Welcome to St Mungo's

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Mission Statement

Seeking to be
open and
welcoming
to all actively
growing in faith

Our Minister

Ever since our minister, Rev Sang Yoon Cha, came to us in 2011 we have been on a wonderful adventure together.   During this time we have faced many challenges and changes. We have had major building work done, adaptations to the inside of our building and the introduction of some different types of services. We have lost old friends and gained new.   We are currently facing what is possibly our biggest challenge since he arrived – Covid 19 – but with Sang’s help support and guidance we will see this through and be stronger together.

Sang’s message for week beginning 11 April is now available on the About Us page.  Just click on the Message from our Minister box.

Sunday Service

WE ARE RE-OPENING ON PALM SUNDAY!

As the covid situation is improving we now have permission to reopen the church for congregational worship from Sunday 28 March – Palm Sunday.  This will be a new beginning for us, just as it was when Sang first preached in St Mungo’s on Palm Sunday several years ago.

When you arrive at the church for the Sunday service you will notice some differences.  We hope that the following information will help to prepare you for what to expect.

If you decide to attend the service, having assessed the risk to yourself and others, it is important to maintain social distance and wear a face covering.  You may have to queue outside the church if a few people arrive at the same time.  A maximum of 50 people will be allowed into the building.  Once inside the building you will be asked to provide contact details – full name and contact telephone number – in line with track and trace guidelines.

On arrival you will be asked to use the hand sanitiser provided.  As there will be no singing, you will not be issued with a hymn book.   Your collection should be placed in the plate at the back of the church as you come in.  You may wish instead to set up a standing order so that you do not need to carry cash.  The elders on duty can give you the necessary details.

Once inside you will find arrows on the floor to show you which direction to go in.  Pews have been marked off so that social distancing can be maintained.  Please follow these directions.

If you, or a member of your household, show symptoms of Covid 19 please self-isolate and book a test.  If you develop symptoms after attending church again self-isolate and book a test.   Please also notify the Session Clerk – Marie Campbell.

It is not the church service we are used to but it is important that we all follow the guidelines to protect one another so please follow the guidelines and stay safe.

We produced a special edition of the Weekly Parishioner when we were able to open last year, where you can get more detailed information and look at more pictures of the inside of the church and examples of the type of signs you may see.  You can look at this by clicking on the Weekly Parishioner tab above and choosing Church reopening.

We hope to see you again in person this Sunday but if more than 50 people attend, we may have to turn you away to comply with the regulations. People of all ages count towards the maximum number and this includes the minister, organist and elders on duty.

This week's prayer

Let us pray.   My Lord and my God, as we gather in your presence today, may we see you and hear you, may we feel you and touch you, may we know your presence with us now.

God of Love, as Jesus hung on the cross his first thought was for others.  He forgave those who ridiculed and tortured him.  He accepted the criminal who hung beside him.  And it was he who made a mockery of the sign they placed above his head, for they did not understand that they were indeed looking at a king.  Lord, when we think of this we wonder how you must have felt – how hard it must have been for you. And we realise that it was a sacrifice like no other and we often feel we do not deserve it.  With our thoughtless words we hurt others, we neglect to pray and we take your creation for granted.   But you, you who made the sacrifice look kindly upon us, graciously forgive us and let us start again.

My Lord and my God, we are thankful that you accept us as we are, accept our faults, our doubts, weaknesses and mistakes and as our worship fills this place let your glory shine around us, through us and out into the world.

Heavenly Father, let us intercede for others. We hear of those where there is famine and flood, fighting and fear and we feel overwhelmed.   What can we do?  We ask you to give courage and perseverance to those working to bring relief. May we be guided by your Holy Spirit to offer help and convey peace wherever that is possible.  Help us to remember them, to care about them and to pray for them.

We look at children, our own and others, near and far.   How do we give them the freedom to dream their dreams?   Give love and strength to all those who work in education and childcare as they open up the wonders of the universe to growing minds.  Help us to support them and to be an encouragement to all children wherever they are in the world.

We wonder and we worry about those around us who are struggling.  Family, friends, elderly people living alone, colleagues, people we see in the street.  It is hard to know what help they need but we ask you to help us to bring your light and your love into their lives.     We look at each other this morning and ask how we can serve each other?  Give wisdom to all who lead this church – your church and bring peace to all who gather in your name.  Help us to listen, to show love, to be there in each other’s lives.

We care for all in the caring profession who have been under great pressure during the pandemic.  What can we do?    We ask you to let them know that you have promised to be with them and give them the strength to do what needs to be done.  Reassure them that whatever task you give them to do you will provide what they need to accomplish it.

