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ECO BLOG- part 2

Living Lent 2019 – Blog post two

I’m writing this on Easter Sunday – so my ‘Single Use Plastic Free’ challenge over Lent has just come to an end. How did I do?

I THINK I avoided all plastics when shopping – but this needed careful planning and thought about what I could and couldn’t buy. I continued to take containers for my weekly Tesco shop – and this will become my regular shopping habit now. I would ask you ALL to do this – they have a huge sign saying you can do this, but not many people do. In around week 4 I was told when buying my meat that they hadn’t had anyone do this since I was there the previous time. That’s not good and we could all make this simple change.

I went to another ‘refill’ shop in Edinburgh - the  Eco larder which had a larger range than Dunfermline including refill shampoos as well as food. There are lots of these shops now opening locally. Come along to the ‘Big Green Coffee Morning’ on 25thMay and there will be information about them all available! 

I continued to make bread, yoghurt, granola etc, and will continue to do this as much as I can going forwards – yes, I’m not going to change too much now that Lent is over! A few people have asked me about milk – but that’s a change I didn’t have to make as we already had a twice weekly delivery in glass bottles.

I have been on holiday, and that proved a little more difficult. The first day I ordered a water in a restaurant, it came in a plastic bottle. However, I then saved the bottle and reused this for the whole holiday – so making it not quite single use! Other than this – hopefully not too bad with the main problem coming with bread in tapas bars often coming in plastic bags. Hotel bathroom shampoo also an issue – but we used the same bottle as much as we could. I should have packed my shampoo bar – a lapse in memory when packing rather than anything else!

Overall, I felt it was challenging at first, but then the changes started to become new habits – that hopefully I’ll stick to. The real difference will be if I can persuade others to join me – even a few small changes will make a difference if enough people do them!

And the answer to the breakfast cereal question in the last blog? Shredded wheat and porridge oats! 


Living Lent- eco blog

Living Lent 2019

This year, the Church of Scotland is supporting the Living Lent initiative. https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news_and_events/news/2019/my_living_lent_rt_rev_susan_brown

– you may have seen this promoted in Queensferry Parish Church at the start of Lent asking you to consider one of 6 challenges during Lent.

As the Eco congregation lead in QPC it really wasn’t a question of if I should sign up over Lent – it was more about which challenge should I do! As one of the main issues we are promoting in QPC is reducing the amount of single use plastic in the church, I decided that this would be the challenge for me!

As we’ve just hit Day 21 of my Living Lent challenge, then I think it’s about time I reported on how I was getting on. And if you are doing one of the challenges as well – please let us know so we can record this as part of our Eco Congregation work!

There is information about the challenge here https://livinglent.org/what-could-i-do/single-use-plastics but basically its as simple as not buying or using anything made of or packaged in single use plastic over Lent. Well – simple to say but not simple to do!

Over the first 21 days I’ve changed my buying habits quite a lot and am certainly scrutinising everything I buy for plastic!

So – my thoughts and actions so far!

•There is SO MUCH unnecessary plastic packaging in the supermarkets!

•Why can you buy loose broccoli in Tesco, but not cauliflower…

•There are only two breakfast cereal items in Tesco without plastic packaging – can you guess what they are! (answer in next blog post!)

•You can bring your own container to the fish, butchers and deli counters in Tesco (and Scotmid too!) and they are very happy for you to use it.

•Self scanning in Tesco means you can put all your fruit and veg directly in your own bags.

The changes I’ve had to make…

I’ve been making my own bread

I’ve been making my own yoghurt (in a slow cooker and it works a treat!)  https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-bio-yogurt

I’ve made my own granola

I’ve made my own corn tortillas

Basically – you find yourself making things you might have bought before, and actually they taste much better and fresher anyway!

I’ve found some there are some great shops where you can fill your own containers. I went to Happy Earth Place in Dunfermline but there are lots in Edinburgh too...

The ‘fails’ I’ve had…

I’ve not altered any of our magazine subscriptions and loads of these come in plastic wrappers. Full marks to the RSPB and Scottish Wildlife though as their magazines come in starch based compostable covers.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you Weetabix is in paper wrapping – they have a plastic film in the wrapping as well.

I’ve learnt that when you go to the rugby at Murrayfield and deliberately choose a drink in a can – they have to pour it into a plastic cup anyway!

