Having been approved by the trustees on Sunday past, the Blantyre St Andrew's Annual Report for 2011 is now available online, and print versions will be available for every household on Sunday. The Stated Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday 25 March as part of the morning service, any questions you have on the report can be raised at that time.
As always, the Annual Report provides a full account of what has been taking place in St Andrew's over the course of the past year and is a testament to everyone who gives of their time, ability and resources to serve Christ as part of St Andrew's. Particular thanks are due to May Shaw, our treasurer, for her time and dedication particularly over the past two months in preparing the accounts section of this report.
We've all been so saddened to hear of the death of Wilma Dunn at the weekend. Our prayers are with John and all the family as they grieve their loss. Wilma was a wonderfully supportive person who played such an important part in the lives of many of the youngest folks connected to the church. She will be deeply missed.
A service of thanksgiving for Wilma's life will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday 15 March in St Andrew's Church, thereafter to South Lanarkshire Crematorium.
Back in November 2010 we distributed cards to everyone with the timeless slogan devised during World War 2 "Keep Calm and Carry On" - and folks still talk about that wee card.
Since then the phrase has become even more common and variations, often flippant, of the phrase are all around us. Here, to remind us, is a video that tells the history of this poster. I had mistakenly said back in 2010 that it had been used extensively. It turns out that was not quite true. Millions of posters were printed, but they were held in reserve and never used during the war itself.
A very full day today with a 309 mile round trip to Kilchoan for Fiona Ogg's induction and ordination to the linked parishes of Acharacle and Ardnamurchan. We had a great time and it was a great privilege to be present on this very special occassion for Fiona as she takes up her charge and begins her ministry with the people of the Ardnamurchan peninsula.
Fiona always said she wanted to minister in a rural context... I can safely say, having driven 100 miles on single track and unbelievably windy roads today, that she most definitely got her wish. But, wow, it was spectacular. We saw plenty of wildlife on our way, including a majestic stag standing proud on a hillock next to the road, and we also had some extraordinary tour guide commentary including the priceless... "ooh, look at those wee allotments down there, they really are small... oh, wait, that's a cemetery!" [There's more...]
As if the drive to Kilchoan and back is not far enough this weekend... the Johnstons are all flying out to Baltimore on Monday morning for a week to spend with family. Some of us were joking that it will probably take about the same time to fly from London to Baltimore as it will to drive 150 miles to Kilchoan. He may not be far wrong!
I've been playing with the British Airways app on my phone having booked with them and, surprisingly, finding it was the cheapest option, which is fab. You get your itinerary, your electronic boarding pass and up to the minute flight information all there. So very clever.
The decision to go is one we have been thinking about for some time, but in the end we decided very quickly just to go. However... I am realising that it is not just so easy to drop everything and go, and realising that before a planned holiday one does a lot more preparation for the absence than I realised. Alas not everything will wait until I get back, so I'll need to take a few things with me, but not too much.
It will be lovely to see family and friends on the East Coast, many of whom we haven't seen for four years. A brief trip, but it will be good.
Tomorrow morning, early, I'll be setting off with a couple of the kids and with Janette, Linda and Margaret representing St Andrew's at the induction and ordination of Fiona Ogg to the linked parishes of Acharacle and Ardnamurchan in the church at Kilchoan. The service takes place at 1:30 p.m., but it will be a long, slow drive there and back. An early night required for me tonight!
A big thank you to everyone who contributed towards the gift for Fiona from us all, a generous £165! Having spoken to Fiona, I purchased two super books that I am sure she will find very useful in her ministry. The remainder of our gift being presented as a cheque with cards both from the congregation and the Kirk Session. We will, of course, pass on our best wishes to Fiona in the name of everyone at St Andrew's.
I will take my camera, so photos will follow at some point! I haven't checked the forecast yet, but if tomorrow is anything like today, it should be a very pleasant drive into the Highlands.
Last night Carolyn and I had a rare opportunity to sit down and watch something together. I had a disk of the 2011 documentary film Project Nim courtesy of LoveFilm that it had crossed my mind might be a fascinating film for Cosy Café Sundays. Whether or not we use it at the Cosy Café, it is a heart-rending story about a chimp named Nim Chimpsky (a dig at Noam Chomsky) who was raised as a human in a human family in the 1970s, and taught sign language. This was part of a scientific behavioural study on whether chimpanzees could learn language in the same way we do. Noam Chomsky had said that this was not likely, language was the preserve of humanity.
What the BBC film shows, however, is not so much the sad story of Nim's life, but rather the frailty and selfishness of humanity in dealing with Nim.
Having just written about time-lapse cinematography in my last post, here is another example of the modern use of this technique with stunning results. As with a previous example I posted, watch it in HD, full screen, sound up nice and loud!
The creator, Randy Halverson, says about his film Temporal Distortion:
What you see is real, but you can't see it this way with the naked eye.
