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Dalserf Church Update (Additional articles), September 2020

Many of the Newsletter readers are old enough to have some experience of the second world war and more probably its aftermath.
However I doubt if many can recall such times as this nation has experienced since mid March, when the Coronavirus struck with such intensity that church services up and down the country were cancelled and churches closed.

Each of you will have fought this new war in your own personal way. I hope you will be able to look back and be satisfied , when others were giving of their best, indeed their very lives, that you played a full part in waging war against the unseen enemy, and were able to go that extra mile, and extend a helping hand to others less fortunate than yourselves.

History has demonstrated, time and time again, that at times of crisis, whether, international, national, or merely in your own back yard, someone steps forward to lead and inspire others.

There is a well known cliché that says” Cometh the hour, cometh the man”. A phrase largely attributed to John’s Gospel Chapt 4. verse 23.

This congregation has witnessed such a man. A man who stood in the Dalserf pulpit and declared that come what may the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would be proclaimed within the wall of that historic building.
Despite experiencing the ravages of the infection himself, and surviving, John, our locum, on his recovery, has fulfilled that pledge to the full. This congregation owes a sincere debt of gratitude to John for preparing a service each week of such quality and depth of inspiration. I am sure we all have been deeply blessed by those broadcasts, and at times of depression and self pity, were lifted up to face the lockdown, and do what we could to relieve the pain of others.

To John, on behalf of the congregation may I humbly express our thanks and appreciation for what you have done.

We are also greatly appreciative of all those who helped so unstintingly in the production of the broadcasts, and those who weekly have contributed to its content.

Bruce Archibald

When I remember the positives of Covid 19 ,the negatives melt into insignificance.

Never will I forget the magnificent spring which made all the restrictions easier to bear. The beautiful weather encouraged an outdoor life and travelling restrictions allowed us to further explore walks in neighbourhood.

We talked more to neighbours and strangers from a distance and it was exciting to follow routes some would recommend such as visiting the alpacas which turned out to be close neighbours What superior looking “smug” creatures they are!!

We noticed leaves open out fresh and green after their winter sleep and flowers bud. We were thrilled to see new born lambs wabbling as they took their first steps and watched intrigued as farmers tilled the soil and sowed crops.

The scent of banks of bluebells could be detected from a distance and later in the year those same banks were a mass of majestic foxgloves . Myriads of multicoloured wild flowers carpeted our local countryside whose seeds we have now collected for our own wild flower patch. The summer rains arrived and we watched the crops growing and their seed heads swelling. Burns and rivers filled again as the now succulent grass satisfied livestock. Too soon we realised that lambs were now as big as ‘mum’ and the cereal crops stood tall and golden swaying in the breeze.

God’s creation is full of wonder, organised and all under His control. Every season is different so that our eyes never become bored He’s thought of everything, it’s for everyone to enjoy ,it comes free and with His love.


Sheena Archibald.

The MAD Ministry

I am pleased to report that the MAD Ministry has started their regular assembly Bible lessons for Netherburn and Dalserf primary Schools.

Like our locum, Brian Lowrie and his two assistants, Jenny and Danielle, have embraced the digital world and are now in the position to stream their programmes direct to the schools.

This has the benefit of the schools being able to see the programmes in small individual classes, without a general assembly for all the pupils. This greatly helps the staff maintain social distancing, and the programmes can be watched at times most suitable for the schools.

It also has the added advantage that ALL the children see the programmes, not just those who used to stay behind for the Kids Klub. The Christian message is thus reaching a far wider audience than formarly.

The first broadcast took place at the beginning of September and the general feedback is very positive.

Please continue to support the MAD Ministry financially. If any one wishes donation envelopes please contact myself. A couple of pounds a week would make a big difference.

Bruce Archibald

Dalserf Church Guild News, September 2020

Dear friends,
It is six months since we last met and enjoyed fellowship together.
It was our AGM. Sadly the Closing Social had to be cancelled and our Annual Outing never took place. I certainly, as I am sure so did you, miss our day out. We were looking forward to our morning coffee, sail on Loch Lomond and a lovely high tea.

Where has the summer gone? In Lockdown and the evolving restriction brought on by Covid 19 we have watched spring and summer come and go. Two garden seasons and now the leaves are turning again and the gardens are enjoying the last of the summer blooms. The nights have stretched out and now they are closing in.