I’ve broken my 40 year old Kenwood Chef with all the bread making – but it is probably due a service anyway!

So half way through and quite a few changes made! How will the rest of Lent go…


Golf at QPC.

The banner on the extreme end of the string on the pulpit side of the 

church represents those of us in the congregation who golf together.
QPC is formally represented every year when one or more teams are
entered into the QCCC Golf day to compete for the John Carrie Salfer
where we have enjoyed success on a number of occasions. More commonly
we are to be found sharing fun, fellowship and frustration on the
fairways, and frequently the rough, bunkers, burns, and gorse as well.
The banner is designed to remind us that in our Christian life as on
the golf course we aim for target in the perfection of the green drawn
to the distant flag as we are drawn to the Cross of Jesus. The banner
also reminds us that on the golf course as in our lives there are a
range of hazards but if we avoid them or overcome them we will find
peace. We hope for the peace of Heaven but in the meantime temporarily
make do with the 19th hole. All welcome."


25 years of ministry

In June our minister , Rev. David Cameron celebrated 25 years of Ministry. Having served in his first charge , Maxwell Mearns Castle , west of Glasgow, for 16 years and here for almost 9, this seemed a good time to reflect over his life of Ministry.

  • How did you come to be the minister in QPC.?

It began on a golf course overlooking the Kyles of Bute . I was shooting for the green with a 7 iron and feeling my life was in a bit of a transition phase. I idly tossed up a prayer ‘ Lord, is there anything by way of a calling you have for me?

That night I awoke from a dream with the strong impression I should become Minister in QPC. I had met Guy Douglas, then session clerk, on the Church Without Walls project, but otherwise I knew nothing about Queensferry. I didn’t even know there was a vacancy. It was a very powerful moment of calling requiring the proverbial ‘leap of faith’ 

  • The public face of the minister is usually just on a Sunday. Can you describe a typical day?

A typical day? No such thing. Today started with a meeting about a cross-community support project, followed by preparation for and then conducting a funeral. Then phone calls to set up another funeral followed by another ministerial meeting. After this interview I am meeting a couple to arrange their wedding, and of course I always need to find time to check emails and respond to urgent business.

  • Striking in the answer to this question is the emotional and psychological range that the average day holds. To turn from supporting a grieving family to planning for the happiest day in a couple ‘s lives requires great strength of character and must be tough at times?

Indeed. I have learned that it is important to prepare and recover properly afterwards. After a particularly difficult funeral I will ensure the diary is lighter for the rest of the day.

In the early 80’s, at a time when many ministers were experiencing stress and overload,

a paper presented to the general assembly suggested 7 basic tasks for ministry.

  • Preaching and teaching
  • Pastoring and caring
  • Leadership and planning
  • Mission and evangelism
  • Administration and organisation
  • Presbytery and assembly
  • Personal devotion and study

I use the analogy of plate spinning. Keeping all these tasks in the air is a challenge. And, following this analogy the plates have to be paper as they may often wobble and sometimes they fall. 

  • What do you think are your particular strengths?

A difficult question, perhaps someone else should answer that one!

At school I enjoyed English interpretation. Taking a passage from a book, conveying and summarising its meaning. I like to bring that element to my preaching and teaching.

And when listening to a bereaved family I hope to bring this craft to my writing so that those less familiar with the deceased will have an illustrative picture of their loved one.

I enjoy people and company. Coming to Queensferry has awakened the sense of community within my ministry. In my previous church, which was a city suburb , it was the church which was the community, but here the church sits within a wider community. This brings different and in some ways greater challenges.

  • What element of Ministry are you most passionate about?
  • What do you get the most satisfaction from?

The symbol of the Cross, reaching upwards to God, outwards to the world is very important to me. Helping people hear from God so they can step out in faith, seeing people through testing times, discovering the relevance of faith. Journeying with people awakened to faith, perhaps for the first time in their lives.

  • Ministers minister but who ministers the Minister?

 I feel that I receive ministry on a number of levels.
Staying in touch with God is vital. I feel God is ministering to me through the acts and actions of my own ministry.
The ministerial support groups of QPC and Presbytery are very important and the Church of Scotland provides study leave annually to allow ministers to take time out to reflect and recharge.
I try very hard to reserve a day each month for personal reflection. I often go to the Bield, a Christian retreat and conference centre in Perthshire www.bieldatblackruthven.org.uk. I will go with ‘baggage’, stuff which needs done, but usually realise all I’m meant to do is to stop, connect and be still in the presence of the One who called me here.
And then there is the Uno society.

