April 2018

I think that the first three months of this year have flown past - though I am told by the family that this is simply a sign that I am getting older. However, this year with Easter being relatively early there is perhaps an excuse for thinking that 2018 is moving at a faster pace than 2017.

Added to that, there has been so much preparation taking place for the impending union at the end of May, my mind is become more and more focussed on that momentous milestone and the plans that need to be in place to take us from June into this new stage in the life of our congregations. In other words, my mind is on summer rather than spring (but not summer holidays as yet). As a consequence my preparation for Easter has not been given the focus that it should have had.

How true is that for so many. Easter becomes simply another time of the year. As long as chocolate eggs have been purchased for the younger members of our families and perhaps a seasonal treat such as a hot cross bun, we think that's Easter covered and the meaning and significance behind this season gets pushed further and further into the annals of history. Easter lies at the foundation of the Christian faith. It is the most significant Sunday in the church year. After travelling through the events of Holy Week to focus on the crucifixion, Easter Sunday with the resurrection of Jesus is an occasion for celebration. Jesus had defeated the power of death. He rose from the grave. He is alive and he has opened the gates of heaven. This wonderful good news is something that deserves proper recognition. It is much more than just another season or marketing opportunity for the retail industry. We all need to ensure we are properly prepared and 'I' in particular need to find the time to focus on the sharing of the Easter message. After all, something spectacular occurred 2,000 years ago that changed the world in so many ways and so the resurrection needs to be given the precedence and prominence it deserves.

I wish you all a wonderful and meaningful Easter.

With every good wish,
Shaw J Paterson

PS
At the joint Stated Annual Meetings on the 12th March, I was caught by surprise at the end of the Agenda. Its seems there had been a bit of planning/scheming going on behind the scenes! I was presented with a beautiful crystal bowl to mark this significant stage in my ministry and in the life of both congregations, as we prepare to become Strathaven: Trinity. The bowl is engraved with the words:

Presented to
The Reverend Shaw J Paterson
with the admiration, respect and
affection of the congregations of
Rankin and Chapelton Parish Churches

It also included an engraving of both churches and the words: ‘Our Minister 1991 - 2018’.

This came as a complete surprise and I must say the thoughtfulness - of the gift and the wording - did bring a wee tear to my eye! I really appreciate the sentiment behind the gift, and be assured I am very conscious that I am only a part of a large team called Rankin and Chapelton Parish Churches. I have been very fortunate (paraphrasing the description on the bowl) to have been 'Your Minister 1991 - 2018'. I will continue to be your minister and with the support of a bigger team with a new name fulfil my calling to the best of my ability.

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