Election Hustings 2021

Join Scottish peace groups to ask your Holyrood candidates where they stand on issues of peace and real security.

Let’s mark the Global Days of Action on Military Spending by holding our candidates to account and ensure that any vote for them will support a more peaceful Scotland.

Invitations for this event have been sent to all major political parties standing for election in Scotland this May. 

Want your candidate to attend? Email: campaigns@banthebomb.org for a template to send your candidates and ask them to take part!

This husting has been organised by: Campaign Against Arms Trade, Pax Christi Scotland, Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace & Justice (Scotland) and Trident Ploughshares.

The Peace Manifesto sets out key war and peace issues and calls for nuclear disarmament, an end to Scottish government support for arms dealers, and and retraining workers from military industries for jobs that address the climate and ecological emergencies.

Help spread the word about the #PeaceManifesto by sharing it on social media. You’ll find it on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Please write to your candidates and urge them to support the Manifesto for Peace, together we can build a Scotland that will be known for its contribution to peace and justice rather than for waging war.

Easter 2021 – update

(a)  our Convener Graham thanks everyone for all the prayers and good wishes while he was off;  he is making a good recovery, still has one minor op on his eye to come, so prayers will continue to be appreciated!

(b)  Congratulations to Salvation Army Officers Kathryn and Andrew Howe  on the birth of their daughter (Lily) on Sunday past;  this is their first child, and all are doing well

(d)  The Bield  will re-open on 11th May, and looks forward to welcoming visitors.  Marianne also announces:

The Retreat Association has been given a beautiful icon of   Jesus’ encounter with the woman at The Well and it is touring different retreat centres. For this month we are hosting the icon at the Bield and offering some half-hour services around the icon. The remaining ones are on  Saturday 17th April at 11am and Wednesday at 21st April 11am. To keep up with Covid precautions, we need to know numbers and names, so if folk are interested in coming along to one of the services, please write to Muriel on  info@bieldatblackruthven.org.uk.   You are welcome to walk in the walled garden and grounds in conjunction with the service.

(e)  The Baptist Church are eagerly awaiting the arrival of thier new minister Rev Eder Ferraz Goncalves, who is originally from Brazil, and has been for the last few years at South Leith Baptist Church.

(f)  The Shawl Ministry has distributed a fair number of  shawls during lockdown, and have received a number of letters expressing appreciation of this thoughtfulness.  For further info about the Shawl Ministry contact either Moira Laing or Mary Wright.

(g)  St Ninian’s Cathedral, like many other of our member churches, is again open for Sunday worship – they are also open for private prayer, generally from 9.30 – 12.30 Monday to Thursday.

(h)  Stella from the Society of Friends urged us all to be aware of the many resources available on line for use by churches and religious groups in the run up to COP21.    I will also forward an e-mail re Hustings which Stella has asked me to send round all PACT churches.

In addition to the above, we heard that almost all of our churches  have re-opened for public worship;  many are also using streaming technology, newsletters and other ways of keeping in touch with congregations.  The challenges of the restrictions (having to book beforehand, the ban on car-sharing, etc) were balanced against some of the advantages of the new technology which many churches have embraced (reaching a wider audience.)  But we acknowledged that all churches  will be re-evaluating how we do things as we move out of lockdown, looking to hold on to what has worked well, and developing  new ways of doing mission.

Women's Voices

Women’s Voices in Climate Action

To mark International Women’s Day we are hosting an event for women of all faiths and beliefs with keynote speakers Zarina Ahmad, Climate Change Communicator and Fiona Buchanan, Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator at Christian Aid. The event will take place on Zoom on Wednesday 10th March from 10am – 11.15am. To sign up please fill in the Google form at https://tinyurl.com/mrmjn7av

Please feel free to circulate the posters to women that you think might be interested in attending. Both PDF and jpeg versions are attached.

International Café on Zoom

International Café restarts

After almost a year, and no clear idea of when we can resume meeting face to face, the organising group for the International Cafe have decided to experiment with taking the cafe online.

We would like to invite you to join us via Zoom on: 
Monday March 8th, from 7- 8pm.  Bring your own refreshments.


This will, of course, be a different experience but we hope to organise it so that small groups can chat together for some of the time.


If you think you might be interested in joining please let me know by email and I will ensure that you receive the Zoom link.

Amanda Brown

January – news in brief

(a)  The recipe book produced by Scone and St Martin’s Church has gone into a reprint, and there are always new recipes appearing on their website – worth a look!

