Latest News

Drama Kirk - The Letters of Paul Posted on 22 Nov 2021

“The Letters of Paul”

Our dramatized studies following the life of the Apostle Paul conclude with a study on his letters, exploring the key themes and dramatizing some wonderful moments.

Please do join us for the study on Tuesday 30th November at 7pm on
where we will explore his church and pastoral letters – asking what we might want from such letters today.

Letter from our Mission Partner Gary Brough Posted on 06 Apr 2021

Gary Brough - Malawi

April 2021

Resource and Mobilisation & Communications Manager, CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Church & Society Programme, PO Box 112; Mzuzu, Malawi.

Dear friends,

It is good to be writing to you from Mzuzu again. When we last wrote, we were completing our self-isolation after travelling from the UK. At that time, Malawi also experienced a second wave of COVID-19 cases that was much larger than the first. Hospitals began to fill up, and oxygen supplies started to run out.

It appears that the second wave is behind us now. However, COVID-19 restrictions were minimal,mask-wearing is increasingly rare, and vaccine supplies are limited. So we
treat this more like a break in the storm.

There was further controversy around public finances when it was revealed as much as 50% of government funding made available to fight coronavirus might have been misused by officials. This is not dissimilar from the headlines in the UK about government contracts being awarded without proper scrutiny. Malawi’s President has been quick to condemn this abuse of funds and make efforts to address the issue permanently.

Vaccines have arrived as part of the global COVAX programme, but numbers are limited. However, convincing people that it is safe and necessary to receive the vaccine may prove a more significant challenge than the short supplies. Mistrust is deep-rooted for many, but fake news and sensational headlines from around the world are shared
without context and add to people’s fears.

My work is primarily desk-based for now, but it looks like we may be able to return to more community work soon. At the office, we rotate our schedules and work from home when possible to reduce congestion. The knock-on effect of COVID-19 has increased the demand for some of our work. We are returning to our research of child sexual assault
in collaboration with the police, courts and social welfare office. Sadly, with schools closed for a prolonged period and the economic impact of COVID-19, the country is seeing increased cases of early marriage, teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.

At the same time, however, governments and agencies who champion development are focused on the more direct impact of COVID-19 and as such, funding sources are dwindling. We will have to be more creative if we are to safeguard vital services to vulnerable communities. We are piloting consultancy services to local organisations and to
outside organisations that are currently unable to travel as one means of generating funds. I’d appreciate your prayers for these efforts!

After the disappointment of yet more home learning with Mum and Dad, Eilidh and Morven were delighted to return to school and nursery. We’re grateful for their continued resilience and relatively smooth transition back into Mzuzu life. They both seem to be thriving despite the upheaval of 9 months away and are enjoying being able to
see some friends again.

Jacqueline and I have taken it in turns to attend church over the last couple of weeks. Numbers are limited by COVID restrictions, Sunday School isn’t running, and we’ve been in the pattern of joining our home church online, so we didn’t want to take up limited spaces. After a year away from Katawa, our local church, and gathered worship in
general, it was nice to be back!

We’ve been familiarisingourselves with Mzuzu life again. While a lot has changed in our time away, it’s still the familiar city we’ve come to call home. During a recent public
holiday, Eilidh and I took some time to explore the central market with its warren of shops and stalls. While we knew how to get to some of our essentials, with the help of a local friend, Frank, we were able to work out how it all fits together and where to buy the items we need.

As lockdown begins to ease and vaccines are widely available in the UK, it captures the idea of the new life of the spring season. Such a contrast to 12 months ago! While the route out might take much longer for Malawi, there is still hope. If this is our experience here on earth, how much more remarkable is the eternal hope we have
in Jesus Christ? What a stark reminder to take into our Easter celebrations.

Every blessing,

Gary, Jacqueline, Eilidh and Morven x

Drama Kirk presents the 2021 Passion Play Posted on 24 Mar 2021

With Arms Wide Open Luke’s Passion Story

Easter Saturday (3rd April) at 2pm

Drama Kirk’s 2021 Passion Play tells the Easter story from the perspective of Gospel writer Luke, putting Jesus’ story together years after his death and hearing from the disciples what their encounters had meant for them. It also includes a series of flashbacks to that final, fatal week.

Filmed during lockdown, the 30minute film features two professional actors in the roles of Jesus and Luke, as well as members of the Drama Kirk team.

Further information can be found at or on twitter @PlayLanarkshire “With Arms Wide Open”
will be broadcast on YouTube on Easter Saturday (3rd April) at 2pm on the
following link -

Mission Partner - Gary Brough Posted on 22 Feb 2021

​Irene Anderson, member of the Presbytery’s World and Community Interests committee; is in regular contact with Gary Brough, Presbytery’s Mission Partner who returned to Malawi just after Christmas and wrote the following to Irene recently:

“Yes, it seems we returned as the second wave was taking hold here. Due to the South African variant it appears and amid people travelling for Christmas. Cases rose quickly across the country but particularly in the cities. Numbers appear to be going down according to official figures but it’s hard to believe they paint a complete picture when testing is hard to access and people are reluctant to test.

