It has been quite some feat by the Spill the Beans Team to pull this off over the festive season, but after a crazy deadline of 31 December for all the writing, the next issue of Spill the Beans
is now beautifully formed and available for download. This is the Lent to Pentecost edition that sees us from 17 February all the way to 19 May 2013! And this edition is not limited just to Sundays, you also get ideas for each day of Holy Week too. It is a large issue.
will find worship ideas and resources, including Bible notes, stories,
prayers, reflections, music suggestions, and more, and for age groups
you will find suggestions for activities, crafts, games and teen
If you have already used Spill the
Beans, you will know what a great resource this is, created by folks
here in Scotland. If you haven't, but are intrigued, have a look at this sample.
If you'd like to download a full copy of Issue 7 for use in your church or
personally, then click the button below. It is a positive steal at
You can make a secure payment via PayPal and then an email with secure link to the download should wing
its way to you.
Please follow the instructions carefully. The Adobe
pdf file is approximately 4 MB.
You can also get involved in feedback and discussion on the Spill the Beans blog, where we try to put up weekly PowerPoint backgrounds too.
you would like a print copy of Spill the Beans, Issue 6, then this can
be arranged. The cost is £20+P&P and these can be arranged directly
with the office at Lanark Greyfriars Church. Each issue is in full
colour and comb bound for ease of use. We have had to raise the costs of
the print copy from our initial issues as we have found the original
costs were not covering the costs of producing the copies.
I saw this morning a circular post on facebook that is the kind of thing that I would normally ignore, but this one I found fascinating. It is made that wee bit more interesting by being true too. It centres around world famous violinist Joshua Bell, who I once saw playing in London many years ago at a concert in the Royal Festival Hall - he is a wonderful performer. The post being circulated is about an experiment carried out by a journalist, Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post, in 2007.
Have a read below the jump to see what they did. [There's more...]
Uz!, the youth group at St Andrew's with some guest appearances, excelled themselves with their imaginative efforts, creativity and hard work in putting together the Watchnight Service as is the tradition each year. The theme this year was "Strictly Come Jesus", and we had a very motley crue attempting to be present at the birth...
This was one of our more ambitious Watchnight services (about as intense as The Lord of the Kings ten years ago!) and kudos to everyone for their hard work and patience during the long hours of filming.
Thanks to Lindsey Cooper on a flying visit back to Scotland for her creative input at the planning meeting - I think Lindsey can be blamed for the title, if I remember correctly!
After the break I will add the final live performance from the service itself once it is edited.
Note, you may need Quicktime installed (free here) to see the video if it will not play, and it may need to download first which might take a minute or two depending on the speed of your connection - please be patient! Note this is a large file - be careful if downloading over a mobile network! You can download a high definition version here (500MB, so be warned).
Calderside Academy held their Christmas Concert this evening with a diverse but Christmas-themed programme. From dance to singing and instrumental solos, bands, and choirs, it was an excellent night and great to see so many young people confidently performing in front of the audience.
It was particularly good to see so many folks one knows well performing on the stage, and even a staff choir who did a fabulous job. I used my 'official' invitation which got me a great seat right down at the front, leaving the rest of the family ten rows behind - shocking! [There's more...]
A call this morning from Auchinraith Primary with an urgent need for my presence all became clear at break time when the staff indulged in a little festive fun in the staff room.
Then I realised the setup I had walked into... as a team competition we were tasked with creating fairy's to adorn the tree with whatever was at hand (which unfortunately for me included some cans of squooshy cream!). With fellow adorned teachers Nicola and Scott, we looked quite the part, as I am sure the picture proves... ahem.
At one point when we had a treasure hunt in the corridor outside, some of the children commented bemusedly, "I've never seen everyone so hyper..."
It is definitely that end of term feeling... hang in their folks, only a few more days until the holidays!
We have the Christmas Assembly for Auchinraith Primary at St Andrew's Church on Friday 21 December at 10 a.m.
In what has become a St Andrew's tradition, many of the young folks started their preparations for this year's Watchnight service on Christmas Eve. In fact, the preparations began on Saturday night when we all met to plan what we were going to do. This evening we all got together to enjoy a fish supper before rolling up the sleeves and getting busy in producing the props we need for this year's service... huge sheets of cardboard, paint and roller, thousands of fairy lights, and much cutting out later, we have the bulk of the set we are going to be using prepared.
We meet again on Thursday night and then all Sunday afternoon for rehearsals and filming... it is ambitious, a little daunting, but I am sure it will be a memorable celebration for the birth of Jesus. To find out more, you will need to come along on Monday night to see for yourselves.
I can't quite believe it, but our wee puppy Keely is no longer a wee puppy. She turned a year old today and with an hour to spare this afternoon I treated her to a lovely walk around Redlees Quarry. She was bathed and brushed and blow-dryed (I kid you not, all that fur can be high-maintenance!) just last night so I was hoping she would keep herself from her usual habit of finding the muddiest puddle to stomp straight through... Just as the sun began to set I managed to get a snap of her.
I must say, as the months since she arrived in the family have passed, I have been so pleased with this wee doggy. We really have got ourselves a lovely dog with a wonderful temperament. Much as though I loved our previous dog, she was a lot harder work...