We feel for those who are ill, those enduring terminal illness, those who await the results of tests, an appointment for treatment or a date for surgery.  We can only imagine their anxiety heightened by the pandemic we are living through.  We uphold them and their families in prayer and ask that you are near them. May they put their trust in you and let them know you are only a whisper away.

We think of those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.   What can we do?  We ask that those who mourn receive comfort, support and understanding so that they might be able to express their grief and begin to find healing and hope.  We give thanks for the long life of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Her Majesty the Queen, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Wrap your love around them and bring them peace.

Heavenly Father, you are our strength and our song.  You are worthy of all our praise, no matter what our circumstances are.  When we look to Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see the greatest victory that has already been won on our behalf. Pray that we find confidence in that victory and live our lives in the light of your love whatever may be happening around us.

My Lord and my God, hear us now as we pray the words that Jesus taught his disciples.  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory for ever.   Amen.

Ways to Support the Church Financially

Apart from the routine way of donating money, if you were to
use “Easyfundraising” then the church benefits without it
costing you any more.

The death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

This week we received the sad news that Prince Philip had died.  He will be missed by many but particularly by his wife, the Queen, and the rest of his family.  There are many families throughout the country who have suffered a bereavement over recent months and will have grieved in different ways.  It is never easy to lose a loved one and our sympathies go out to his friends and family.  His funeral, which will “celebrate and reflect” a life of service will take place on Saturday 17 April.

Many tributes have been paid to him over recent days.    A message from Very Rev Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland and Dean of the Order of the Thistle, on the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh has also been issued which outlines some of the links Prince Philip had with Scotland.  It can be read here.  You can read the message issued by the Moderator and also hear the prayer he said and the comment he made on the Church of Scotland website here.

The Guild Easter surprise

On Holy Saturday, our Guild members received a pleasant surprise when they had a box of cakes delivered to them from Victoria’s coffee shop in Stirling.  Christine, our Convenor, had organised this as we have been unable to meet in person this year.   As we eat our cakes we will think of one another and relive happy memories of our time in the Guild.

Normally at this time of year we would be looking forward to the Guild outing in May, but this will not be able to happen again this year. The Guild have tried to keep in touch through phone calls and the distribution of a newsletter every couple of months.  The Guild provides fellowship to our members as well as providing information on a wide variety of topics – both serious and not so serious.  The Guild is open to all and we hope to meet up with friends, old and new, in the autumn.

Autism Awareness

As we walk along the street or sit in a train or bus, we can see that people are not all the same.  Some are tall and some are small.  They may have black, blonde, red or even blue or pink hair.  They may have blue eyes or green eyes.   Their skin colour may be light or dark.  There may also be differences we cannot see.  Some people will have a heart condition or diabetes.  Some may have autism.  Despite the differences, we are all people who should be recognised and valued as individuals. Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects the way a person communicates, interacts and processes information.   The way in which the condition shows itself will vary from individual to individual which means that each individual with autism experiences their own unique strengths, and challenges.  Many of us have found this year to be difficult as our routines have changed and we may have lost some of our support systems and this can be particularly true for some people with autism.

Too often, there can be a tendency to focus on the negative aspects of autism but Greta Thunberg, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hegerty from The Chase and Chris Packham are autistic.  Mozart, Einstein and Alan Turing were all thought to be autistic so we can see that autistic people can and do bring about change in people’s lives.  Autism is a neurological condition which results in people with the condition seeing and experiencing the world differently.    If we all try to learn more about autism and understand it then life could be better for all.

Many of us, in Alloa, will have visited the Makers Café which provides training opportunities for people with autism.   We may have bought plants for the garden from the Gartinny nursery at Coalsnaughton or we might have bought some of the artwork produced through Art Opportunities.  It is estimated that 1 in 100 people in Scotland are autistic.  You can find out more about autism and what support is available by visiting the Scottish Autism site here.  Scottish Autism, together with David, a talented young illustrator who has Asperger’s Syndrome, have created an interactive animated resource to demonstrate this. You can have a look at it at www.understandautism.org.  It has also been turned into a video which can be seen here.  Please take time to watch this.

Different Minds is a website created by The Scottish Government written in partnership with autistic people.  It gives examples of lived experience of autism and also looks at some myths surrounding autism.  It can be accessed here.

Sustainable Food Places

The last year has brought about change in the way in which many people think about food.  For some, it meant more time to cook from scratch or ways to reduce food waste to avoid frequent trips to the supermarket.  Some people decided to use part of their garden to grow fruit and vegetables or tried to get an allotment.  Unfortunately, there were also an increasing number facing financial difficulties who had to access food banks. Supermarkets in many areas contributed to community food distribution centres.  Local groups set up food delivery and meals delivery to those who were housebound or shielding.

