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Guild News - 21 June
How can I keep from singing?
For as long as I can remember I have sung. From an early age, my brother and I used to perform concerts for my mum and our neighbours. I’m not sure if my brother really wanted to perform? But as I was older than him, and the boss, he just had to get on with it. I sing all the time - when I’m working about the house, in the car, in the shower, and I am a member of a singing group that goes to the care homes in Dumfries. There is just something about watching the care home residents joining in with all the old songs of their day.

So, you can imagine how I was feeling when we were told we could not sing in our churches over the last 16 months. When we were able to have church services in between lockdowns, it was very difficult to sit and listen to the hymns instead of singing them. I must admit I did sing very softly to myself with my mask on. It was wonderful when the restrictions were lifted in my local area and we were able to sing in our churches, albeit, we still need to sing with our masks on.

Singing is more than just entertainment; it’s good for your body, mind and soul. It uplifts your mood, helps you relax, builds your confidence and exercises your lungs. I hear people saying “I can’t sing” but that’s not true. Most of us can sing - just some better than others.

In four readings in the Bible, we learn that Jesus also sang praises to the Lord. In Matthew (26: 30) and Mark (14: 26), we read about Jesus singing the Passover hymn before He went out to the Mount of Olives. In Hebrews (2: 12), we read: “He says I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters. In the assembly, I will sing your praises." And in Romans (15: 9): "Moreover, the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises of your name.”

All told, the Bible contains 400 references to singing, and 50 direct commands to sing. The longest book of the Bible, the Psalms, is a book of songs. In the New Testament, we are commanded not once but twice. In Ephesians (5: 19) we read: "Speak to one another in Psalms, hymns and songs; sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord", and also in Colossians (3: 16) we read the same: "Sing thankfully in your hearts to God." Even the prophet Zephaniah tells us that God also sang to His people (3: 17).  

So, you see we can all sing and rejoice any day of the week. If you are having a bad day, just sing. God doesn’t tell just the good singers to sing, He tells all His people to sing. So, hopefully by the time we come to meet at our Guild meetings, at the National Council meetings, and at our Annual Gathering, we will all be able to sing and raise the roofs.

I’m sure we have all watched at some point Strictly Come Dancing on the television? And, at the end of every show, they finish by saying “keep dancing". Well my friends I am going to finish by saying “KEEP SINGING".

Andrea Houston, National Vice Convener.

We would love it if you would tell us what you have been singing this week and why.
Tell us about what you have been singing
Virtual Big Sing 2021
We hope that you enjoyed our virtual Big Sing which allowed us to celebrate and to share in worship and fellowship with each other, and with our six new Project Partners. and with friends in Malawi.

If you didn't manage to watch it on Friday, then you can still watch it on the Church of Scotland Youtube channel.

We are also able to provide you with a DVD or USB stick for a donation towards the projects if you would like to use this at a Guild meeting in the coming months. Email us at guild@churchofscotland.org.uk to order your copy.

Finally, we are still taking donations for the project to end the practice of child marriage in Malawi, being run by our Mission Partner Gary Brough. If you would like to make a donation, then please send a cheque to the office at The Guild, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN, or donate using the button below.
Donate now
Annual Gathering 2021
We are disappointed to have to let you know that the Annual Gathering planned for the Caird Hall on Saturday 4 September has had to be cancelled. The National Council felt that, with the current restrictions remaining in place for a further four weeks, it is impossible to plan a Gathering in Dundee. 

However, it has been agreed to hold an in-person Annual Gathering in the Assembly Hall where we will be able to have approx 100 people, including representatives from each Guilds Together group. We are currently in dialogue with the technical staff to ensure that you will be able to join us from the comfort of your own home. Further details will be sent to all Guilds in July but please save the date! 
Plastic bottle tops
If you are one of those people who likes to make money for nothing then recycling plastic bottle tops is for you. 

If you are willing to wash plastic milk bottle tops in all colours, with foil removed, then they can be sold on in aid of palliative care. Martha Dickinson collects them in Edinburgh and is able to provide information about local collection options. You can email her at marthadickson@outlook.com.

Meet the Guilds in North Ayrshire
Guilds Together in North Ayrshire have regularly met as a team over Zoom during the various levels of lockdown while we try to maintain some momentum. Like everyone else, at the outset we thought it would only be a short hiatus, so did little, but as time went on we realised that we needed to make some effort to keep our local Guilds motivated.

Mailings have been sent out to draw Guilds' attention to national Guild news, with questions raised at National Council meetings, and we encouraged Guilds to keep in touch with their own members, particularly those who don’t have the benefit of an Internet connection. Thank goodness for the telephone!

It is our hope that our contacts were able to keep their local links alive. Only as we come back in person will we understand how successful this plea was. We started planning our syllabus at the beginning of 2021 in the hope that our deferred rallies from the previous year could go ahead. Speakers were also asked whether they would be happy to contribute over Zoom if needed, hoping that wouldn’t be the case.

Delightfully, our June rally, which should have taken place on Arran, went ahead and we were thrilled that so many members logged into Zoom, inviting neighbouring members to join them where possible. We were able to worship and sing together, listen to a splendid update from Andy Martin of Mission Aviation Fellowship, and finished with Iain Whyte’s Guild Blessing.
And can it be
Our hymn this week is 'And can it be'. It is one of those hymns we love to belt out in church and really raise the roof. Whilst many of us still can't do that in church yet, there is nothing stopping you really going for it from the comfort of your own home.

What a proclamation:  'Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou my God shouldst die for me.'

We hope that you enjoy this version.
Listen now
Monday memories
This week, we are in Falkirk Grahamston for our memory. So many Guilds signed the 'Feed the Minds' pledge when they were one of our Guild projects from 2015-18 and we continue to remember their work in prayer.
Pray this week
Monday: for General Secretary Iain Whyte as he enjoys some holiday time.
Tuesday: thinking especially of older people who have been victims of physical or mental abuse, asking for healing and restoration.
Wednesday: giving thanks for the work of Feed the Minds and asking God to bless their work.
Thursday: for Guilds beginning to plan their meetings for the new session, asking that planning will go smoothly and that they will receive help and encouragement from their local congregations.
Friday: remembering the Assembly Trustees and giving thanks for the work that they do on behalf of the wider Church.
Saturday: thinking especially of our project partners in Kanyama, Zambia, as the country battles to contain the Covid-19 virus. Praying for protection on all involved with the project.
Sunday: remembering all who are refugees, far from home and often fleeing war or famine. Pray that they will find a place of welcome and safety.
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