An interview with Betty Patrick

13567078_1031356903612309_8836356308204676550_nContinuing our effort to introduce the folks of Bellshill Central to the rest of the church family, visitors and the wider community we are interviewing various “well kent faces” from the congregation.  This time we interview choir member Betty Patrick, we hope you enjoy our fact finding time with Betty.

1) How long have you been coming to Bellshill Central?

I have been coming to Bellshill Central for 3 years.

2) What drew you to come to Bellshill Central?

I was not happy at my other Church at that time and was only attending as I was a Member of the Church Choir.
Since my Husband died 5 years ago I have to sing. I always did but now it means so much more to me. I needed something to get me on my feet again and decided to change my Church. I came to hear Alan play the Organ at Bellshill Central as he had been Organist and Choirmaster at Williamwood when I attended there and I found the whole experience very pleasant and welcoming so I decided to join Bellshill Central

3) What is your favourite Hymn or Song?

This was a difficult choice as so many songs remind me of different stages in my life but after a great deal of thought I decided on the Hymn The King of Love my Shepherd is as this was sung at our Wedding.

4) What do you do in your spare time?

I am a Member of Strathaven Choral Society and have been for a few years. In past years I was a Member of the Apollo Players and took part I their productions in Theatres in Glasgow. This consisted of Musicals from the Sound of Music to Oklahoma and all the well known ones.
I am a Member of Clarkston Tennis and Bowling Club. This keeps me very busy as this year I am the President of the Bowling Club.
Of course I am also a Member of the Church Choir at Bellshill Central which I enjoy very much.

5) If you could change anything in the world what would it be?

If the building of Bellshill Central Church could be demolished and along with the congregation transported nearer East Kilbride it would save me negotiating the Raith Interchange twice a week although I must admit things are improving when all the roads are open.

6) What event has most affected your faith and how has your faith changed throughout your life.

I was brought up attending Kings Park Parish Church – the Minister was the Rev. Robert Paterson. Kings Park was a very busy Church we had four services every Communion. It had a young congregation and we had an active Youth Fellowship and we put on Variety Shows and lots of activities throughout the year. This gave you a good start in learning about religion and laid the foundation stone for faith.
Sure my faith has changed throughout the years some for good reasons and some for bad but I put this down to life experience in bringing up a family and dealing with everyday life.

7) What is the best thing about the Church?

Since I came to Bellshill Central I have been made feel part of the congregation and everyone I have met has been very friendly. Especially the Choir who after all have known each other for a long time but I have not felt an outsider.

8) If you could be someone else (or a super hero) just for one day who would it be and why.

The answer to this question has given me a great deal of thought and worry. So after a few sleepless nights???? I have decided to stay as I am but try and improve myself in every way possible. This might be the easy way out!!!

An interview with Hugh Ainsley

Continuing our effort to introduce the folks of Bellshill Central to the rest of the church family, visitors and the wider community we are interviewing various “well kent faces” from the congregation.  This time we interview our friend Hugh Ainsley, who is also an Elder at Bellshill Central.

12973353_10153597006827613_796509675598373409_oMy first name is actually George. My father was George Henry Ainsley and was always called Harry, so I suspect that is why my parents always used my middle name.

I lived at home with my parents until I was 30 and in 1984 moved out, buying my first home in MacDonald Grove, Bellshill. As a child I had gone with my parents to Flowerhill Church in Airdrie but my mother stopped going to church when I was in my teens, although my father continued to attend. On moving to Bellshill I decided to try out my local church and enjoyed the services at Orbiston with minister Charlie Greig. I continued to attend Orbiston even after I moved to Larkhall and then after working for 8 months in the Middle East when I came back to Orbiston Martin Johnstone was the new minister.

It was Martin who asked me to become an elder, although I pointed out that I wasn’t good at talking to people and wouldn’t be comfortable doing elder visits. Because of this and also since I didn’t live in the parish I was given the postal district to take care of and also took on the role of looking after the church roll. By this time I had moved house again, back to my roots in Airdrie, just a mile from where my parents still lived, but I continue to attend Orbiston. When the churches were due to merge and there was a lot of uncertainty I considered moving to Calderbank church which is near where I stay but I decided to wait and see how the merger would go and made up my mind to decide once a new minister was appointed. As the churches merged I made many new friends from the MacDonald Memorial congregation and like I think all the other members I enjoyed working with our locum Iain and so I had made up my mind to stay unless I really didn’t like the new minister when he/she was appointed. (Kevin, I’m still here!)