No Saturday Teas. We may not have had to spend time baking but oh how the fellowship has been missed. I have received several phone calls asking if we would manage any teas this year. Sadly not. It is doubtful if we will manage our Christmas Fayre.

BUT even though the church building may be closed the church is very much alive. As our minister said in his June News Letter “God is still on the throne and He will remember His own”.

I hope we can still be a Guild and though we cannot physically meet be here for each other – a phone call, an e mail, in prayer. Those who have the technology can unite in worship in the online services our Minister John Stevenson and his son in law are making available to us. This can be found on U Tube or at www.woship at Dalserf or alternatively on the Church Web Site at The Service can also be accessed by Googling “Daslerf Church”

Those who have been able to watch will have seen John Re Dedicate the Guild on September 13th Service. It was good to hear the encouragement we received from John for the continued work of the Guild
There is also a News sheet going on the web site for September and hopefully a full online Newsletter in October.


All members have agreed to renew their membership. This will be £12.00. Lily will send the Capitation to National Guild in December. If you have savings with her from last session she will take you £12.00 from that. If not you can contact myself or Lily regarding payment


After several calls to Guild members we have been able to set up small “phone groups”. Hopefully this will keep us in touch. The calls from some may overlap but this is not an issue and may be looked on as a bonus. It may not be the real thing but on a long day it is good to make and receive a phone call.


Sadly we cannot meet up in Dalserf for Harvest thanksgiving but the work of the Food bank still goes on and at present is even more important than before.

God still charges us to help others even in our own time of need. We would have celebrated Harvest Thanksgiving in Dalserf Church on Sunday 4th October. However thanks will still be given to God for the Harvest and in light of this Joan Pollok and I will be in Dalserf Car Park on Friday 2nd October from 12noon till 2.00pm to receive non-perishable items for the Nethan Valley Foodbank. I have been in touch with the food bank and they will be delighted to receive our gifts. They are especially looking for winter warmers such as packet soup, packet past etc. If bringing items to the Church car park is a problem please contact me and I will try to make alternative arrangements.

Please put your harvest gifts in a bag and place them in the boot of our car. In recognition of both you and our safety if possible can you also wear a face covering. Joan and I will arrange to take the gifts to the foodbank immediately afterwards.


I have been in touch with Blytheswood Care and they will be going ahead with the Shoe Box Appeal. If you are concerned about the risk of passing on the virus the boxes will be put into quarantine for 72 hours. I will put the instructions and suggestions from Blytheswood at the end of this News Letter. We do not have a date for pick up yet but will let you know the final arrangements when this is available.
Nancy Rundell has a selection f hats and scarves she has knot during Covid restrictions. Anyone wishing a set can get it from Nancy. She also has a selectin of toiletries she can distribute for inclusion in shoe boxes.


The National Guild Annual Gathering took place by video on Saturday 5th September.
It was available on the Church of Scotland Web Site. During the presentation the retiring National Convenor gave her report as did other members of the National Executive. The Rev Martin Fare, Moderator of the General Assembly, spoke and the new Convenor was invested.

Our new Convenor, Mabel Wallace, announced her Convenor Challenge for 2020-21.

She is looking for a photograph of a tree or trees or a rainbow or better still tree and a rainbow. Why not have a go. Should you wish more details I will find these for you.
This made me think perhaps we could have a challenge of our own. A photograph taken during the Pandemic of a humorous moment or a loving moment. I’m sure we have all got them and it would be good to share.


During my phone calls I told you about Janet’s Advent Jars and all were interested. Please let me know how many you would like and we will organise collection and delivery from Janet. I don’t have a costing yet but the money raised will go to the Church.


I would like to produce a News sheet each month till Christmas but this can only happen if I have something to write about. So why not send me a bit of Good News for our Good News Box, share a recipe, a thought for the day, a favourite text or poem. An idea to fill the time, a good book to read.

We hope to think about a quiz and other challenges while we cannot meet.

2020-21 THEME


Matthew Chapter 5:41 says “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”

It goes on to say “give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

The Extra Mile, sharing with others the good gifts we are privileged to have been given …

  • Befriend someone
  • Help the homeless
  • Feed the hungry
  • Speak out where you see injustice

These are examples given in the National Them Pack. You will probably have your own ideas of “the extra mile” As the Pack says “Jesus wants us to be giving, loving, forgiving gentle, going the extra mile.