  • The UNO society?

The Uno society consists of approx 10 guys. We all went through Ministerial training together and would play Uno long into the evenings after conferences and especially challenging lectures. When we qualified we dispersed to charges all over Scotland and we agreed to meet up 2-3 times each year for prayer, encouragement and lunch . Twenty-five years later we continue to do this along with our wives. Peer support such as this is invaluable.

  • Most families relax and have ‘together time’ at the weekends, just when you are seen to be working hardest. How do you juggle Ministry commitments with family life?

Badly. It’s a challenge. Marrying a very gracious lady has made the challenges bearable.

When I was first considering ministry we had 2 small children. Lesley was initially horrified at the prospect but I am glad to say she quickly became excited as she experienced the same sense of calling which we have shared since throughout these 25 years.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is living with someone who works Monday – Friday. Her weekend is Sat /Sun, whereas mine is Sat and Monday.
We have family with grandchildren in York and Lenzie and it takes a bit of planning and juggling to fit in visits to them, whilst maintaining my Sunday presence here. 

  • Up to this point what do you regard as your most significant achievement?

I thought I would answer this from the several phases of my ministry, so far.

In my previous charge my predecessor was a gifted Bible preacher. The congregation was well taught, I could do little more for them in that regard. But I rejoiced to see folk taking this teaching and reaching out in faith, some to ministry here and overseas, some to pastoral support roles, some simply into their homes and workplaces.

In Dalmeny seeing the development of the halls project from conception to completion and the early days of its phenomenal success.

In QPC it was a great challenge taking the congregation, traumatised after John’s untimely death, forward. Finding ways to respect his memory and encouraging new teams and new expressions of faith and actions.
In 2010 there was a call from the General Assembly for each church to plant a new church by 2020. We have only 2 years left!!! So there is a lot of work still to do.

  • What gets you stressed and how do you deal with stress?

Admministration! Managing expectation and demands.
The ministerial training I had was purely academic. It did not include any managerial skills. Happily this is different now but I had to learn all about the business of a ’working church’ on the job. Make it up as you go along as it were.

  • How do you manage your time and prioritise?

Ministry is both predictable and unpredictable, planned and unexpected. It is always a challenge. Key events , like the weekly team meetings provide a grounding structure. 

  • Where would you like to see QPC in 5 years time?

We already have a vision for 2020. Soon we will need to look beyond that.

I would like to see the Church refurbished in all its aspects to meet the needs of the 21stCentury, enabling people to step out locally, nationally, even globally in acts of service and ministry.

Here in Queensferry I would like to see fresh expressions of Church coming to fruition with new Church planting and with the further growing of our team structure, 

  • Can you describe a particular situation or task which you found difficult or challenging and what did you learn from this?

I was one of a small group invited by another presbytery to help a struggling group of churches. Having met with them and listened carefully to their grievances we put forward a solution. Our proposals were rejected. This was intensely frustrating and I did not agree with what they subsequently proposed. The positive, however, was that the work we did empowered them to take ownership and develop their own solutions.

  • Most people’s encounters with God are intensely personal. Is there a particular experience which you feel you can share when you felt the presence of God?

The initial spark of faith came for me by a pond in Pollock estate. I had a Bible with me which fell open at Galatians 5 22-23 , the passage about the power and fruits of the spirit . As I read I had an overwhelming sense of the presence and peace of God.

More recently in a cocktail bar beside the River Thames with Lesley and my sister in law a woman engaged us in conversation. It was a very random encounter but I just knew God was present. There she was , talking to us and there was God, present in the moment. I do not know or understand what exactly it was but somehow it was a transformative moment for her. Something happened. It was remarkable

  • What is your favourite way to relax?

Good food in the company of family and friends. And golf of course.

  • What was the last film you saw or book you read? (other than the Bible)

Movie- Peter Rabbit, with my grandsons.

Books- One from the LJ Ross crime fiction series set in Northumberland. The genre appeals to me

  • And finally, What is it with Tunnocks tea cakes?

Have you ever eaten one?

Scottishness in a bite.Love the taste.

