Our yearly report to what's going on at Wrangholm..
ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERFORMANCE 2011
New Stevenston: Wrangholm Kirk
Document compiled by Netta Lithgow
Weekly worship is now in our Kirk Hall so the start of 2011 requires us to adjust to our new surroundings
and to be flexible while coping with the necessary changes. Some of us miss the atmosphere of the church
building and others prefer the informal feeling that the hall creates. The standard of singing in Wrangholm
Kirk has always been good and remains good even though we miss the excellent acoustics in our church
building. Due to the Boiler in the church building being declared unfit for use as a result of burst pipes, the
church building was alternatively being dehumidified and heated with portable heaters. A faithful crew of
volunteers from the congregation visited the building daily to keep an eye on things and to record the
temperature. Good news arrives from the Presbytery of Hamilton and The General Trustees that we have
‘approval in principle’ to further develop our plans for the re-development of the church building and to
apply for funding. Our hope is that Wrangholm Kirk becomes a 24/7 Church Centre for the congregation
and the community.
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
We now celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper four times each year instead of three. The change of
venue meant that our first Communion of 2011 would be celebrated in our Hall. The congregation sat
around two long tables set out with wine in bowls and loaves of crusty bread were blessed and broken for
passing around to dip into the dish at the appropriate point in the Sacrament. The change of format is
popular with some of the congregation and ‘not quite the same’ for others, so again we need to be flexible.
Sacrament of Baptism
We had what I believe to be the first ever Baptismal service in our Hall when a little boy and his Mother
were Baptised. Because we were not in our church building on this occasion some of us thought it wouldn’t
be quite the same but the font was brought across the busy road from the church and placed in the centre
of the Hall with all of us gathered around. The children of the Sunday School took part as always by
presenting flowers and the Baptismal Certificates and the result was a warm meaningful service which
made the most of the alternative location.
Our small Choir meets on a Sunday morning for a short practice of the hymns to be sung that day. Due to
time constraints and small numbers it’s not possible for us to have a full choir practice through the week
but the quick run through the hymns on a Sunday before the Service is valuable. The worship theme each
week follows the Lectionary and our Minister matches the hymns as closely as possible to the main theme.
Some of the newer hymns have been challenging to sing but the Choir is faithful and does a good job in
leading the praise. A few of the members of the congregation who arrive early for the service on a Sunday
quite enjoy sitting quietly and listening to the Choir practice. Others like to hear the hymns being sung as
they enter the Hall. We are always looking for new members to come along and join us.
The Sunday School
The Sunday School has had to cope with a change of venue twice in 2011. Their first move was from the
Hall to the Session Room in the church building - this was to allow space for the congregational worship in
the Hall. The reduced space in the Session Room was not ideal for the Sunday School children but the
teachers coped and the children continued to sing songs, pray, listen to bible stories and do craft work.
Their second move was back into the Hall when the church building finally closed for renovation - the little
ones in the Crèche had to make do with a big play mat in the kitchen. During their Prize Giving in early
summer the children did very well singing some new and quite difficult songs to the congregation and the
little ones in the Crèche received a prize for faithful attendance – this was a new and very nice addition.
After the Prize Giving, the congregation joined the children for an indoor picnic, and games. Over the
Summer Holidays the young people of the Church and the Community took part in a Sunday Fun Club. A
varied programme of activities was planned (Games, Noah’s Ark, a Treasure Hunt, Badminton and Arts &
Crafts) and supervised by several faithful volunteers from the congregation. A huge thank you is due to our
wonderful Sunday School Teachers and their Leader Kim, the Crèche Volunteers and to the children
themselves for all their hard work and faithful attendance.
Easter: The Lenten Period
Our challenge for the Lenten Period was to ‘Reflect on our life and de-clutter’. De-cluttering our
possessions sounded quite straightforward until you actually tried it - “if I throw this/that out or give it
away, I’m bound to need it later – I’d better hold on to it”. This Lenten challenge was indeed challenging!
De-cluttering led us into Holy Week and joint services in our Holytown church where we had to think about
‘The things Jesus carried to the Cross’. The simple, meaningful worship throughout the week included
times of meditation with visual and sensory aides. The poignant recorded music was well chosen by our
Minister and very effective in setting the mood.
The Crucifixion dominated the worship and, as has become our custom, black covers draped the Pulpit and
the Communion Table so that no decoration was visible in the Sanctuary. Our Minister asked us to reflect
on the words and music of the hymn ‘God weeps’ – this was played from a CD and a fine choice for our
reflection. Towards the end of this service we gathered around a simple wooden cross in the corner of the
Sanctuary for prayer then left the church building in silence. Everything about this Good Friday Service was
solemn and simple, well thought out and focused us on the Good Friday message.
A short Service was held at sunrise beside the Cross in the grounds of Holytown Church with breakfast
available in the Hall, afterwards. At the regular morning services later, and as a symbol of triumph, the
bare wooden Cross was festooned with strips of colored paper. In keeping with the theme of celebration,
we also had a distraction in the form of an Easter Bonnet parade with an Easter Egg gifted to the best
bonnet in the various age groups – all good fun!
