Northesk Church is involved with many community events and activities in Musselburgh, East Lothian and the wider community. As one of three Church of Scotland churches in Musselburgh, as well as other churches of other denominations, Northesk plays a full role in the spiritual life of the community. Inter-denominational services are held on a regular basis, and the Council of Churches serves to consider how churches can work together for the benefit of the people of the area. The Musselburgh Parish Grouping comprises Northesk, St Michael's, and St Andrew's High Churches.
Northesk Church is involved with the East Lothian Food Bank, which provides food on an emergency basis to those experiencing food poverty who may be referred by a GP, social worker, CAB, teacher, minister or others in positions of responsibility. Items of food are given by members of the congregation regularly and are taken to the Food Bank for distribution.
Volunteers from Northesk Church give help on 1 - 2 occasions during the winter to Bethany Night Shelter when a meal is provided and a place to spend the night is given to homeless people in Edinburgh at various churches and church halls in the city. Our volunteers provide a hot, nourishing meal to the homeless people and take along items of warm clothing. Items of warm clothing and blankets are collected for use by the homeless people - donations of good quality items are gratefully accepted.
During the run up to Christmas, the congregation generously make up shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. These boxes are filled with toys, pencils, gloves, hats and other items which will be useful to and enjoyed by children in impoverished circumstances in countries in Eastern Europe. Boxes are available for fillling - to be returned by 18th November.
Collections are made on behalf of Christian Aid who provide urgent aid - medicines, food, water - to areas which have been hit by natural disasters or wars or disputes, leaving many people in dangerous and vulnerable situations.
The Church also helps Mary's Meals who provides meals for children in poorer countries in association with their education. Collections of backpacks, school equipment, clothing and toiletries and a bowl for their porridge can be handed into the Church.
'Mother Earth in Bolivia' and 'All Friends Together' are two of the national projects to which the Guild donates money collected through donations and collections, sales of work, afternoon teas and entertainment. These projects are two of six projects supported by The Guild of Scotland over a period of three years; generous sums are given to these charities, and for 'The Haiti Project' the Guild sponsored a 10 year old girl for a year.
The Church supports 'Safe Families for Children', a Christian-based charity which helps families in need for support. As well as professional staff, volunteers spend time with families, helping in any way they can.
The Church Hall is used every second Monday afternoon by 'Heart for Art', a group which enables people with dementia to express themselves through painting and other forms of art. Under the direction of Laura MacLeod, and with the help of volunteers from various Musselburgh Churches, participants can try their hand using a variety of mediums - pastels, acrylics, watercolours, crayons etc - to give them enjoyment and a sense of creativity but also to produce some fine pictures. An exhibition of the paintings will be held in Musselburgh Library, hopefully in May.
Heart for Art, which is part of Crossreach, was one of the Guild-funded projects, which aims to promote the benefits of art in mental health, raise the self-esteem of participants, as well as challenging some of the negative assumptions about living with dementia.
Northesk Church is linked with Campie Primary School, which holds services at Easter and Christmas in the church, which are open to everyone to join the children and their teachers.
In July 2016, the community of Musselburgh enjoyed 'The Riding of Marches', a festival which takes place every 21 years. The church was actively involved in this event, and organised a float depicting church life as part of the Civic Procession on Saturday 30 July. The church, through Lorraine McBrearty and the young people and children, decorate a float in the Musselburgh Festival parade - this year the theme is on 'Noah".