My favourite hymn is probably “How Great Thou Art”, although I am also fond of any hymn sung to either Sibelius’s Finlandia or Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Another reason for my deciding to stay with Bellshill Central was my enjoyment of the organ and I have enjoyed working with Alan for many of our special events.

As you all know my day job is being a maths teacher at Larkhall Academy. For the past three and a half years I have been on phased retirement working only Monday to Wednesday. However I am kept extremely busy with a lot of voluntary work and (including the church board and session) I sit on about 10 different committees and so have meetings to attend most weeks. I am convener for Scottish Schools badminton and Area Organiser for Lanarkshire Schools badminton and also am a member of the Technical Commission for International Schoolsport Federation Badminton, being involved with the running of the World Schools championships every two years. Most recently this has taken me to Bulgaria, Malta and Taipei. If I am not in church on a Sunday I will usually be sitting at a desk with my laptop running a badminton event. I also am a member of Hamilton District Sports Council and I now do a lot of work for the United Kingdom Maths Trust, and have been a coordinator of maths competitions in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Carlisle.

When I am at home I enjoy working in my garden, reading books and listening to music. I enjoy classical music, particularly the works of Tchaikovsky and Wagner. My favourite classical singers are Placido Domingo and Jessye Norman and my favourite non classical artist is the French conductor Franck Pourcel who died in 2000. I am trying to complete my collection of all the tracks he ever recorded and have well over 100 CDs, LPs and tapes of his music. My music collection consists of around 2000 albums and my book collection is also well over 1000 so it is just as well that I am now progressing to having my music and literature on my kindle as I am running out of storage space.

I would like to see people throughout the world working together to avoid conflict. In the badminton world I have seen so many people each trying to do their own thing and not working with others for the better good. In my early years on the ISF technical commission we had difficulty at the meetings because my colleague from France didn’t speak good English and my French wasn’t good enough to follow a discussion in a meeting. I therefore think we need to do more to try to learn foreign languages as I don’t believe we should always expect everyone else to speak our language.

At school the three subjects I didn’t like were P.E., music and art. Strangely enough I then got involved with sport and have enjoyed playing tennis, golf, squash and badminton although the only one I still play is badminton. I also developed a liking for music but have never really got around to appreciating art.

My only relatives are 2 cousins, both of whom are older than me and we only meet 3 or 4 times a year. I find it difficult to make friends and am particularly uncomfortable in crowds unless I have a job to do and so enjoy the companionship of the church here at Bellshill Central.

An interview with Kevin de Beer

In a new venture, to introduce the folks of Bellshill Central to the rest of the church family, visitors and the wider community we are interviewing various “well kent faces” from the congregation.  We thought that we’d start with Rev Kevin de Beer, our minister.

Kevin 2
Kevin de Beer, our Minister

I’ve been at Bellshill Central for five months and one thing I love about our church is we at Bellshill Central are a warm and welcoming congregation.

Once upon a time … I had a dream to exercise ministry in a far away land. I did not pay much attention to it because my hands were full in South Africa and I sensed that I was making a contribution to both church and country. Can you imagine my surprise when that dream was fulfilled and I was accepted by the Church of Scotland to offer ministry in this beautiful country. It has been a remarkable privilege to have my call affirmed at Bellshill Central and I look forward to many years of fruitful service.

I find a lot of joy … in the simple gift of my family’s flourishing in Scotland. It was a significant risk to start over in a new country, but it is a real joy to see my family thriving.

I am not fashionable but … I take delight in discovering the uniqueness of my voice and gifts. In some ways I sense that I should have been born about twenty years earlier, in that my fashion sense is about twenty years out of date.  Do not tell it to anyone, but I still get the “shivers” when I hear Barry Manilow singing one of his sappy love songs.  I am relieved, however, to have grown up in a world that is graced by Michael Buble…the voice, the presence and the style gives me hope that some modern music will be able to match the likes of Phil Collins, Rod Stewart and Elton John.