It is the result of thousands of 20-30 second exposures, edited together
to produce the timelapse. This allows you to see the Milky Way, Aurora
and other Phenonmena, in a way you wouldn't normally see them.
In the opening "Dakotalapse" title shot, you see bands of red and green
moving across the sky. After asking several Astronomers, they are
possible noctilucent clouds, airglow or faint Aurora. I never got a
definite answer to what it is. You can also see the red and green bands
in other shots.
At :53 and 2:17
seconds into the video you see a Meteor with a Persistent Train. Which
is ionizing gases, which lasted over a half hour in the cameras frame.
The Aurora were shot in central South Dakota in September 2011 and near Madison, Wisconsin on October 25, 2011.
Watch for two Deer at 1:27.
Most of the video was shot near the White River in central South Dakota
during September and October 2011, there are other shots from Arches
National Park in Utah, and Canyon of the Ancients area of Colorado
during June 2011.
I love this word! Koyaanisqatsi. Having been listening to the minimalist composer Philip Glass's soundtrack to the film of the same name, I cannot get the repetitive theme out of my mind. It is a word from the Native American Hopi people that is defined at the end of Godfrey Reggio's film as "crazy life", "life in turmoil", "life disintegrating", and "a state of life that calls for another way of living".
I came to the film through the connection to Philip Glass, whose music I enjoy listening to. I must have added the film to our LoveFilm list many months ago, I had completely forgotten about it, but the disk arrived on Monday, just after our Thinking Day service in which we had been thinking about environmental sustainability and the Guides motto this year to "save the planet". This film could not be a better accompanying piece. [There's more...]
This morning was the fourth year Assembly at Calderside Academy and the first showing of this video to explain and encourage people to make the most of Fairtrade Fortnight which begins next week. The campaign is seeking to see 1,500,000 steps taken by people to do something to educate themselves or act to support fairtrade practices.
The great thing is that simply through our assemblies, we can add over a thousand steps to the total this week. But the real challenge is to change our buying habits and look out for that fairtrade symbol.
It has been an eclectic day. I'm still battling a wretched wee bug that is sapping energy faster than the coffee/diet coke/chocolate can replenish, but I dragged myself out of bed to finish preparations for this morning's Thinking Day Service with the Rainbows, Brownies and Girl Guides. It was a combined service trying to tie together the theme from WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) which was based around the seventh Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability which they focused into "save our planet", and also keeping on with our lectionary pattern and the Spill the Beans material which was covering the Transfiguration of Jesus.
It was possible to make the connection between the revealing light of Jesus illuminating new possibilities for the disciples (and, in turn, for us too) within our world, and the need to explore and grapple with new possibilities in how we think and act to protect our planet. The challenge of seeking to serve our neighbours near and far, encouraging people in the poorest parts of the world, by making changes to our own lifestyle needs the life-changing motivation of Jesus' light. [There's more...]
Over the last few years I have got more familiar with a quirky band called OK Go who make some of the most inventively crazy music videos you'll ever see (this one, this one and, for dog lovers, this one are particular favourites). For their latest to the song Needing/Getting from their album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, they have (with the help of Chevrolet) really surpassed themselves, and I would love to try it!
OK Go's blurb:
The new music video from OK Go, made in partnership with Chevrolet. OK
Go set up over 1000 instruments over two miles of desert outside Los
Angeles. A Chevy Sonic was outfitted with retractable pneumatic arms
designed to play the instruments, and the band recorded this version of
Needing/Getting, singing as they played the instrument array with the
car. The video took 4 months of preparation and 4 days of shooting and
recording. There are no ringers or stand-ins; Damian took stunt driving
lessons. Each piano had the lowest octaves tuned to the same note so
that they'd play the right note no matter where they were struck. For
more information and behind-the-scenes footage, see http://www.LetsDoThis.com and http://www.okgo.net.
Many thanks to Chevy for believing in and supporting such an insane and
ambitious project, and to Gretsch for providing the guitars and amps.
On Tuesday, 7 February, George Greenhorn celebrates 80 years, of which half of those years have been serving as the Church Officer. To celebrate those milestones, George was presented with a cake this morning, which was much enjoyed by all! Happy birthday, George, and thanks for all you do for the church!
This morning we watched a wee clip of Albert Collins, the Master of the Telecaster, a bluesman of the highest calibre, and I shared the experience of meeting him and his band (the Icebreakers) backstage. I mentioned I had a signed album from that night, which I had forgotten to bring along. Here it is! And in it were a couple of tickets still kept from two of the concerts I saw him at. I knew I had the album cover, but I had not at all remembered the tickets were still there.
The illustration related to the sense of getting close to someone special, the sense that the crowds around Capernaum were feeling as they heard the stories of Jesus going around, and they too wanted to come and touch the 'light'.