On Sunday night it was our final Cosy Café Sundays for 2012 and we went completely crackers with a special Christmas night. After an afternoon of preparations, including picking up two of the minibuses from the Blantyre Volunteer Group, we all met at Hillhouse for the start of a pilgrimage as we moved around Hamilton and Blantyre stopping off at each location for a course of our evening meal and to add another group to our journey.
We had one of our largest groups this week, filling both buses and a car, as we followed Lindsey Cooper's hand made star from place to place - oh the creativity that comes with an old broom, tinsel, sparkly card and some fairy lights! This was a very special moment for Lindsey as she finally was able to satisfy her life-long ambition to be "the star" of the nativity. [There's more...]
Yesterday we finished the fifth year of running "Bubblegum 'n' Fluff", the chaplaincy event we run each Christmas for Primary 6 pupils in all the associated primary schools to Calderside Academy. By my rough and ready calculations, that is 35 days and around 1,500 pupils talking about the Christmas story and why our celebration of the birth of Jesus is still important. It was more noticeable to me this year than in previous years (and this will only become ever more the case) that there were more children who said they had never heard the story of the nativity. They knew more about it after our time together.
One of the things we build into the morning with the children is some understanding of the context, both within Judea at the time to give some understanding of the expectations of the people at that time, but also an idea of who baby Jesus grew into to connect the importance of this birthday celebration to the man who made such a difference to people's lives. To do that we tell a few stories: the changes to Simon Peter, the story of Jairus' daughter and the story of wee Zacchaeus. A conversation after one of the days has had me thinking a lot about that last story over the last few days... [There's more...]
As many of you will know, music is a great passion of mine. There are a number of bands that have in recent years exploded onto the scene from rock/folk roots in London. I've loved listening to Laura Marling and Noah & The Whale, and with them also the band Mumford & Sons. With the recent release of their second album, Mumford & Sons have affirmed their rather unique position as purveyors of theologically literate folk rock that can fill arenas.
Hall 4 of the SECC was jumping and singing along to the band as they brought their "Tour of Two Halves" to Glasgow on Wednesday night. I know of many folks who were there tonight, scattered across the hall, and no wonder as the tickets sold like hot cakes. With David Burt and Jonathan Fleming, I took up our seats for the concert. We had a fab time, and you can get a rather scary taste of that from the video above of the closing two songs from the concert, with Mumford's own song "The Cave" and a cover of the Beatles "A Little Help From My Friends". I suspect that both Jonathan's and my own voice will be a little the worse for wear at tomorrow morning's "Bubblegum 'n' Fluff" event... Personally, I wish I had been in the middle of the heaving mob on the floor, but in deference to one of my more aged companions we had the benefit of seats. [There's more...]
I had to make a bit of a mad dash after our first morning of this year's Bubblegum 'n' Fluff mornings with all the Primary 6 children (on Monday from High Blantyre Primary) exploring the real heart of the Christmas story to get to the Parkville for the Christmas Lunch for all our pensioners. As we packed up all the paraphernalia that follows every event the chaplaincy team are involved with and starting loading it into the car the sleet started to descend rapidly turning to icy cold rain. I was dressed in suit ready for the lunch and within ten minutes was soaked through! Definitely not the right clothing!
We unpacked and setup at Livingstone Memorial Church and then I zipped along to the Parkville, a little late but not too late to miss the soup! It was a lovely afternoon, and we certainly had a lot of laughter around the table... Thanks to Elsie Balneaves for picking up the reins to organise this year's lunch and entertainment. It is always so much appreciated.
At Cosy Café Sundays on 2 Dec we had one of those really simple ideas that just worked brilliantly. When we were planning what to do we talked about advent calendars, which then transmogrified through creating individual advent calendars through a single mega advent calendar to the idea of creating 4 doors to represent the four Sundays in Advent. Each door was themed (Hope, Joy, Peace and Love) and decorated by everyone together before we then travelled through each doorway to hear about an aspect of each theme as it relates in this Christmas time.
Travelling through the Hope doorway, Drew Gebbie told us about the organisations that try to bring some sense of hope into the lives of those who are particularly vulnerable during the winter. Charities like Shelter, or organisations like Hamilton Churches Drop-In Centre were mentioned. Each group expressed a practical way of bringing hope. [There's more...]
A big well done to the Blantyre Community Committee for all their hard work and preparation for the first Blantyre Christmas Event and Festive Market. I heard that around 800 people attended, and certainly when we were down there was a great crowd for the singing and to see the lights officially turned on for the tree and on Glasgow Road. And you never quite know who else you might meet...
As you will know, there is an ongoing debate within the country both here north of the border and in England and Wales about extending equality within the legal definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to move beyond the current civil partnerships and be married. Whereas it is illegal to have a civil partnership within a religious context at the moment, this would allow the possibility for such ceremonies to take place in a religious setting, if a particular denomination allowed for this. Some denominations have expressed an interest in doing so and others have not at this time.
There are a number of petitions doing the rounds at the moment, both pro and against these changes. You might be interested to find out more and add your voice to the debate.
Arguing against these changes is a group called Scotland for Marriage. More details here including an online petition.
Promoting these changes is a group called Equal Marriage. More details here including an online petition.