Tell us what drew you to being the Minister/Pastor for Bellshill Central Parish Church?
   When we arrived in Scotland for my assessment conference in April 2015 we had to discern whether God would want us in the West or the East. I have always had a sense that “West is Best” as I was raised in Florida, which is on the west side of Johannesburg. The decision was also facilitated by the fact that Cheryl’s grandfather was born in Glasgow and thus coming to the West was a little like ‘coming home’.
   At the hotel where we were staying during the assessment conference, Jamie Stuart, an elder in the Church of Scotland prayed for us as a couple. Jamie is the author of the Glasgow Bible and we saw this as further evidence that we were meant to head West. We were aware that there were a few vacancies in the Hamilton Presbytery and so drove through to Hamilton, convinced that this was the Presbytery where God wanted us to serve.
   When we returned to South Africa, the estate agent in Hamilton drew our attention to a house available to rent in North Road, Bellshill, and we simply knew that this was where we were meant to be.
   The funny thing is that we thought that there was only one church in Bellshill as there were a variety of glitches on the Church of Scotland website when it came to posting the profile of Bellshill Central. We thought that God might be calling us to the West Church, as that was the only profile we could read whilst in South Africa.
   Stanley and Drew were very helpful in sending me a parish profile as soon as I was in a position to apply for vacant charges. As I met with the leadership, there was a real sense in which the call to serve Bellshill Central Parish Church was affirmed.
   I look forward to our further time together serving as part of God’s wider family.

We know that you have written some books, do you have plans for another?
   I have actually written a few books:
   Fantasy is my flagship book and one that I have been very keen to advertise and share. It is the celebration of 25 years in ministry and I sense that it is my best work.
   I have also written a brief introduction to various biblical stories entitled ‘Fifteen minutes to read’, as well as a manual on creatively engaging life’s joys, losses and challenges.
   I wrote a book before leaving South Africa entitled ‘Sitting in the middle of the bus’ and I am editing and simplifying that work so that it might serve as a brief introduction to Christian Faith, the Bible and the challenges presented in love and loss. This book will, hopefully appear soon under the title ‘First Steps’.
   I have also written a book on leadership and call entitled Shaping Story which shares the story of my call to Scotland.
   My books are available as e-books on Amazon and I will be approaching the leadership at Bellshill Central to consider whether one or two of them might be worth publishing as ‘hard copies’.

How long have you and Cheryl been married and how did you meet?
   Cheryl and I are in our twentieth year of marriage and we met at a friend’s engagement party. It was very much ‘love at first sight’ and even though we have faced various challenges, I would not change our journey in any way, shape, size or form. We are quite simply meant to be together and Cheryl is a real gift from God in life, love and ministry.

You have two children, Michael and Sarah, what has surprised you most about parenting? In what ways are being our Pastor and a Parent the same?
   Everything has surprised me about parenting. There are no books and no advice that can prepare anyone for parenting. Parenting proves challenging in so many ways and it demands a variety of gifts and attitudes, including the likes of listening, forgiveness, generosity and compassion.  In so many ways these prove to be similar qualities that are needed as I seek to pastor a congregation. At times the temptation is to speak too much (I am a preacher after all) but the real gift and challenge is to be someone who is prepared to listen. This is anything but easy and requires a lot of practice.

Being a Pastor/Minister is bound to be very demanding of your time, energy and emotions. What is your favourite way to recharge and find refreshment?
   I have struggled at times with rest and relaxation and yet in my earlier years I played cricket, and for a while I played golf. I do enjoy walking, reading and writing. I am also very fortunate in that I enjoy preaching and so the core aspect of my work and calling brings me much joy.

If you could be a super hero, what would your super power be? What would be your weakness?
   My super power would be passion. I am passionate about life and I love the phrase…”It is not the years that we live, but the life in our years that matters”. I have lived my adult life with a passion and enthusiasm that has even surprised me at times.
   My weakness is that I tend toward impatience…I ‘feel’ life at a level of intensity that can prove overwhelming and it is thus good practice for me to withdraw every now and again so as to reflect on life and give others the space to thrive and flourish.