshire boasts a very active and successful SSAFA branch and they have requested the celebration of their anniversary within our church. This will be essentially a Civic and Military Interdenominational Service, with British Legion Standards and Brass Band, to which the congregation and friends are most welcome.

450th Anniversary of the Reformation in Scotland


Another Service of special interest is that being held at Bothwell at the request of the Presbytery of Hamilton commemorating the Scottish Reformation in 1560.  Arguably, no other event has had more, or lasting, effect on the evolution of Scottish history, culture, politics  and religion. This, too, will be an Interdenominational Service, open to the public. It will be held at 2.30pm on Sunday, 21st November 2010.

Living the Questions


For some time now I have been concerned about the strengthening of what I regard as a fundamentalist understanding of Christian theology with the Church. I do not recognise in its interpretation the teaching of grace and graciousness which characterised so much of Christ’s dealing with ordinary folk. Instead I believe it to be a dangerous 20th century invention responding to rapid social changes brought about by modernity and globilisation. Dogmatism, which is divisive and deaf to the opinion of others, is of little use to any society and has no place within the Church nationally or locally.

On Thursday evenings throughout September and October we are therefore launching a new programme of discussion opportuntiies called Living the Questions. It is a DVD-based programme exploring contemporary themes of Christian faith. Designed for the countless people who suffer in silence as the voices of fear and certitude claim Christianity for themselves, it’s purpose is to allow people to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice.  The programme is an open-minded alternative to those courses which claim to have ‘all the answers’. Instead of providing easy answers, it is a resource for people who are prepared to search, discuss and learn from one-another about the mysteries of faith and life as so share together our adventure in what the great Christian thinker Soren Kierkegaard calls  “objective uncertainty”.  Why not join us ?   Give the Church Secretary a ring to confirm attendance. See our other page about this.

Children’s Sunday Clubs

Over the summer months, a great deal of thought, discussion and imagination has been expended on the future nature of our work with children attending Sunday School Clubs in order to make it even more relevant and appealing.  Alastair and Hazel Scott organised a super Summer Club where youngsters really enjoyed having their brains activated solving puzzles on our laptop computers, playing games and generally having such a great time that they didn’t want to go home when parents called to collect them after church!  We are now going to develop some of those activities into the programme used weekly in our Sunday School Clubs. To help in this, both the Kentigern and St Ninian rooms in the church Centre will be redecorated and refurbished making them children friendly, while maintaining a multifunctional use.  Colourful information fliers have been sent out to parents and so we’re hopeful in seeing our discussions resulting in lots more of happy, challenged and excited youngsters!

Jim Gibson

Minister of Bothwell

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