Jesus says “whatever you do for the least of these you do for me”

I have not read through the pack yet but as I do I hope to share more of it with you.


Please pray for Linda’s husband David who is in hospital.

In closing this epistle I hope we can make a success of this new venture- A Monthly News Letter. I can only produce something if you help me.

Meantime please find at the end a word search based on the Reading John used prior to rededicating the Guild last Sunday

1 John 4:19-20 We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

Whose we are and whom we serve

As we would usually finish before enjoying a we cuppa and one of Anne’s pancakes can we say the grace together

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
The Love of God and
The fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all

Matthew 5:38-48


38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[a] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[b] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Dalserf Church Update, September 2020


Dalserf Parish Church building may have been closed since the close of the Sunday Service on 15th March but the Church is not closed. Church is the people not the building.

As our Minister John wrote in the June Newsletter, “God is still at work. He has promised never to leave us or forget us.”

Thanks to Rev Stevenson we can meet together in spirit every Sunday as he, with the help of his son-in-law Ewan, bring worship to us in our homes. We can sing God’s praises, unite our hearts in prayer, listen to God’s word brought to us each week by John and a member of the congregation, be uplifted, inspired and comforted by the thought provoking ministry of John’s Sermons. May God bless him in his dedication to Christ and his loyalty to his congregation which grows weekly as the service is now watched from airts and pairts around the world.

You may wonder about the flowers which enhance the Sanctuary week by week. These are faithfully gifted weekly by a member of the Congregation, and delivered to members and friends of the church and in the community.

So the building may be closed for public worship but thanks to dedication and modern technology we can meet in fellowship in the knowledge that..

God is still on the throne
And he will remember his own
Though trials oppress us and burdens distress us
He never will leave us alone.
God is still on the throne

The work of Dalserf Church and the wider world Church still goes on even in this Pandemic and we ask God’s blessing on all who help with this. Should you wish to contribute to the work of Dalserf Church you can do so through then link below.

This contribution to the web site is headed DALSERF CHURCH UPDATE and although we haven’t had a newsletter since June we hopefully will have a publication of our Newsletter in October. In the mean time we want to share a few things with you.

Good News Items

Congratulations to Joan and Andy Pollok on the birth of their Grandson James Thomas Alexander. The happy parents Louise and Greg have given permission to share a photo of James with you.

James Thomas Alexander

Congratulations also to …
Katie Watt who graduated in the summer with a First Class Honours Degree in Immunology. Well done Katie.

Lewis Scotland, on excellent results in his Higher Exams. Now enjoy 6th Year and continued success.

Prayer List

The need for prayer never goes away but we would ask special prayers for

John Wilson
Andrew and Prim Gilmour
Stuart Eathorne
Lorraine Docherty
Young Ian
And both Mary Grove’s
Jessie Anderson
The elderly and housebound in our Parish and those joining us on a Sunday as they experience difficult times, bereavement and health issues.

1st Dalserf Girls Brigade

Well, here we are 6 months since we all entered the strange world of Covid-19. I hope you and your family are all safe and well.

We were sad we had to miss out on exciting things like our last few weeks at Girls Brigade, our awards presentation evening, camp and Duke of Edinburgh expedition work, however we just had to do what we could to keep everybody safe.

While our normal company year should have started on the 24th of August, it came as no surprise we were unable to meet. Apart from church buildings being closed, we are guided by the Girls’ Brigade Scotland National Executive who will decide when we are allowed to restart companies following their route-map with key dates.

Guidance was, companies could resume from 17th August 2020 on a virtual basis using the “On-Line with Gracie” programmes being developed. The route map would be reviewed on 18th September and then 16th October. If it is deemed unsafe to restart by the October review date, then Companies will continue to meet virtually until January 2021.

Following this announcement, we held a leaders Zoom meeting to plan how we at 1st Dalserf would progress.

As we were unsure how on-line GB would be received, I sent all girls a letter with a Gracie Bee face covering made for us by my very clever friend and a letter for all parents and guardians asking that they give consent for their daughter to meet via Zoom.

Bespoke Gracie Bee face coverings

Unfortunately, there was very low engagement from my letter to parents (5 girls). We thought that maybe there has been “online” overload with school etc. so we would not go down the ‘At home with Gracie’ route. We do not however want to lose contact with the girls so would try what we could through our closed Facebook group. Our plan was we would allow the girls time to settle in at school so no GB online activity until after the October holiday. Following this we would try to engage the families through Facebook or WhatsApp and plan a Christmas focus and are considering activities we may be able to do. Some thoughts are a brigaders bake in, Christmas craft etc. where we deliver packs to girls and do it together on Zoom. We agreed this would not be every Monday and maybe even once a month might do but we can see what the situation is later in the year.

Before we can begin to think about meeting face to face we have a very large risk assessment to complete in conjunction with the church so have emailed the Kirk session to keep them informed. Some of the considerations we need to look at are hand sanitiser stations being in place, cleaning schedules and how to mitigate against potential bottle necks e.g. parents would not be allowed to wait inside the building to collect girls.

Following the additional local and national measures to curb the virus my feeling is we will not be meeting face to face until potentially this time next year but we will just need to wait and see. In the meantime, I am delighted to share the following good news.

While we have been in lockdown our girls undertaking Duke of Edinburgh award have been continuing to work on this. A few interesting changes had to take place – Karyn and Ellie had 1 month of volunteering still to complete and as the Machan Trust where they were already volunteering were not meeting they were able to develop and support their mum’s to complete a keep fit routine over the month of June. Morven had 6 months of volunteering to carry out and for this has been phoning several of the elderly members of her church congregation on a weekly basis to help reduce the isolation and loneliness. These are definitely different ways to engage in the award given the extreme situation we are faced with. Well done girls, I am sure your mum’s and your church congregation are delighted to receive this service.

Congratulations to Jodie Brisbane and Katie Watt who have achieved their silver Duke of Edinburgh award and although not presented as yet they have been delivered and pictures taken. Jodie has now registered for Gold, we wish her well with this hard work and congratulate her in the 5 A’s achieved in her exams this year. Katie has achieved 1st Class Honours in her degree and entered the world of work – well done Katie we are all very proud of you.

Jodie Brisbane

For the past 3 years Lana Nimmo had been studying part time as well as working. Lana achieved a degree in Childhood Studies and is now a full time student at Strathclyde University doing a Post Graduate in Primary Teaching – good luck with your new course Lana, all your hard work has been worth it.
In closing can I ask you to continue to pray for all our girls, leaders and their families at this time and that you all take care, wash your hands, wear your face covering and look after yourself.

God bless.

Ann Price


We may not be able to unite in thanks within the building of Dalserf but the work of the food bank still goes on and is probably in greater need during the present crisis.

Joan and I will be in the carpark at Dalserf on Friday 2nd October from 12noon till 2.00pm to receive gifts for the foodbank in recognition of our Harvest Thanksgiving on Sunday 4th October.

The food bank has asked especially for soup packet mix and winter warmers that can be easily prepared such as packets pasta mix. Please put your donation in a bag and as you deliver it we would ask you wear a face covering for all our protection. We will then deliver tot the food bank as arranged.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

Shoe Boxes

Once again we propose to collect shoe boxes for the Blytheswood Appeal 2020. This year more than ever they need our help. The details of this will be included in the proposed October Newsletter. In the meantime if you do not have a shoe box Blytheswood have suggested a cloth drawstring bag such a school sports bag which can generally be found in department stores at a low cost. The list of suggested items are listed at the end of this news sheet.

Flower List

20th Mrs Elizabeth King
27th Mrs Margaret Weir

4th Mrs Hazel Blair
11th Mrs Ann Carson
18th Mrs Isobel McLean
25th Mrs Janet Tennant

Letters from Sunday Morning Worshippers

I so enjoy the Dalserf video’s during lockdown when our churches are closed. The Rev John Stevenson’s sermons are uplifting during this difficult time and I look forward to them. The photos and videos especially of the church grounds are beautiful. The stream tumbling over the rocks, the sheep in the snow all wonderful. Also enjoying the music and singing. Thank you.
Sheila Laurence Stirling

Thank you so much from Canada for the Sunday Services on U Tube. We enjoy them very much.
Morag Campbell and Norma

Many of the Newsletter readers are old enough to have some experience of the Second World War and more probably its aftermath.
However I doubt if many can recall such times as this nation has experienced since mid-March, when the Coronavirus struck with such intensity that church services up and down the country were cancelled and churches closed.
Each of you will have fought this new war in your own personal way. I hope you will be able to look back and be satisfied, when others were giving of their best, indeed their very lives, that you played, and did what we could to relieve the pain of others.

To John, on behalf of the congregation may I humbly express our thanks and appreciation for what you have done.
We are also greatly appreciative of all those who helped so unstintingly in the production of the broadcasts, and those who weekly have contributed to its content.
Bruce Archibald Dalserf Church Treasurer


It is now 6 Calendar months since the Guild last met. We managed our AGM but had to cancel our Closing Social and Annual Outing…. 6 months since we have been able to enjoy communal fellowship….. 6 months since I and many of our Guild members will have experienced that last had a hug.

We cannot all watch the Sunday Service as not everyone has the appropriate technology. Ann has cancelled all our speakers for 2020. For those who could watch on Sunday it was good to feel at one with each other as Our Guild was rededicated during the Service. Thank you John for this as it brings us closer together. So it is time to try to support each other in any way we can during the present restrictions.

We have formed ourselves into small telephone groups with that the hope these will all overlap and we can keep in touch one way or another. It is hoped to at least have a monthly newssheet which can be e mailed out or posted to those without computers.

However to do this it will need contributions from the members. If you have some good news you can send to the Good News Box, a special anniversary, a recipe you want to share (or piece of craft/activity). Maybe a “Thought for the day”, a text or poem that means a lot to you, a good book you can recommend, a TV programme not to be missed.

The National Guild Convenor Challenge this year is a photograph of a tree or trees or a rainbow. Even better still a photo of trees and a rainbow. Why not have a go. Anyone interested can ask me for further details.
What about a challenge of our own. A photo taken during the Pandemic. Two categories come to mind. Humour and love.
From earlier in this sheet please note the Harvest and Shoe box information. Again contact me if you have any questions.

All ladies have agreed to renew their Guild membership though we cannot meet in person. Anyone wishing to join us will be more than welcome. The membership fee for 2020 is £12.00.

We have lost out on much of our fund raising which will have great consequences for the charities and agencies we contribute to. Not to mention our support of Dalserf Church. Please give some thought to this.

The Guild theme at present is One Journey Many Roads. “2020-21 is “Go the extra mile. Never has it been so important. Remember whose we are and whom we serve…As John read at the re-dedication of the Guild on Sunday Service from Matthew chapter 5 verses 38-48……Especially at verse 41
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two.

Kay Blair (Guild President)

Anyone who wishes to add any news or comments to the church site please forward it to either Joan or myself.
Kay Blair (Deputy Session Clerk)

Shoe Box Appeal 2020

Despite the difficulties that they face every day, through poverty, illness, disability, or other disadvantages, receiving a shoebox brings such joy to children and adults in Eastern Europe, that their faces light up with huge smiles.

You can make such a difference to lives that are otherwise almost hopeless.

If you are having a problem sourcing an empty shoebox this year then please use a drawstring bag (no plastic ones please) instead. Maximum size 500mm x 300mm. These are available in a number of shops, especially sports shops.
The schedule for collections and drop off points for filled shoeboxes will be published shortly. In the meantime we hope you will begin gathering items and can fill a box or a bag.


The Family Shoeboxes of gifts are given to families who often have to make a choice between buying food or fuel at Christmas time – buying presents is just not a priority. Many of these families do not have running water, heating or electricity. Some live in appalling conditions, often living in just one or two rooms, and life for them is a real struggle to survive.

A shoebox for a family means that everyone receives a gift. A scarf for the mum, a tape measure for the dad, toys and games for the children as well as stationery and coloured pens. Also toiletries, toothpaste, shampoo and soap to keep everyone clean and free from the germs that make them ill. And of course sweets and chocolates for everyone – a family favourite.


Due to the number of elderly people that are now being left alone due to their families leaving to work away, we have launched the Elderly Shoebox Appeal. The boxes are similar however the children’s games and education materials are replaced with a wind up torch, sensory items, candle and holder etc.

Boxes get sent to Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine.
We are small enough that we have a personal relationship with all the key contacts in Eastern Europe who distribute your Shoeboxes and we do spot checks to ensure that your boxes are received by the correct people.
We are a Christian charity who believe in distributing love to those in need regardless of background, colour, creed or religion.