The Resurrection of Jesus
All of us, the children too, were reminded how Christians struggled to find their faith when Jesus was
crucified and how their faith became stronger with the resurrection of Jesus.
Kirkin’ of the Council
On Sunday 12 June we had a special joint service, hosted by Holytown Parish Church, to recognise the
tradition of The Kirkin’ of the Council. The beautifully printed Order of Service explained that North
Lanarkshire Council had come into being in 1995 and one of its first decisions was that a Kirkin’ of the
Council should take place annually – a different church is chosen each year. Our Minister spoke about the
Holy Spirit and talents using a few visual aids. This was a very nice service, well attended by both
congregations and the members of the Council. A lovely tea was laid out in the Hall for after the service
and much enjoyed by all.
A token display of fruit, vegetables and bread was nicely arranged at the front of the Church to give thanks
for the Harvest. Envelopes, for a monitory donation, were placed on each seat and the congregation
invited to make a donation. We chose to send the money raised to Glasgow City Mission again this year.
Due to the layout in the Hall, it crossed our mind that it might be awkward for the Girls Brigade to
manoeuvre their flags and lay the wreath of poppies with their usual solemn dignity. We should have
known better, they didn’t put a foot wrong and carried it out beautifully under the kind and competent
leadership of their Captain and Officers.
Annual Bereavement Service
The annual joint Bereavement Service was first started during the time of our Interim Minister and
continues, very caringly led by our own Minister who has renamed it Blue Christmas – blue being shades of
sadness and depression. Those bereaved in the community during 2011 were written to by our Minister
inviting them to this special service of remembrance. A ‘fresh’ Christmas tree is ‘set apart’ for tokens of
remembrance and the Roll of Remembrance read out. A comforting cup of tea and a biscuit was available
At the beginning of Advent the children from Primary Six in our local Primary School – New
Stevenston Primary - were given the opportunity to experience the Bubblegum and Fluff event. This was
truly a Community event as the staffing of it included not only our own Minister and members of our own
congregation but also staff from Scripture Union and the local Methodist Church. This morning of activities
encouraged the children to look beyond the secular world of Christmas and to get to the real meaning of
Christmas – the coming of Christ. The feedback from the children and the staff who attended the event
from within the school was excellent and this will become a regular event in coming years.
There was still that air of magic in our Christmas services even although we were not in our church building.
During the four Advent Sundays we lit each of the Advent candles in turn and thought about hope, peace,
joy and love. The Sunday School children contributed throughout Advent with readings, their own Nativity
Play, and a special Gift Service where the gifts are given to those less fortunate in the community – this
year to Women’s’ Aid. The annual Carol Singing evening was a joint event, held in one of the local care
homes and much enjoyed by the residents and those taking part. On Christmas Eve there were two
services within the linkage; a Crib Service at Wrangholm and Carol Singing before the Watchnight Service in
our Holytown church. During the Crib Service, a crude wooden box was draped, by the congregation, with
strips of cloth while we sung ‘cloth for cradle, cradle for the child’. There was a big turn-out of the
congregation and visitors. Some were in Scotland to be with family and friends and it was lovely to share
this simple service with them and of course the tea and mince-pies afterwards. The offering from the
Watchnight Service in our Holytown church was given to Phew – a respite service in North Lanarkshire.
Christmas Day was a short joint service in Holytown and the Christ Candle was lit in the Advent Wreath.
GROUPS AND ORGANISATIONS
Bible Study and Prayer
A Bible Study and Prayer Group meet in the Manse each Thursday and is enjoyed by all who attend. This
group is under the leadership of our Minister who encourages lively debate during the time of bible study.
Wrangholm Kirk Guild
The Guild meets fortnightly and the members enjoy the fellowship, the varied programme on offer and of
course a cup of tea. This year Wrangholm Kirk Guild celebrated their 80th Anniversary with a special meal
in one of the local hotels and an 80th Anniversary cake which they kindly shared with the congregation. The
Guild want to pay tribute, via this report, to all who have gone before them and their hope and prayers that
they continue to serve God for many years to come.
It is hoped to reform the COSY Groups in 2012. The four groups are defined as:
Caring: bereavement support, visiting the sick.
Outreach: including ways of increasing membership
Support: including support for each other, fellowship, meeting for prayer and support for the work
of the church.
Youth: including children and families
The Girls Brigade
In March our 1st New Stevenston Company of the Girls Brigade hosted the Motherwell Divisional Praise
Service in our Holytown Church. The theme of the service was ‘Light’ and the Company, who looked very
smart in their uniforms, took an active part in the worship with prayers, Bible Readings and singing. The
Company also had their Annual Presentation of Awards in the spring and it was reported that all the girls
had completed their badge-work and would be presented with their badges and service awards. Well done
to the girls and their leaders.
