All are welcome in this place
St John's Kirk of Perth
From Sunday 17 January 2021 the live streaming of the Sunday Service will commence at 10.00am
Thursday 31st of December 2020
Oh, what a year that was…..
My dear friends of St John’s and St Leonard’s in the Fields – and to all who join us in fellowship and worship occasionally or regularly, across the continents.
Greetings at the end of the year and at the beginning of a new year to you and all in your family circles.
May I begin by thanking my friend and fellow minister Alex for his superlative ministering to you all, particularly over these past two months as I recuperate. I am so grateful. It is very much my hope that at the end of January I may be able to resume Ministry once more, dependent of course upon medical advice.
It was on this day 76 years ago as 1944 moved into 1945 that, in the late hours of the Old Year and the early ones of the New Year, Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his Berlin prison cell wrote the poem “Powers of Good”. The first and last verses are:
With every power of good to stay and guide me,
Comforted and inspired beyond all fear,
I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me,
And pass with you into the coming year.
While all the powers of good aid and attend us,
Boldly we’ll face the future, come what may,
At even’ and at morn’ God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely, on each newborn day.
Those poignant words of a different era are, I believe, apt as 2021 stretches before us – with hope and promise, with healing and gratitude, with vaccine and new beginnings and, yes, with sad remembrance too: for these lines speak to us of God with us in times of pain and joy and for what life in all its diversity, complexity and beauty will always mean.
As the New Year begins I send you my very best wishes and commend you to God’s eternal embrace: for God will indeed go before us and lead us into new avenues of peace, of understanding, of hope, love and faith as we are reconciled one to another and walk into the year of grace 2021 – holding the hand of One who was born, died and rose again that we might have eternal life.
Go with God and entrust all you are and all you love to His mighty powers of good.
With every best wish
My Dear Friends,
Through the dark, demoralising and anxious days of 2020 I have written a series of Pastoral Letters holding out a positive word of hope and encouragement, urging us to look to the future with faith. Yet we found ourselves at Christmas facing a second wave, under more severe lockdown, and seemingly back to where we had started. We are wearied of it all!
There is, however, a clear light in the darkness promising that 2021 will be a new and better year. Already the Pfizer-BioNTech jab is being administered to our most vulnerable citizens. Today, as I write this letter to you, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by the Regulatory Agency. This has been described as “a game-changer” and as “a significant moment.” The government is now pledged to roll out an ever increasing programme of vaccination. This is a cause for great rejoicing.
And yet, so poisoned have our politics become; so cynical and untrusting are we of each other – that we read with alarm that a significant percentage of Scots are hesitant to accept a vaccine. My friends, having prayed so long for deliverance, don’t let scare stories or conspiracy theories tempt us to shun the answer to our fervent prayers.
In the Second Book of Kings, at chapter 5 and verses 7, 13 & 14 – we read the story of Naaman, the Syrian general who suffered from leprosy. The King of Syria sent Naaman to the King of Israel asking for a cure. “When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and exclaimed: How can the king of Syria expect me to cure this man? Does he think I am God, with the power of life and death? It’s plain that he’s trying to start a quarrel with me.”
The prophet Elisha, however, told Naaman exactly what he needed to do in order to be cured. But Naaman was too proud and suspicious. Surely there must be a better way – a different way? It was his servant who advised him: “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Now why can’t you just wash yourself, as he said, and be cured?” And we read: “So Naaman went down to the Jordan, as Elisha had instructed, and he was completely cured.”
My Friends, let us move on into the future in faith and hope and confidence.
Liz joins me in sending our love to you all, together with our very best wishes for the coming year.
Due to Perth and Kinross going into level 4 Covid 19 restrictions the Kirk will close
after the Christmas Day worship until we are back to Level 3.
Services will be live streamed during these times.
Reverend John Murdoch
As Minister I want to invite you as you read these lines to come inside this very special Church and meet the Congregation of a Kirk which has immense significance historically and nationally. It is a Kirk at the heart of Perth, with a community of faith which offers Worship on Sunday mornings at 9:30am or on Wednesday afternoons at 1pm.
Here we worship and serve God within ancient walls which tell of God’s grace and care over centuries and also within the Parish and community surrounding this sacred and holy place of pilgrimage, peace and prayer. Many visit St John’s every day and last year over 10,000 people entered the Kirk from almost every part of the world. I invite you to be part of our Kirk life where I hope you will find an oasis for Christian nurture, friendship and worship in our midst.
St John’s is an ancient and sacred space which allows you to be still, to sing, to pray and to commune with God as His Living Word in Jesus Christ is proclaimed by Grace.
Please, do come and join us as we do our best to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
"Let no-one be a stranger within these walls"
We invite into these ancient walls all who search for God and who seek the transforming love of Jesus Christ in Sacraments, in Scripture and in fellowship – with silence, prayer and music to uplift.