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St Andrews
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Riverside
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West Kirk
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CCL 125049
Minister: Rev Ian Johnson

  • Thought for the day 4 June

    A month or so ago hopes were widely expressed about the New World there would be after Covid-19: greater concern for neighbours; greater respect for health and social care workers, those who worked in transport or retail; more walking, cycling, less use of cars; home working; greater interest in gardening, growing your own food, knitting, sewing, painting; re-evaluating our need constantly to buy new clothes, furnishings etc; a re-focussing of the economy on ‘local’ and ‘sustainable’. Then restrictions started to be eased. Only travel up to five miles was the Scottish Government advice, so people flocked in their cars to beauty spots. Mountains of litter were left behind in places like Balloch. Adult cyclists speed along pavements. Were we mistaken in our hopes and dreams? Has lockdown had a negative effect of making people (some people) more self-focussed? Do we just let the dreams fade away, or do we work hard at holding onto them, and trying to turn them into reality?

    Lord, help us to keep our vision of a cleaner, more caring, more just world, and to keep working for it

  • Thought for the day 3 June

    Much attention is given in the News at the moment to the unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd. Deep-seated prejudice and pent-up anger in a country deeply divided over its core values and so much more, has led to widespread protest and violence. On this side of the Atlantic we like to think that we don’t have the same attitudes to race and inequality, that we all share the same values. But do we? What do stories in the News here tell us?

    Lord, it is easy to see what we want to see, to have myths and legends about what we are like as a community or country. Sometimes we fail to recognise that the reality is rather different from the myth. Help us to be open and honest about our failings as individuals and as a community, and seek to address both

  • Thought for the day 2 June

    We hear politicians say, ‘We’re following the science’, but then hear other eminent scientists disagreeing with the approach government advisers have recommended. People then become confused, and some become sceptical about ‘scientific advice’. There is an old adage ‘What is a fact? Answer: a working hypothesis not yet capable of being disproved.’ That might be hard to get your head round, but it reflects the situation where ‘experts’ (in whatever field) are usually engaged in debate and discussion over experimental evidence or modelling, and adapting and changing their conclusions in the light of new evidence or consideration of other ‘experts’’ critique of their approach. It might have helped if politicians had presented ‘science’ not as some kind of objective truth that cannot be questioned, but rather as a ‘balance of probability in the light of current understanding’. That doesn’t make for easy sound-bites, it might be harder for people to understand, it might even imply that those taking the decisions might not be backed up by unquestionable advice, but it just might help people to understand that we don’t have all the answers. We are where we are, but maybe going forward we need to recognise that neither we, nor the governments, nor their advisers, know everything, but that the advice given is based on years of careful research and review.

    Lord, help us to appreciate that we do not know everything about how to suppress and eradicate Covid-19. Help us too to listen to those who have great knowledge and expertise, and follow their advice

  • Thought for the day 1 June

    It has long been said that a good law does not have to be just, simply clear and easily enforceable. It is a concept that readily applies to lockdown restrictions. Total lockdown may or may not be fair, but at least the rules/guidelines are clear and are easily enforceable. Once they start to be relaxed, with changes here and there, then it becomes harder to remember what is permissible and what isn’t (especially when people have been ‘confined’ for a long time, are becoming bored with being at home, and the weather is nice). It becomes a little more complex when there are different steps for easing restrictions across the four nations of Britain. At times the media don’t help public awareness of which rules/guidelines apply when they miss out the words ‘in England’, and imply that moves there apply across Britain as a whole. Whether we like the rules/guidelines that apply to us or not, let’s make sure we know what they are and try to stick to them, being examples to others (without setting ourselves up as judge and jury telling them what they should and shouldn’t be doing)

    Lord, help us to follow the guidelines as they apply to us

  • Thought for the day 30 May

    Sunny weather and permission to travel a bit further and meet more people will be welcomed by most folk. But there are still quite a number of people who cannot take advantage of either: if they are shielded, and don’t have a garden. Many are ‘weary’ of these weeks of lockdown – though they appreciate that it is for the good of their own health. Let’s remember them, and do what we can to support them through their continuing lockdown

    Lord, as many of us prepare to enjoy today’s good weather, and plan to go out (even to the garden) help us to remember those who cannot, and do what we can to support them

  • Thought for the day 29 May

    There’s a Wild Goose song that begins “O where are you going, and can I come with you?” It sounds like a good theme song for today, as Lockdown restrictions are slightly eased. The official answer would be something like “Not more than 5 miles away, and provided we are not from more than 2 households, not more than 8 in number, and remember to keep 2 metres apart”. But that doesn’t fit easily to the tune Laredo/ The Bard of Armagh! Some would like the restrictions eased quicker, some are wary of any easing, some will see no real difference because they are shielded, some are confused because the message relating to Scotland is often drowned out in the media with information relating to England. Let’s try to keep within the guidelines, always remembering that our over-riding concern is to avoid doing anything that risks infecting our family, friends, neighbours, or the wider community, or undermines the vital work key-workers are doing.

    Lord, thank you that we see a glimmer of hope in the slight easing of restrictions today. If we are able to take advantage of it, help us to do it sensibly and responsibly – and we ask that others would do the same


About the Church of Scotland in Dumbarton:

This is the joint website for Dumbarton: St Andrews, Dumbarton: Riverside and Dumbarton: West Kirk.
Due to the challenges of the Corona Virus COVID-19 and the need to do as much as possible online we are combining our efforts on this page to avoid duplication and to streamline our efforts around worship, Bible readings, prayer and wider community support.

Links to the three Church of Scotland parishes in Dumbarton are below: