Thursday 27th February

Wow - What a month!
Sadness - "Brother" Philip passed into glory this month. Funny , perceptive gregarious & wise, we'll miss him greatly. Philip volunteered in the Centre over the last few years, manning reception, serving teas & coffees, scanning our books with an eagle eye and offering good advice. Philip became Brother Philip when on answering an irate caller at reception he told him meekly he was speaking to Brother Philip and the caller's tone changed immediately with an apology for his language! The name stuck. One day while helping at a fundraising coffee morning he decided there hadn't been enough takers and we needed to boost sales. Our French intern was sent to the main street with a tray of cakes and Philip followed, accompanied by Iain & a chair (his legs weren't so good). On arrival he waved & called to all passers by and the cakes were  soon sold out. Such a showman! He was always welcoming, always ready with a cheerful smile or joke, always supportive and always ready to serve. We've lost a good friend. But he's with his heavenly Father now and his funeral reflected that peace & joy.
Relief - Anne has spent an intensive few weeks preparing a funding request for the Enterprise Ready Fund - a huge application form with detailed cash flow projections for the next 2 years. Thankfully the tenders came in on time and we learned about a 19th Feb deadline in time to get the application out  to be considered by Trustees on the 1st March. (This is to complete funding so we can go ahead with the Chalet, turning it into a disabled self-catering apartment, and the ground floor bedrooms, making them disabled en-suite.) Please pray for the outcome of this request.
Busyness - Every weekend in February has been booked. Most of the groups who came were self-catering and we had 3 youth groups in a row (including SU basecamp for training young leaders). We also had Dundee Central deacons (informing us how our daughter was getting on in Dundee) and Niddrie Community church are here this weekend.  Mid weeks have been incredibly busy too with community groups - Adult Literacy, Youth Club, Mental health Support Group, Disability support Group, U3A (University of the 3rd Age - learning for retired folks) Madcaps (song & recital group), Highland Perthshire Cycling ( Bike maintenance), Art Class, IT Class and the Welcome All Soup Lunch put on by the church ladies every Friday - tackling social isolation in Pitlochry as well as the Baptist Church youth & children's groups & prayer & mission group. On top of that we've had Care in the Community (tackling how to get community & statutory bodies working together to provide for the elderly), Growbiz ( helping locals to set up their own small businesses) and  quite a few other day groups.  
Reaching Out - The Atholl Centre became the official local arm of the Perth foodbank last month and today Angela from CAPS (Christians Against Poverty Scotland) is coming to collect the first food parcel and the manager from the Bank of Scotland has also been asking how people can be referred. It's not just a political ploy, it's a reality! In Perth on Monday I saw a food bank collection box in Tesco and a big notice offering advice to people in financial and food difficulty in the Cash & Carry. More & more people are struggling, so we're glad we can play our part in helping out.