DC interviewed by AMF. July 2018



Our Eco Congregation

The community group within the church have been busy following our successful achievement of a Bronze award - we are already working towards the Silver award and as part of this we held our 'Big Green Coffee Morning' on Saturday 26th May. We were able to team this with hosting the Christian Aid 'Inherit the Earth' photo exhibition which was a thought provoking addition to the event and carried on all week.

So - what was the Big Green Coffee morning all about? The focus of the morning was not to fundraise, but rather to raise awareness - and specifically about one issue - single use plastics. We have become a throw away society - coffee cups, water bottles, straws, plastic bags, all are used once and then thrown away. There are 1 MILLION plastic bottles purchased per minute worldwide - that’s an awful lot of plastic! If we think about it we may remember to recycle some of these plastics - but many items, such as coffee cups are not easily recyclable and need to head straight to landfill. Even worse of course they are thrown away as litter and pollute our landscape and in many cases end up being washed into the sea.

Did you know that that there are 46 THOUSAND pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean? Its estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.

During the coffee morning people were able to not only find out about the scale of the problem, but also do something about it! We were grateful to Sophie Bridger from Plastics Free Scotland for helping us with raising awareness (have YOU sent your postcard to Tesco to ask them to reduce plastic packaging yet) http://plasticfreescotland.org/. We were also pleased to have lots of plastic free alternatives on sale as well. The One World Shop had supplied lots of their recycled and alternatives products and Anything but Plastic had a great stall with lots of plastic free products from metal straws and reusable Keep Cups to shampoo bars and cling film alternatives. https://www.anythingbutplastic.co.uk/

What can you do?

Buy a coffee on the way to work? Take your re-useable cup with you (you often get a discount too!)

Always have a bottle of water? Use a refillable alternative.

Have lots of plastic bottles lining your bath or shower? Replace them with a bar of soap and a shampoo bar

Always buy your veg in a plastic bag? Try buying them loose (Yes even in Tesco! Weight them loose, self-scan and put straight into your reusable shopping bag!)

A straw with your drink? Just say no!

Plastic plates at your barbeque? Try the www.vegware.co.ukalternatives or of course use your usual plates and wash up afterwards!

Plastic bottles of milk? You can get glass bottles delivered to your doorstep! https://www.mcqueensdairies.co.uk/deliveries/is one local supplier

What are you waiting for! Each item of plastic you ditch is one less bit of plastic that will take up to 1000 years to decompose

We are also looking to take action as a church - so watch this space for more news.

Reminder Mass Climate Lobby of Parliament – Wednesday 19thSeptember 2018

Why not join us on Wednesday 19thSeptember for our Mass Climate Lobby of the Scottish Parliament, and speak to your MSPs directly about why you want to see more action on climate change. You’ll be meeting with lots of other campaigners from around Scotland, and be given lots of lobbying hints and tips in advance and on the day.

Find out more and register via our website:


Climate Challenge Fund - How it works - Thursday 27th September 2018 7.30pm

Granton Parish Church have successfully applied for a Climate Challenge Fund grant, have appointed a project officer, launched ''Granton goes Greener'' in the local community and have an ambitious programme of work for the churchbuildings. Hosted in Granton Church Hall we can hear how the project was planned and benefit from the experience of a congregation managing this type of project.

Meet our new Environmental Chaplain - Rev David J.M. Coleman November date tbc.

A new Eco-congregation Chaplain will be inducted in September and we hope David will speak to the Network in November. The date will be announced after he has officially started.


Data Protection and Privacy Documentation

Data Protection Policy

The congregation takes the security and privacy of personal information seriously .

TheData Protection Act 2018 (the “2018 Act”) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) regulate the way in which personal information about living individuals is collected, processed, stored or transferred.

This policy explains the provisions that we will adhere to when any personal data belonging to or provided by data subjects, is collected, processed, stored or transferred on behalf of the congregation.Data_Protection_Policy_QPC.docx

Privacy Notice

The Privacy Notice outlines the way in which the Congregation will use personal information provided to us. Personal information includes any information that identifies you personally, such as your name, address, email address or telephone number.

The Congregation recognises the importance of your privacy and personal information. The Congregation, jointly with the Presbytery of Edinburgh, is the data controller and we have therefore outlined how we use, disclose and protect this information.


More Information also available at