From the Manse

Dear friends 

YEAR OF YOUNG PEOPLE 2018

The gospels report the occasion when the disciples argued about who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and
which of them would have the honour of sitting at Jesus’ right and left hand.

Jesus’ response was quite remarkable.

Jesus said that if anyone wanted to be great then they should be the servant of the rest. And taking a child he told the disciples that unless they changed, humbled themselves and became like children, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Speaking at a time when men were dominant, women counted for little and children for even less, the nature of
Jesus’ response is little short of revolutionary. As on so many other occasions, Jesus took the cultural norms and religious standards of his day, turned them upside down, and gave disciples then and now a glimpse of the difference between God’s ways and ours.

Today as the challenge to create equal opportunities in education, employment, payment and basic human rights
for women and men continues, so too does the challenge to create a safe and healthy environment for our children and young people. Social media brings many advantages but it also poses many dangers for children and young people and it is disturbing to hear how often youngsters are hurt and exploited on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. 

Because of the value it places on children and young people, their faith and their contribution to the life and work of the church, the Church of Scotland decided to support the Scottish Government’s initiative to promote 2018 as the Year of Young People. The Mission and Discipleship Council produced a very helpful toolkit and, along with several hundred other congregations, Cramond Kirk has chosen to participate in the initiative.

The Moderator of the General Assembly, Derek Browning, has described the Year of Young People 2018 as an amazing opportunity and has encouraged congregations to seize the moment God has given for our generation’.
Meanwhile Robin Downie, the Moderator of the National Youth Assembly, says ‘I have a dream for a Church that makes the most of its young people, challenges and inspires its youth, and recognises the value of young people within the body of Christ’. 

Beginning at Morning Worship on 28 January 2018 when the service was prepared and led by many of our young
people, during the coming year we are planning a number of services, events and activities aimed at celebrating the
place of children and young people in our church and community. 

In my role as chaplain at Cramond Primary and Cargilfield Schools, I will also be exploring the theme during school assemblies and church services.

Will you help too?

Everyone who attended the January service was invited to sign the Charter for Children and Young People in Cramond Kirk:

We promise to
Get to know you
Listen to you
Share faith with you
Pray with and for you
Involve you
Help keep you safe
Help develop your gifts
Enable you to grow in your relationship with God

The charter sends a clear message to everyone in our church that children and young people are important and valued as part of Cramond Kirk’s church family.

Will you help keep these promises so that whatever your age, whether you are young or simply young at heart, we
can welcome and encourage one another and grow together in faith, hope and love?

With best wishes,

Russell Barr


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