Gift-wrapped … opened … and shared
I took this photo in St Andrew’s Church last Sunday (8th March) when we were celebrating Fair Trade Fortnight because I thought it was such an attractive display. But it wasn’t unusual, in that one of the members always has a display on this table in what are known as the cloisters, which link the sanctuary with the halls. If for instance there is to be a baptism, the arrangement of flowers reflects that.
I always look forward to seeing what’s there and never fail to admire not only what’s in front of my eyes but the talent and imagination that lie behind the visual. To do these displays takes a special gift, and to do them week by week requires commitment. This is a ministry.
It got me to thinking about the many other gifts which are so routinely offered in the service of the Church, especially as it’s easy to take the givers for granted. So I decided to go through both congregations’ current magazines with a view to identifying the broad range of gifts shared. Here’s a summary.
Long memories: a lovely tribute to the man who donated the CH4s to the congregation, whom not everyone today will have met.
Savers of coppers: the Seekers collected £241 at the last count, which they have gifted to the Hot Chocolate Trust (a youth work organisation at The Steeple, another city centre church) and Cruse Bereavement Care (where one of our elders is a counsellor).
Poetry: a regular contribution, on this occasion about “a species of plankton” entitled “Kingdom Beneath The Sea”. A wonderful journey of the imagination.
Soup makers: for those who turned up at Valentines Smiles (mainly for a free toothbrush and toothpaste, but also for refreshments and conversation). This collaboration with the Toothy Tigers, students at the University of Dundee School of Dentistry, is a joint initiative of the two congregations.
Archivists/keepers of records: “Miss Elizabeth H. Ormand’s obituary recorded her life of service to the Primary Sunday School, Girls’ Guildry and the Woman’s Guild …” (1950)
Recyclers: used ink cartridges, milk bottle tops, crisp packets, clothes and household items no longer needed. All find new homes/purposes, and all have to be collected and delivered somewhere.
Children’s and Youth leaders: on Sundays and in the uniformed organisations which meet during the week. Who knows what impact these dedicated adults will have on the lives of the young people in their care?
Outward looking folk: physical challenges being undertaken to raise money not for the Church but for other charities dear to their heart (Scottish Charity Air Ambulance and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust).
This list is not exhaustive!