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Guild News - 26 April
April 2021
New beginnings
As you are reading this week’s e-news, the Scottish Government is preparing to ease more lockdown measures. It seems a long time since Christmas, when the whole of Scotland was forced into another lockdown.

With the vaccination programme well underway, the virus seems to be easing too; deaths are down, hospital admissions are down, and there is a feeling of relief that we at last - maybe, just maybe - are seeing a light at the end of the dark tunnel we have all been facing for the last 14 months.

It will be difficult to not look back, but instead move forward as we remember the three million people worldwide who have died due to this terrible virus.

On Thursday 15 April, the Guild's new projects were launched and the new three-year strategy is about to begin - and what a wonderful title we have: 'Look Forward in Faith'.

I believe we, as members of the Guild, have always looked forward in faith - we know our heavenly father has been right there with us.

In Corinthians 5:7 we read, “for we live by faith, not sight” and in Matthew 17:20 God tells us: "truly I tell you if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move, nothing will be impossible."

Over the last year it has been difficult, but let us remember that God has a plan for all of us. His plan is not in the past but in the future. Allow the love of God to compel you to keep going forward. What’s in the past is in the past, let us all move forward.

Look at God’s creation. The buds on the trees are beginning to show, the birds are preparing to build nests for their new fledglings, the lambs and newborn calves are skipping about in our fields, the sun is beginning to shine, and the days are lighter and longer. Soon we will be able to meet face to face.

We will be able to have that long-awaited cup of coffee sitting together. We will be able to see our loved ones again. I have a new grandson who was born during lockdown, Elliot. My sister is still to meet Elliot, and is excited to be able to meet him on 30 April.

Our Queen, Elizabeth II, will also find it strange that after 73 years with the Duke of Edinburgh just two steps behind her, she will now have to begin to do her royal duties without her beloved Philip. But her faith in our dear Lord will carry her through these trying days.

So let’s all 'Look Forward in Faith'. Let us all strive to hopefully get back to some normality. Let us look forward to meeting with our friends and families. Let us look forward to the Guild Annual Gathering, where hopefully we can all come together. Let us hope we can sing our hearts out. Let us begin to support our new projects. Let us look forward to being able to have our Guild meetings face to face and not online.

Let us all 'Look Forward in Faith', knowing we are not alone. God is with us in difficult times, in happy times, and sometimes when we think He has deserted us. Through our faith, we will know He is always with us.

Blessings until we can all be reunited in faith,

Andrea, National Vice Convener.
A very different year in St. Mungo's Parish Church Guild, Alloa
When we had to cancel our Sister Guild evening with the Hillfoots Music for Youth and our 2020 AGM in March, we did not expect the proposed 11 weeks' closure and subsequent lockdown to last a year with no Guild meetings. We had to think differently about the ways in which we could keep Guild members connected. 

Many of our members did not have access to technology so we had to look at other ways. We did have a couple of Zoom committee meetings and offered this as a chance to see one another but there was little demand for it. We produce regular newsletters every couple of months which are printed and either hand-delivered or posted out to members. Those which are hand-delivered usually involve a socially distanced and masked chat on the doorstep. The newsletters give updates on the projects and usually a look back at what we would normally be doing.  We include puzzles and pictures of past events. There is often a little extra included, for example, a chocolate coin, a wooden tree decoration in a Christmas card, and a copy of the Strathcarron activity book. Members phone one another just to keep in touch. Guild Blessings cards, birthday cards and, sadly, sympathy cards have also been sent.

Our local church website has been used to draw attention to the Guild projects on several occasions. Hats were knitted for the Sailor's Society and a donation sent for Christmas parcels for them. The weekly national Guild newsletter is sent to those with an email address and a link put on the website. A copy of our own members' newsletter is also made available on the website.

We also knitted small prayer shawl squares for members. One lady told me she keeps it in her pocket and another said she puts it under her pillow. The local World Day of Prayer meeting was held by Zoom and I was told the singing was "something else!"

Our members paid their annual subscriptions as normal last year which enabled us to donate to our Church, the Guild, and the projects.

This Easter, all members received a card and an unexpected treat in the form of a box of cakes to enjoy. 

One member of our Guild is in hospital and our thoughts are with her and her family, and one member has recovered from contracting Covid-19 last year.

Our members are staying safe and well and looking forward to a time when we can all meet up again.
National Convener elect agreed
We are delighted to announce that the National Council has agreed on the nomination of Margaret Muir of Hamilton North Guilds Together as our National Convener Elect for 2021-22. 

Margaret said: "I am humbled at the privilege the National Council has given me to serve the Guild as National Convener for 2021-22. The Guild has been a significant part of my life for the past 15 years. I look forward to meeting other members of my Guild family in the year ahead. Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare for this important role."
Funding opportunity
Funding through the 'Social Isolation and Loneliness Fund' has become available to groups from Impact Funding Partners.
Why not think of applying for start-back funding? Might your Guild benefit from this?  A £150-£200 grant might equip your local Guild to arrange an afternoon tea in a box or a socially distanced garden party at the end of summer as a way of connecting with members. Or you could use it to fund a potential promotion of the new session, whatever that might look like at a local level. It is certainly an opportunity to get some support to bring members together again.

It is worth thinking about and perhaps applying using the link below.
Find out more
Coronavirus diaries: Alone but not lonely
In this week's Life and Work series, the Rev Michael Okpara, who has just arrived in Scotland from Nigeria, reflects on his 10 days in isolation.
Read more
Rocking the town
Last year in Banchory, one of their Guild members set up a scheme to have a wall of painted stones (which then snowballed). A huge display area in the town centre was created and thousands of stones were fixed into this wall.

People continued to paint stones so it was decided that another wall would be created in the gardens of a sheltered housing complex. 

This stone was painted for Banchory Ternan East Church which has one of the oldest Guilds in Scotland, founded in November 1886. They have some past and present Guild members in the complex and so decided to place their stone there.

What a lovely way to remind them that they are still part of the Guild family.
Monday memories
This week our memory comes from the National Council. We are grateful to the members of our National Council who work so hard to support the work of the Guild nationally as well as locally.
Tasty treats
We don't know about you but we thought these Guild cake pops look absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, we don't stay in the Dunbartonshire Guilds Together area so we missed out. But what a great idea, and edible Guild logos could definitely catch on!
Hymn of the week
Our hymn this week is 'My hope is built on nothing less'.  A hymn that reminds us that our true hope is only found in Jesus. It is easy to be caught up in other things as a source of hope but this simple truth helps to keep us grounded on 'the solid rock.'
Listen now
Pray this week
Monday: for countries where malaria continues to kill people every day. Asking that scientists will work with renewed vigour to find affordable long-term treatment for the poorest people in the world.
Tuesday: remembering our Queen as she continues with her work following the death of her husband, Prince Philip.
Wednesday: thinking particularly of the Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, as his year of office begins to draw to a close.
Thursday: for our National Convener elect, Margaret Muir, as she prepares for her new role within the Guild.
Friday: remembering our past national leaders and giving thanks for the ways in which they have and continue to serve the Guild.
Saturday: giving thanks for the work of Christian Aid and for taking part in the Kilt Walk to support their work with the most vulnerable across the world.
Sunday: thinking particularly of students who are coming to the end of their studies and asking that the right path would open for them in the months ahead.
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