As cases rose, hospitals filled up and oxygen supplies have been a particular issue. Schools were closed for 5 weeks but are due to reopen on Monday. Eilidh is excited to get back. No word on Morven’s nursery yet. With the girls home (and having lost her driver’s license) Jacqueline has been home most of the time too. Her new license arrived yesterday so we’re looking forward to a new routine!

I work from home alternate weeks to reduce numbers in the office. Finding my feet again but an uphill battle ahead, COVID has had a big impact on activities and finance. Services are as needed as ever as school closures and economic pressure increase the risks of gender based violence or exploitation by employers.”

Current Vacancies for Ministers (Charges with permission to Call) Feb 2021 Posted on 15 Feb 2021

Current Vacancies for Ministers (Charges with permission to Call) July 2021

Dates stated are those on which latest permission to call was granted. The Right to Call lapses on 31 December 2021 in accordance with the decision of the General Assembly.

(4 May 2021) [7-Year Reviewable Tenure]:

Interim Moderator – Rev. Dr John Carswell (Hamilton: Cadzow)

A letter from Presbytery’s Mission Partner - Gary Brough Posted on 26 Jan 2021

Dear Friends,

I’m very happy to be writing to you from Malawi and our home in Mzuzu. The uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic meant we returned to Scotland at the end of March. We had hoped to return to Malawi sooner, but we’re grateful to be here now.

We’re currently self-isolating at home. This isn’t obligatory in Malawi, however, with new variants ofthe virus spreading widely, it is the right thing to do. With temperatures around 25 degrees and a garden to enjoy, it isn’t really a hardship. It is also giving us time to adjust to being back and recover from the last-minute preparations and taxing journey.

When we arrived back in Scotland lockdown had just been implemented. Raising kids between cultures meant we wondered if the girls would be overwhelmed by the comforts of home. The gradual easing of restrictions meant the pace of our return to the familiar things of home was being decided by the government. That probably made the cultural adjustment easier on all of us. We were able to safely see many of our friends and family during our time in the UK and we’re grateful for that. Sadly, with the last-minute changes to Christmas travel rules, we were unable to see Jacqueline’s parents before we returned to Malawi.

Eilidh attended school in Edinburgh after the summer and Morven stayed home with us. As furlough ended, I began to do whatever remote work was possible. We enjoyed some virtual deputation activities during this time also but look forward to being able to see people face to face at some point in the future. Jacqueline and I both appreciated being able to keep our hand in with activities back in Malawi.

Jacqueline had been working with a friend here on the publication of a training programme to prevent lower back injury in rural communities. The manual is now finished and is being used by a number of organisations to help their local communities. Now that we’re back, Jacqueline is looking forward to seeing what comes next for this and other ministries in which she has been involved.

The journey home was fraught with potential hurdles. Flights were cancelled and rescheduled twice in the week running up to our departure. With the UK re-entering lockdown on the morning we left we weren’t fully convinced that we’d make it all the way here. We did and we truly see God’s hand of protection throughout for us and our luggage! Flights and airports were busy, despite the restrictions, with many fraught-looking travelers. While the news has focused on holiday travel, I expect there were many people in a similar situation to us – trying to get back to wherever they were before the pandemic made travel so difficult.

After a drop in recorded COVID-19 cases in Malawi for a number of months, the country is now experiencing a higher rate of transmission than it has at any other point in the pandemic. This is most likely linked to the South African variant. People have been very relaxed about the virus, it is not the greatest threat to many people’s wellbeing when employment is low, food is expensive and other diseases present a more imminent threat. With numbers rising, the government are bringing in stricter controls though most activities, including schools, will continue.

Malawians are sadly all too used to hardships in life. It may be that they are better prepared for the long-journey out of this pandemic than many of us are.

We pray for you also and the churches and communities we represent. As it’s often been said, we’re all in the same storm but we’re not in the same boat. We’re grateful for your interest, prayer and support amid the challenges we all face just now.

Please pray

- Give thanks for a peaceful time in Malawi following the presidential election rerun. Pray for the new government as it seeks to meet the high expectations of Malawians.

- For Malawi’s protection from COVID-19 and in particular an end to it.

- We give thanks that we are back in Malawi and that the children are adjusting well so far.

- For our return to work and school.

- For the adjustment between the restrictions of life in the UK and the freedoms in Malawi.

- For awareness of the concerns of others when we are so used to COVID-19 being the ruling issue.

Every blessing,

Gary, Jacqueline, Eilidh and Morven

+265 (0) 99 355 3929 (WhatsApp)


The Church of Scotland Presbytery of Hamilton is a charity registered in Scotland No: SC048680.