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LONG SERVICE AWARDS Posted on 18 Mar 2019

Last evening the Moderator presented 90 long-service certificates to office-bearers who attended a Presbytery Praise Service in Airdrie Cairnlea Parish Church. The Service was led by the Moderator of the Presbytery, the Rev. Kevin Mackenzie, assisted by the Rev. Dr Peter Donald, Minister of Airdrie Cairnlea.

The Scriptures were read by Marjory McElroy, Andrew Main, and Sheena Walker.

The Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt. Rev. Susan M Brown, led the congregation, numbering close on 300, in an Affirmation of Faith. She also offered words of congratulation to the certificate recipients, and encouragement to the whole congregation, liking God and the Gospel to the parts of a Tunnock’s Teacake and reminding all of the Church’s role in “unwrapping the teacake” - the Gospel - to that all may enjoy the delicious substance inside, and “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

A number of those who have received long service certificates were unable to be present due to infirmity - but including those, Long Service Certificates totalling more that 4,000 years of service have been issued to Elders and other office-bearers in Hamilton Presbytery in the last year.

STEWARTFIELD Posted on 18 Mar 2019

The Moderator spent the morning with the small congregation of Stewartfield, in East Kilbride. Stewartfield is a New Church Development charge, led by the Rev. Douglas Wallace and a Core Group Leadership Team, headed up by Sandra Robb, shadow Session Clerk. It meets weekly for worship in Stewartfield Community Centre at McNeish Way.

After the service, the Moderator and her party proceeded to the adjacent Morrison’s store, where Mr Wallace has an active chaplaincy. The Moderator met staff and customers, and was treated to lunch by the store manage, who expressed himself delighted at having the Moderator visit the store.

STIGMA FREE PLEDGE Posted on 16 Mar 2019

This morning, as witnessed by the Moderator, the Presbytery of Hamilton signed up to the Stigma Free Lanarkshire Pledge​.

Stigma Free Lanarkshire works closely with Lanarkshire Recovery Network, NHS Lanarkshire and See Me colleagues, and other key stakeholders, to tackle the negative stigma often associated with mental ill-health.

It aims to create inclusive systems, culture and practice as well as encouraging opportunities for contact between those who experience stigma and those who perpetrate it.

The Presbytery, on whose behalf the pledge was signed by the Moderator, the Rev. Kevin Mackenzie, and the Clerk, the Rev. Dr Gordon A McCracken, has committed itself to develop and participate in an Action Plan which will include:

- An autumn event with key note speaker, arranged by the Church and Society Committee, to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health and the stigma associated with it;

- Designating a Mental Health and Wellbeing Sunday for which appropriate liturgical material will be made available for congregational use;

- Collating and publicising existing work within congregations which contributes to good mental health; and

- Urging all congregations to engage with the Stigma Free Lanarkshire team, and to consider contextual local responses to mental illness and the associated stigma.

Those gathering to witness the signing ceremony were addressed by Jenny Hutton, Public Mental Health & Wellbeing Development Manager, NHS Lanarkshire, and by the Rev. Derek Pope, Convener of the Presbytery Church and Society Committee.

The Moderator of the General Assembly, also spoke, offering words of encouragement and sharing something of her conversations around this subject with young people from different parts of Lanarkshire and with Council Officials.

Present at the signing were (as pictured left to right): the Rev. Dr Gordon McCracken, the Rt. Rev. Susan Brown, Jenny Hutton, the Rev. Derek Pope, and the Rev. Kevin Mackenzie.

Also present from Stigma Free Lanarkshire were Avril Cutler, Programme Co-ordinator; Audrey Bremner, Development Officer; Rachel Bottomley, Development Officer, and Gerald Szafranek, Administrator/IT; and from the Presbytery, Roberta Hutton, former Moderator; and Elizabeth Cruickshank, PA to the Presbytery Clerk.

LANARKSHIRE MOSQUE Posted on 15 Mar 2019

Early on Thursday evening, the Moderator and her Chaplain paid a visit to the Lanarkshire Mosque and Welfare Centre, which lies within the parish of New Stevenston.

The local parish Minister, the Rev. Caryl Kyle, together with the Rev. Kevin Mackenzie, Moderator of Presbytery, and the Rev. Derek Pope, Church and Society Convener, accompanied her.

The were given a conducted tour of the Mosque by representatives of the leadership team, and the Moderator and Mrs Kyle had opportunity to attend the women’s meeting, and spend a little time with some of the 200 children who attend the Islamic School after the normal school day is over.

Today (Friday) the Moderator is attending the Eurodiaconate Conference in Edinburgh, where she will lead closing worship, but she will be back in Lanarkshire later today and tomorrow will attend the signing of the Lanarkshire Stigma Free Pledge by the Moderator and Clerk of the Presbytery. That event takes place at the Presbytery Offices, Rex House, 103 Bothwell Road, Hamilton, ML3 0DW.

SOUTH LANARKSHIRE COUNCIL Posted on 15 Mar 2019

In the afternoon, South Lanarkshire Council, and Provost Ian McAllan, paid host to the Moderator in the Council office at Hamilton. Council Officials were also present, and a number of topics of mutual interest were explored.

The adjacent photo shows Provost McAllan addressing the gathering, with the Moderator on the left of the picture, and the Presbytery Moderator on the right.

BREAKFAST MEETING Posted on 15 Mar 2019

Yesterday, the Moderator took breakfast with senior pupils from Brannock, Coltness and Dalziel High Schools. Calderhead High School, unfortunately, had to call off at the last minute.

Nonetheless, conversations with the young people around Health and Wellbeing were most enlightening and encouraging for all concerned.

Lunch with Provost Jean Jones and Officials from North Lanarkshire Council at the Civic Centre in Motherwell followed . The Presbytery Moderator, the Rev. Kevin Mackenzie, and the Church and Society Committee Convener, the Rev. Derek Pope were in attendance to represent the Presbytery. Information and ideas were shared to mutual benefit.

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