(b)   The Jambouree Cabaret Singers are hosting a virtual Burns Supper, this coming Sunday 24th  at 7p.m. to which all are welcome.  The link to tune in is: www.jambouree.co.uk/burnsnight   Have your whisky, Iron Bru or wine ready to toast The Bard!

(c)  Quaker meeting this Friday 22nd at midday to mark the coming into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons – see separate e-mail for details.

(d)  Marcia Mackenzie passes on the regrets of the World Day of Prayer group who are unable to provide a live service this year on 1st Friday in March.  If anyone would like to have a copy of the service book please contact her on mackenziem70@gmail.com.  There will be an on-line service; details to follow.

(e)  Sarah Lawson renewed her appeal for new Board members for Harbour Counselling Service – please alert members of your faith community who might be approached.  I have attached their appeal again to this e-mail.

(f) Fraser Hunter told us that Skinnergate is getting busier;  the mental health toll of the pandemic is becoming ever more obvious and he requests prayer for all involved.      

(g)  Marjorie explained that the Foodbank is currently very well off for food, and in fact space is at a premium for storing it. Instead, please consider donating toiletries, washing powder, washing up liquid or even face masks – all non-food items which people  still have to buy. The Foodbank is becoming very busy.

(h)  Similarly, Wilma Coleman said that the Giraffe Foodshare in Mill Street is meeting a real need with 28 people there on Monday – some come just for the chat and socialising.   

(i)  Neil Stewart reported that after 26 years, the North Church’s “Open Door” has closed for the last time, though he is confident something else will appear in its place.    Rev Grant Mclauchlan has indicated that he will be leaving Tulloch Net at the end of June, and  his replacement is being sought.  (We send best wishes to Grant for his future.)

(j)  Kathryn Howe thanked everyone who supported the Salvation Army appeal at Christmas time. They  continue to have their Drop In facility.  Their Furniture Project is relocating to the James Barclay building in the Glasgow Road.  And they have successfully recruited a Community Manager for Perth.

Carol Service

We are sorry that the PACT annual Carol service was unable to go ahead this year, but we are happy to share the recent Jambouree Choir concert. The Jambouree Choir is directed by Edna Auld, organist at St Leonard- in-the-Fields, and this year’s concert comes from the grounds of St Mary’s Monastery.  Enjoy!

R2020 concert – recorded outdoors at S Mary’s, Kinnoull – with contributions from some well-known old friends
2019 – What a difference a year has made

PACT – December update

Many thanks to everyone who was able to join us last night for the PACT Advent catch-up.   We were joined by representatives from 14 different  churches, as well as hearing from the Bield, the Shawl Ministry and Skinnergate.   

Much of what was shared was about the various churches’ plans for Advent and Christmas services , some online and/or pre-recorded,  some in churches and some ‘blended’ services – check out individual websites for more information.   Churches have also been able to continue to support good causes, including – Poppy Scotland, Christian Aid, Crossreach, Blythswood, and Christian Rebuild ( a Congregational Church charity helping rebuilding in Beirut after the explosion.)

We were sorry to hear of the recent death of Rev Bruce Thomson, who had been such a supporter of local ecumenical activity, and the not so recent death (in April) of Monsignor Charles Hendry of St John the Baptist  Church and Mary Magdalene Church.    We were glad to hear that Rev John Murdoch is now out of hospital and recuperating at home – he hopes to resume duties at St John’s and St Leonard’s in the Fields at the end of January.

Other items shared:

(a)  Jean Hendry said that  Starter Packs continue to be busy and are appreciative of all donations.  Jean is also involved with Perth CAB which is also being kept busy in these difficult times.

(b)  Jenny Dawson reported that  St John the Baptist RC Church has welcomed a new Nigerian priest Fr Jude Mukoro

(c)  Rev Maudeen MacDougall of Scone and St Martin’s  has raised £1600  through a sponsored weight loss and has published a  Lockdown Recipe book, now available for sale, cost £7.50.

(d)  Members of the Shawl ministry have been very busy over lockdown – 10 black bags full of knitting were delivered to the Blythswood collection, and donations have also been made to the Salvation Army, CATH, and others.  They are also working with  Rev Anne Stott and the latest initiative at Bertha Park.

