ST ANDREW’S Church, Arbroath, was packed on Sunday morning for the annual Harvest Thanksgiving celebration.
The service was an all-age occasion and by the time 11 a.m. came around those arriving at the last minute were left looking for seats. Music was provided by organist, Jane Miller, and her choir, who led some of the great, all-time favourite harvest hymns and by the church band who led up-tempo contemporary worship songs, including the powerfully, emotive ‘Friend of the Poor.’
A drama team challenged the congregation to think about the real meaning of harvest in 2011. Among the dramatists was the minister’s youngest son who gave a wonderful take-off of his clerical father, causing the congregation to fall into fits of laughter!
As part of the service, Rev. Fair reminded the congregation of their obligations towards those who know so little of the richness of harvest, in the developing world.
To that end prayers were said for those who continue to suffer in the Horn of Africa and for the children cared for by the projects that the congregation supports in Malawi. An offering of almost £1,000 was taken up on the day. That goes alongside the near £1,000 that members of the congregation give every month to support Malawian children through the congregation’s own sponsorship scheme.
At present, 93 children are being sponsored, all of them being supported at the centres built by the congregation and developed by the youth group during their bi-annual trips.
Mr Fair commented: “While it’s good that we pray for people living in the poorest countries of the world, prayer without action is an affront to God and a hopeless misunderstanding of the Christian faith.”
Almost as soon as the church building was emptied following the service, it was re-arranged and made ready for the arrival of the renowned, Glasgow-based Phoenix Choir. By the time of the concert at 2.30 p.m., again the church was packed with eager concert goers hoping to enjoy an afternoon of fine music.
They were not disappointed. The choir offered a wonderful programme that was hugely appreciated by the audience. Proceeds from this special concert are going to support the development of the RM Memorial Garden at Condor.
To round off what was already a hectic day, members of the congregation toured seven of the nursing homes and residential care homes in and around the town delivering tasty tray bakes for the respective staffs. This was one of the congregation’s regular Acts of Random Kindness (ARKS).
These are generally designed to say ‘thank you’ to hard-working and sometimes undervalued folks in our community whose work is unseen by most of us but makes such a difference to those who benefit from it.
With congregational life being so full, and with some exciting new developments planned for 2012, not surprisingly a search has been launched for a new member of staff - an associate minister.
It has been some time since the members of St Andrew’s said their farewells to Ruth Bell, their last associate and their hope is to have someone in place in the first part of next year.
Mr Fair said: ‘We are really excited to have launched a recruitment campaign and are confident that we’ll find the right person to become our new associate minister.”