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Guild News - 29 March
The journey to Easter
Since returning from Zambia to visit the Journeying Together: Empowering Teenage Mothers Project last year, I have had the opportunity to share my experience with other Guild members. 

It has been a joy for me to share the journey, but I have also enjoyed sharing fellowship during these meetings. I have been able to listen to people at the beginning of the meeting, as they caught up with one another, asking how they were coping; asking about family members and daily life. Some Guilds have really gone “the extra mile” to enable all their members, including those who have no internet connection, to share fellowship by joining by telephone. Other Guilds have recorded meetings or added subtitles to make life easier for those who have difficulty with hearing, ensuring that the Guild has continued meeting during the last year in worship, prayer, action and fellowship.

We were made to be sociable. Jesus was sociable. He liked to be with people. He liked to walk with them and talk with them and share hospitality with them. At the beginning of His ministry, His first miracle was performed at a wedding. Fast forward and we find ourselves with Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The following day, Jesus cleared the temple, angrily overturning the tables of the money changers. That same evening, He shared a meal at the home of His friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. While Martha prepared and served the meal and Lazarus listened to Jesus, Mary came to anoint Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. All three showed their love for Jesus in different ways.

Which one of the three are we like? Are we like Martha who showed her love for Jesus in a practical way by using her hands to prepare and serve a meal for Him? Are we like Lazarus who was happy to listen to Jesus while sharing a meal? Are we like Mary who showed her love by taking the most precious thing she had and using it all for Jesus? An extravagance? Perhaps, but love never counts the cost; love gives all and regrets that there is not more to give. Are we like Martha or Mary or Lazarus? The reality is that there is probably a bit of each of them in us at different times in our lives.

We know the events of this week. We know how the story ends. It is like watching a slow-moving train crash. We know what is coming next but the story has to play out step by step, scene by scene. This week, we walk with Jesus because we love Him and because we know that this story is for us and our salvation. As we take time this Holy Week to reflect and walk the well-trod path with Christ, let us be open to being surprised at what we might learn and where it might lead us. 

Happy Easter, everyone.

Helen Eckford, National Vice Convener    
Meeting our Guilds
This week, our meet the Guild feature takes us to Lanarkshire and to New Monkland and Greengairs Guild. New Monkland and Greengairs are two villages just outside Airdrie.

When we spoke to them this week, secretary Sheila Watterson told us how they have been trying to keep in touch:

"[It's been] one year since we met together as a Guild and [it has been] a very different year for us all, reaching out for new ideas to keep in touch.

"As a Guild, we started off, in the spring of last year, keeping in touch by phone, then a few of our committee got together via Zoom and started thinking up ideas to keep in touch with our members.

"We started by making up a small card with a little message and putting inside a teabag, coffee sachet and biscuit.

"A few of us joined in with the National Afternoon Tea, in different gardens, shared in the online Annual Gathering, abiding by the restrictions. That was just so good; being able to actually meet up with even a few of our Guild friends over the summer.

"In October we started a ‘Zoom Guild’ meeting once a month, with many laughs as we tackled trying to show videos and music as part of our meeting, and our monthly meetings continue. I am glad to say that our skills have improved... a little!

"For Christmas, we knitted prayer squares to put inside our Christmas cards which all our members received together with a chocolate orange.

"One of our talented members made red roses for everyone for Valentine’s Day and we have just finished our Easter chickens to be given out with our Easter cards.

"We are now planning ahead and hope that, as soon as we are allowed, we will use the beautiful gardens at Greengairs to get together outside.

"It has certainly been a different year - sad for many, challenging for others - but great to see how the Guild has been able to change to serve our members."

It is great for us to hear how Guilds around the country are keeping in touch and have adapted to the new circumstances. 

Maybe your church has a garden, or there is a nice park where you could come together in smaller groups? Even 'together apart' - to just have that opportunity for fellowship that we have missed so much over the past year.
Lenten celebration well received
Judging by the feedback by email, on Facebook and on YouTube, our Project Lenten celebration has been very well received and has been a source of encouragement to many.

It is incredible to think that, even in these difficult times, the Guild has raised over £520,000 over the last three-year fundraising cycle for our project partners and the number keeps rising. You can keep supporting these projects up until September. You can do that in the usual way by sending in cheques or paying by BACS. You can also make an individual donation using our donate page.

You can also order our Guild masks which provide a donation to the projects.

Following requests from a number of Guilds, the Lenten celebration will now be available as a USB, for a donation of £6. This could be perfect for a meeting early in your Guild session when we are able to meet together again. You can order your USB stick using the red button below, with all profits going to the projects.
Order your USB stick
Holy Week reflections
Every day this week we will be offering a short reflection available on our Facebook page. It has been provided by a number of ministers who are friends of the Guild. We hope that they will challenge and inspire you this Holy Week as we look in anticipation to the hope and promise of the resurrection.
View now
Coronavirus Diaries from Zambia
This week we hear from Keith and Ida Waddell, Church of Scotland mission partners with the United Church of Zambia, on how the country is preparing for the vaccine and the third wave.
Read more
'Souper' success
Thank you to everyone who took part in our virtual St Valentine's Soup lunch for our projects. We are delighted that over £3,000 (plus Gift Aid) has come in and this will make an amazing difference to the projects and the wonderful work that they do.
Life and Work Lent reflections week 5: the New Dawn
This week the Very Rev Dr Derek Browning says that, even at times of trouble, Jesus offers the hope of the resurrection
Read more
Vaccine roll-out in Malawi
We have been delighted to hear that our friends in Malawi have begun to receive their vaccinations. This is Esther Lupafya, a great friend of the Church of Scotland, receiving her vaccination at Ekwendeni last week. Please continue to pray that our friends in Malawi and in Zambia will continue to receive enough vaccines and that the roll-out will go smoothly. 
Monday memories
This memory is of a theme guide planning day back in 2017. The 2021-22 theme guide, 'Lights and Bushels', will be with you in the next couple of weeks. It is jam-packed full of resources that can be used when our Guilds are able to meet together again.
The hope of Easter
Our hymn for this week is from Stuart Townend, which begins with the line 'See what a morning, gloriously bright, with the dawning of hope in Jerusalem.'

It is a very uplifting hymn and a great way to think about the week ahead.
Listen here
Pray this week
Monday: as we remember how Jesus went into the temple and challenged those who were taking advantage of others. Remember those who today are being exploited in communities and countries across the world.
Tuesday: for those who have been betrayed by people they trust, particularly those who have been sexually exploited. 
Wednesday: particularly for those who are on their own and who are missing family and friends.
Thursday: remembering the poignancy of that first communion, the supper shared amongst friends.  Pray that there will soon be opportunities for us to meet together and share communion with each other in person.
Friday: giving thanks for the willingness of Jesus to give His life for ours. Pray that God will renew our vision for our lives and for the Guild.
Saturday: as we remember Mary, grieving the loss of her son, we remember all who have lost someone over the past year. Pray that God will draw close to them and comfort them.
Sunday: giving thanks for the joy of this Easter morning, and asking for the Holy Spirit to refresh us in the days and weeks ahead.
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