(e)  we heard more about the Bertha Park Project – retail premises have been bought by the Church of Scotland which will serve as a much needed community space;  more can be seen at this link:

We were impressed to hear that Rev Anne Stott has delivered over 200 Advent calendars in the Bertha Park community

(f)  Rev Sarah Lawson reported that the Harbour Counselling service has  kept going all through lockdown, and the need for its work is great.  It can be difficult when clients can’t meet face to face.  She reminded us of the appeal for more Board members  which had recently been circulated.  She also spoke about Workplace Chaplaincy, and their aim to be more proactive in the town, especially with the challenges being faced by the retail sector at the moment.

(g)  “Compassionate Christmas”, being spearheaded by Giraffe and supported by local organisations and churches, aims to feed 500 people over Christmas.  St Matthew’s hopes to support this with a retiring collection after Communion in December.   More details about the initiative can be found here:

(h)  The Bield sadly has had to close again because of the current Covid  situation, but they hope to re-open mid-January.   The small-holding however has kept going!

(i)  Letham St Mark’s Community Cafe – renamed LSM Connections – is now open three days a week,  (Tues., Wed and Thurs) and is being well-used.

(j) The Salvation Army thanks all the churches who have donated to their Toy Appeal;  the donations will be distributed to those referred by the Social Work department.   The Salvation Army will be shortly re-advertising for a Community Manager –  their advert will be circulated in due course. 

(k)  We welcomed Lis Burke who is now working at St Ninian’s Cathedral, where services have resumed.  During Advent they are making use of their website and Facebook with daily prayers and an Advent challenge.

(l)  Fraser  Hunter told us about Skinnergate, which thankfully has escaped any Covid outbreak over the last 9 months.  They are hopeful they can provide Christmas dinner this year – probably in three sittings to abide by the Covid rules. He was sad to report the death, after a long illness, of one of their long-serving staff members.

(m)  Stella Cranwell, on behalf of the Prison Chaplain (Rev Margaret Shuttleworth) thanked those who had contributed toiletries for the prisoners – any further donations will be gratefully received by Stella.  (Margaret has been added to our Corresponding members list, and would have joined us last night but had a previous Zoom engagement!)

(n)  Wilma Coleman reported that the City Centre drop in centre based in the Giraffe cafe at Mill Street on Mondays and Thursday has on average 12 – 20 visitors each session, many of whom are regulars who value the chance to chat .  They also come for food – there are many hungry people in Perth.  The North Church volunteers are also involved with this enterprise.

(o)  The North Church are hoping to have messages of hope and faith pinned to thier railings in Mill Street during Advent, there for anyone who wishes to pick one up and take home.

With warm best wishes for a meaningful Advent and a blessed Christmas when it comes.

Rev. J. Bruce Thomson

With sadness I have to report the loss of Bruce Thomson, formerly minister at Scone: Old. Bruce died peacefully in Perth on Friday morning, 27th November.

A funeral service will take place in Scone on Tuesday 8th December, and then thereafter to Perth Crematorium.

Regards,

Rev Alex M Millar
Clerk to the Presbytery of Perth

Harbour Counselling Service – volunteers sought

Founded in 2005, Harbour Counselling Service is an independent Scottish charity with a Christian ethos, offering free counselling to people in Perth and the surrounding area.

In view of impending retirements from our Board we seek seasoned and insightful persons to help shape and deliver a successful future for a highly energetic and reputable small local charity.  These are voluntary roles offering a unique opportunity to make a positive impact within our community.  At a time of acute focus on mental health and continuing pressure on the NHS to respond, the work of Harbour makes a real difference in people’s lives. 

Ideally we are seeking a Board Chair, a Treasurer [who may or may not be a Board member] and a further member of the Board.  The current Board comprises six members, two of whom will be stepping down in the months ahead.

Since “lockdown” in March 2020 and the suspension of face-to-face counselling our service has shown outstanding resilience and fortitude in meeting the needs of clients by a mix of video and telephone counselling.

A measured re-opening plan is in place to offer a “blended approach” in the months ahead and this sits within our overall strategic plan drawn up by the Board in April 2020 for the next three years.

Although each of the above roles is specific in itself, the current board has identified the following generic skills and experience as desirable criteria:

  • Corporate governance preferably within the voluntary sector, and/or
  • Service delivery preferably within a mental health operating environment, and/or
  • Demonstrable knowledge of legal matters, or finance, or strategic planning, or faith based projects

The Board usually meets monthly and other occasional commitments can include  networking, representation, fundraising and recruitment.

Please view our website, www.harbourperth.org.uk and if these voluntary service roles are of interest, email our Chair, alan@harbourperth.org.uk or call him on 07713182800 for an informal discussion in the first instance.

November 2020