A few things have occurred over the past few weeks which speak of new beginnings.When I was at school or working in the University of Glasgow, this time of year was always a new beginning as a new academic year started, but since then as the summer starts to fade and there are the first signs of autumn, I have tended to reflect on endings rather than beginnings in September.
So what of these new beginnings? After a couple of year planning, the Dornoch Men’s Shed has finally become a reality and will be formally opening on 5th October. The work has been carried out by a group of men, none of whom are in their first flush of youth, but who have found new life in this project which has given a number of men a new less socially isolated focus. St Columba’s in Brora will be rededicated and open again for regular worship on 28th September, rising phoenix-like from the ashes of a devastating fire in late 2016 (see below for details). A member of the Tain congregation celebrated her 69th birthday by reaffirming her Baptism in a lovely service and picnic attended by 30 people from seven different congregations/fellowships on Shandwick beach last Sunday afternoon. In that service we prayed:
God of mercy and love,
new birth by water and the Spirit is your gift,
a gift none can take away;
grant that your servants may grow
into the fullness of the stature of Christ.
Fill them with the joy of your presence.
Increase in them the fruit of your Spirit:
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of love, patience and gentleness,
the spirit of wonder and true holiness.
Finally, this is the season for Ordinations. New beginnings in Ministry for Don, Katrina and Kathryn as they are ordained to the Diaconate on 14th September in the Cathedral and Ellie as she is ordained to the Presbyterate on 21th September in St Peter and the Holy Rood in Thurso. As Bishop Mark lays hands on each of those to be ordained Deacon, he will say:
Pour now upon her/him your Spirit
and make her/him a deacon in your Church,
to proclaim your love in word and deed.
As our Master Jesus washed the disciples’ feet,
may your servant follow that example.
May N. be holy, disciplined and sincere;
may her/his words declare your truth,
that her/his life may shine with
the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What a new beginning! May God bless all these new beginnings, as people at various stages in their lives find new beginnings: in the Men’s Shed project; in Worship, fellowship and peace in the refurbished and rededicated St Columba’s; in a reaffirmation of their faith in a joyous celebration and in a new life in active participation in the Ministry of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.