Sustainable Food Places is a UK-wide system which encourages people to look at ways in which they can come together and promote good food for all.  You can read more about this system here.  This month, Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface is working with NHS Forth Valley and Clackmannanshire Council to start people engaging in conversation about improving the local food system so that everyone benefits.  They will be offering 5 online sessions under the heading of Good Food Conversations and you can find out more about them and how to join in here.

Website Updates

The February edition of the  St Mungo’s Guild newsletter is now available on the Newsletter tab.  The Winter menu for the Cafe is also available there.

The service links for 11 April are available on the What’s On page.

The prayer for the Duke of Edinburgh can be found on the What’s On page.

Current Events

Recent news from 121

New report illustrates vast scale of online worship

Action of Churches Together in Scotland and the Scottish Church Leaders’ Forum (SCLF) sought to understand how congregations across the nation had responded to the first lockdown, when change was most sudden by commissioning a report on the topic.  The report was titled “Adapt and be Flexible: The Mission Continues” and can be read here.  The study found that 96% of congregational leaders continued with ministry and mission work despite the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic to effectively preach the Word of God and serve their communities in new ways.   You can read what the Church of Scotland has to say about the report and the main recommendations made here.

The winners of the Moderator’s photo competition are announced

During Lent the Moderator announced a photo competition – Hidden in Plain Sight – where people were asked to send in photos of crosses hidden in plain sight.  Many people entered the competition and it helped to bring home how often we see a cross in everyday life without really noticing it.  You can read Dr Fair’s reaction to the competition and see the winning entries here.  You can see all of the entries in the photo gallery which can either be accessed from the link above or by clicking here.  It is well worth taking time to look.

Edinburgh Presbytery clerk has addressed Tartan Day in New York

On Saturday 10 April Rev Marjory McPherson explained the significance of the colours of the Kirk’s official tartan in an online address to the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York’s online Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan service.  You can read more about this – including what the colours in the tartan represent – here.

The Guild Newsletter – week beginning 5 April

For some months now the Guild, nationally, has been producing a newsletter which is emailed out to members during the period when Guilds have been unable to meet in person.  In this week’s newsletter among the usual variety of interesting items, you can read about what some guilds have been doing over recent months.  There is a link to the St Andrew Blackadder Church Guild video meeting which features an interview with Helen Eckford about her visit to the Journeying Together project in Zambia. This week’s hymn is Thine be the glory.  You can read the newsletter here.

Re-opening Churches

The Church nationally has a group who meet regularly to develop guidelines for Churches which will help them to to reopen all aspects of Church life safely when conditions permit. Let us hope and pray that we will continue to be able to meet in person in St Mungo’s for many years to come.

The Church is not currently open for the “in person”  Sunday service and the other work of the church is still continuing so there are still expenses to be covered.  The Church of Scotland has introduced an online donations system which allows those who wish to continue to support this work financially even when unable to attend in person. To find out more about this and the importance of your donations, please follow the link below.
https://churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/2020/support-your-local-church-with-our-new-online-donations-system

The Gethsemane Window

This is one of the lovely stained glass windows in St Mungo’s and depicts the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and is based on the one in Dunfermline Abbey.  The bottom part of the window shows Jesus receiving communion from an angel while his disciples sleep and those coming to arrest him are arriving.  However, if we look at the top of the window we can see the Greek letters for Alpha and Omega which reflects the phrase “I am the beginning and the end”.  We also have 4 figures.  One holds a crown of thorns, one a heart, one an anchor and the fourth one a cross.  These can be taken to depict aspects of Christ and the crucifixion and what Jesus means to people.  We hope you will be soon able to see this for yourself.

How can you support the Church?

Although the Church is not currently open for the Sunday service, the other work of the church is still continuing.  This means that there are still expenses to be covered so please help if you can. You can either fill your envelope each week ready for when you are able to join us for the Church service again or if you would like to set up a Standing Order or give a donation please get in touch using the email address connect@alloastmungos.org and we will be happy to give you more information.

A new way in which you can support us is by shopping with Amazon Smile.  Amazon Smile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same experience as on amazon.co.uk. The difference is that when you shop by following the link below, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) of eligible purchases to St Mungo’s. Only purchases made through smile.amazon.co.uk are eligible to generate donations. There is no cost either to you or the church.  When you first click here you may be asked to set up an Amazon Smile account and choose a charity.   Select St Mungo’s Parish Church Alloa and every time you purchase goods from Amazon, the church gets a donation paid directly into our bank account.

To find out about the ways in which you can support the Church – financially and otherwise – please click on the Support Us tab below.

St Mungo’s Community Café

Regrettably due to current Covid regulations our cafe is closed temporarily. This is a big miss in the local community as it was proving to be a very popular venue helping to reduce social isolation as well as providing food and refreshments prepared to high standards by Billy, our Executive Chef. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the doors are reopened and the service able to resume.