Caring for each other
During November our new Fellowship Group was formed. The main objective of this non-worship group is
to provide company for those in the church and community who lack it. At the first meeting we had two
men and fourteen women present. The hall was nice and warm and we chatted, knitted, did crochet,
played board games and Dominoes. A free cup of tea or coffee with biscuits and shortbread was enjoyed by
all and it simply was a nice couple of hours spent in pleasant company. A little Christmas Party rounded off
the year. During 2012 The Group plan to have an outing in the springtime and hope to continue
throughout the summer with a ‘Fellowship amble in the park’ – I look forward to further reporting on this
in our next report.
We continue to distribute the flowers which are donated each week to decorate the Sanctuary. The
flowers are nicely wrapped and a card from the congregation is attached. These are taken to those in the
Community who are or have been ill, are lonely, or have cause to celebrate. Those who receive the flowers
are always so delighted and we feel this is a great outreach.
Back to Church Sunday
We plan to hold another Back to Church Sunday in 2012. With the church building being closed due to
refurbishment it was felt more appropriate that we plan BTCS when the newly refurbished church building
ACHIEVEMENTS, FUNDRAISING AND TALENTS
As a result of a Quinquennial Visitation in May to meet with the Minister and Office Bearers of our linkage
we were delighted to receive the following commendation from Presbytery:
“Presbytery Commends the Minister, Office-Bearers and congregation of Holytown lw
New Stevenston: Wrangholm for progress made in the first years of this new ministry.
And for their hard work and enthusiasm.”
The Christian Aid organisation has a wonderful slogan – “We believe in Life before Death”. Our Treasurer,
Christine, was pleased to report that as a linkage, our donation to Christian Aid was good and an increase
on 2010. Participation in QuizAid was the usual great fun and it was hoped this would take the grand total
for Wrangholm and Holytown towards £1,500. We also sponsored our Minister and her husband for their
walk around Cumbrae as part of the Christian Aid Sponsored Walk.
Throughout 2011 our New Dawn Fundraising Team organised several fundraising events in aid of our
planned programme of repairs and alterations to our church building. These events, which were well
supported both by church folks and those in the community, were a great success and the hard working
team deserve a very special mention and our thanks.
Coffee, Cakes and Crafts Sale
On the Sunday before Mothers Day, several ladies organised a Coffee, Cakes and Crafts Sale after morning
worship. This was in aid of our New Dawn project (funding for the renovation of our Church Building). The
ladies responsible, with support from a few of their friends, created some stunning arrangements using
flowers, towels, and a bit of sparkle. The home baking was up to the usual high standard and thoroughly
enjoyed by those attending! This was a lovely fundraiser, well supported by the congregation, and a good
boost to our New Dawn Fund. Many thanks to these ladies and their friends.
Keeping in touch
Keeping in touch with each other is of course vital. Each Elder has his/her district of church members that
they visit with Communion Invitations, Offering Envelopes and the Church Magazine. These Elders keep
the Minister informed about those in need of pastoral care so that she can follow up with a visit. They also
update those who cannot get to church on ‘what’s happening’. Our Orders of Service, Intimations,
Calendar of Dates and Church Magazine are all very important to us and we look forward to these handouts
each week to keep us up-to-date with the times and dates of what’s on. A list of those in need of
prayer and Bible readings for the week are also included. These excellent aides are prepared and printed
by our Minister each week and appreciated by all of us. We also appreciate our Church Magazine and
recognise the burden taken on by one of our Elders in compiling it. Keeping everyone updated on our
refurbishment program has not been plain sailing however. Our congregation know that they can ask if
they want information about what’s happening with the church building but delays, due to lack of various
permissions or news of funding etc, has made it very difficult to keep everyone informed. As a result, it’s
frustrating for the Congregational Board when they feel their hands are tied. However, we are trying hard
to achieve effective communication. We are thankful for all our Office Bearers and volunteers.
Despite a year of changes, waiting, frustrations and longing to get our church building back, the
congregation has been steadfast in standing by their church and in attending worship regularly. They
deserve a special mention. We have hard workers in Wrangholm Kirk, some give huge amounts of their
time to the work of the church while others do what they can – all are important and we are thankful.
It’s the end of the year now and the 16 curtains in the Hall, as well as the stage curtains, have been washed
and ironed to give the hall a wee spruce up for the New Year. We are excited about our new Church
Centre, as well as a little bit fearful that something might go wrong. The old pews have been removed and
the new chairs for the church have been chosen by the congregation. We are not permitted to go into the
church building due to Health & Safety rules but occasionally we see the contractors working away and the
lights on in the church building at night. We have a very competent Quantity Surveyor who is overseeing all
the plans and the contractors on our behalf. She works closely with our Minister and they, with our
Building Committee, make a good team.
We thank God for our Minister, for all the effort she puts in to making our worship meaningful while
keeping it relevant for every age group and for the way she looks after us all. We thank God too for our
Church Hall – where would we have been without it this past year.
Our Mission Statement proclaims “We are a living, caring Church at the centre of our communities. Sharing
worship, offering support, giving a welcome and sharing the Good News of Jesus”. I believe that this report
shows that we are indeed a living, caring church.