THE BEGINNING of December saw the Gardner Memorial Church embarking on the start of a particularly active and enjoyable month.
On Saturday, December 8, there was the annual Christmas bake sale and coffee morning. The sale coincided with the Christmas in the City event, so the church was in the happy position of being able to offer hospitality to the town.
From coffee and mince pies in the morning, through to a plate of soup at lunchtime and hot chocolate prior to the carol singing in the square and the switching on of the Christmas lights, there was always something happening and the church choir was to be heard singing carols about the town.
The church had been decorated for Christmas and was open all that day for folk to pop in and see how the fine proportions of the building were enhanced by the handsome floral arrangements.
There was a change from the traditional red and green of the flowers and foliage to the red and white of Brechin City FC when the minister, the Rev. Jane Blackley, led the Sunday School in their football nativity service on Sunday, December 16.
As football generates great excitement anyway, it was not surprising that this unique service generated considerable enthusiasm. The youngsters participated vigorously and even the staid folk in the pews were gingered up.
The Christmas message took on new relevance as the minister pointed out the many relevant parallels between Brechin City and Bethlehem City. Joyous as the morning was, hearts and minds turned to the recent school massacre in Connecticut.
The closing voluntary, the poignant ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, brought home the points that even if there is fun, the need for fortitude is never far away.
There was congregational involvement of a more traditional sort on Sunday, December 23, with a service of lessons and carols, while on Christmas Eve, there was a large turnout for the family service which precedes their Rotary Carol Service in the square. This service featured light in various forms.
There were the Advent candles, tea-lights among the flowers on the window sills, Christmas tree lights and the glow-sticks which were handed out to the children. There was also the Christmas Star which brought the service to a triumphant conclusion with a procession of children, each carrying their own cut-out star and following a large shining star, held aloft on a pole.
The congregation came together, once more, on Christmas morning to greet each other and to join in worship.
The December activity was the prelude to action planned for 2013.
A small committee has been considering plans for the church building with the intention at making a building erected in the early nineteen hundreds suitable for the needs of the 21st century.
Ideas have moved from being simply ideas to being visualisations which will shortly be unveiled and up for considerations.
In the meanwhile, the minister and the congregation continue to make every effort to make the church a warm and welcoming place.
For the youngsters, there is Sunday’s Cool which meets every Sunday in term time. Children over the age of four gather at 10.45 a.m. for a session of craft, stories and fun. There is a crèche as well for babies and toddlers.
Something brand new is planned for the church calendar with Toddlers’ Time. This is a fortnightly get-together for mums, grannies or carers of the littlest ones.
For an hour on Wednesday mornings, there will be a session in the church hall, with activity for the children and socialising for the grown-ups. The first meeting is fixed for Wednesday, January 30 at 10 a.m.
The church office is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. To contact the office via telephone, call 01356 622034.