ST. LAURENCE NEWS - DECEMBER 2020



INTIMATION OF VACANCY PROCEDURE COMMITTEE#
Section 2, Act VIII, 2003 (as amended)
To be intimated to the congregation by means of notices devised by the Kirk Session

Notice is hereby given that the Vacancy Procedure Committee of the Presbytery of Moray proposes to take the following actions:

Forres: St. Laurence
The Vacancy Procedure Committee proposes:
To appoint the Reverend Sonia Palmer OLM as Interim Moderator in place of Mr. Peter Taylor,
who is thanked for his services as Interim Moderator.
action will proceed unless at least four persons who are communicant members of the congregations
of Forres: St. Laurence, together or separately submit to the Presbytery Clerk a request for this
proposal to be considered at the next meeting of the Presbytery. Any such request must set out the relevant reasons.
You should submit any such requests in writing to the Presbytery Clerk, Mrs. Janet Whyte,
1 Lemanfield Crescent, Garmouth, Fochabers, IV32 7LS by Monday 7th December 2020 in the case of members of the
congregation of Forres: St. Laurence.

If four valid requests are received, then the actions stated above will be suspended
and the approval of Presbytery will be required.

(Mrs.) Janet Whyte,
Presbytery Clerk
20 November 2020
NB. This intimation is also to be displayed as prominently as possible at the Church buildings for seven days.

REPORT FROM THE BOARD AND SESSION WORKING TOGETHER
We are sorry to be losing Peter Taylor as our Interim Moderator but look forward to working under the
guidance of Rev Sonia Palmer in the near future. The Interim Moderator, remember, only guides; the day to day
work has to be done by the Session and the Board. Many of the posts are now filled by non-elders. The Session
Clerk does not have to be an elder — any volunteers?
There has been a good response to my concerns expressed in previous Newsletters about the Weekly Freewill
Offering and Open Plate. A good number of you have either sent cheques to cover the missing envelopes, changed
to Standing Order, or both. Please try to catch up on your envelopes before the end of the year. My home letter box is always there.
Our grant of £10,000 from the Central Fabric Fund has come in and back out to British Gas and I now await a
refund of the VAT to make the Fabric Account look healthier.
We now have a much more efficient heating system, which even copes with the open doors which are still a
condition of worship in Church. The Kirk Session will again review the possibility of more regular services at our
next electronic meeting. The fear of Covid-19 dominates our discussions and we must pray, in Advent, that the coming
of effective vaccines will allow us to gather together for worship sooner rather than later.
Keep safe and all God's blessing for Christmas and the year to come.
Dr Douglas Murray, Sunnyknowe, Sanquhar Road, Forres IV36 1DG – Tel 01309 672545

ST LAURENCE CHURCH FABRIC
As we approach the end of 2020, we are reminded at this time of the celebration of the birth of Christ.
We would normally be looking forward to services and special celebrations in our beautrful Curch at Christmas time. Being the Property Convener of the Church, it has been my duty over the last few months to make regular weekly checks of the Church building to ensure all is in order and functioning for the time when we can re-open and be able to welcome back the Congregation.
Our Church building is presently ‘on life support’. It needs its ‘Heart’ to be restored; Our ‘Heart’ is our
wonderful Congregation. Let it soon be in place, to come alive again to celebrate in worship and fellowship. We pray for this to happen in the years ahead.
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
Alec Reid, Property Convener

CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS FROM THE ORGANIST
Last Christmas saw the final concert of the Culbin Singers and in the final Carol everyone sang heartily of
embracing one another in true love and brotherhood -

Now to the Lord sing praises
All you within this place
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace ...
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Sadly this year some of the sentiments in the Carol have not been physically possible but at Christmas we
should all think of others and try to look forward positively.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without music and for me that means Handel‘s Messiah, Bach‘s Christmas Oratorio
and the music of John Rutter. Throughout the 48 years of the Culbin Singers I always tried to include some of Rutter‘s
arrangements and compositions in our concerts. He has the ability to communicate simply with his carols at Christmas
and I could go on and on about various of these but space does not allow. However, in ‘I wish you Christmas’ which
he composed in 2008 he writes, I wish you music, I wish you song
With voices echoing, joyous and strong ..
I wish you Christmas, a Merry Christmas,
A Merry Christmas to remember all the year.

These are my thoughts too and I hope that in 2021 we will be able to join together in Church and ‘sing praises’.
Alistair

PS All the music I have referred to can be found on the internet so keep singing, if only in the shower!
If you are looking for some Christmas reading I can thoroughly recommend 'Tidings of Comfort and Joy' by Pam Rhodes
(published by Hodder and Stoughton)

LEPROSY MISSION SCOTLAND
We are very grateful to get the sum of £538.09 despite the strange year — unable to meet in Church, and no
collection during Leprosy Week.
Thank you all for continuing to support Leprosy Mission, as it makes a great difference to so many lives. The
total sent since December 2016 is £2,600.66.
Sheila Grant

THE GUILD
Normally at this time of the year, members would be looking forward to their Advent and Christmas programme,
as well as the opportunity to enjoy fellowship at a Christmas lunch. Unfortunately, there is no 'normal' for any of us
this year, but we are still keeping in touch with each other by phone occasionally. Our Theme of ‘Going the Extra Mile’
has become rather difficult, but not impossible, to put into practice, as we continue to work towards our aim to care for
those we know and those we hear and read about through the media. We look forward somewhat apprehensively to the coming Christmas and New Year season, but secure in our faith so that whenever we become anxious we can - 'Let go and let God ..'

Janet Benson

ST LAURENCE LADIES
Due to the ongoing pandemic, it has not been possible for our group to meet again this year. We miss seeing our
members at Church, the chats over a cup of tea and home bakes and the fellowship of our meetings. 2020 has been a year
like no other but hopefully at some point in 2021 we can look forward to seeing everyone again. In the meantime, take
care, stay safe and know that Jenny and I are at the other end of the phone if you feel like a chat.

‘Gentle Jesus, hear our prayer,
Keep us in thy loving care;
And when evening shadows fall,
Casting darkness over all,
Loving Jesus, be thou near,
For with thee we have no fear.’

Christine Grant 675187 and Jenny Walker 675295

And finally .............A verse from a well-known hymn reads:

‘What can I give him, Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him -
Give my heart.’

Whatever and wherever you are on Christmas Day may you and yours know the blessing of Almighty God and enjoy
his peace which is beyond all understanding. May we come to know and experience the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of
God in our lives this Christmas time.
Wishing you every blessing.
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