A New but also Old Pilgrimage Route

Origins

The Caithness Book Club boasts all of six regular members at its monthly meetings in St Anne’s church hall, Thurso. One of its books was ‘Together in Christ: Following the Northern Saints‘ by John Woodside. From this developed ‘The Northern Saints Trails’, listing 33 names and 32 sites linked to these names. The sites were organised into six circular routes, four starting in Thurso and two in Wick. For more information, see the web site at: www.wickstferguschurch.org.uk/page16 .

The Pilgrimage Trails Project

While doing the research for the Saints Trails, the group realised that there was enough historical evidence to re-create the medieval pilgrimage route linking the shrines of St Duthac in Tain and St Magnus in Kirkwall. So a second project was born. Much of the background work has been done and we are now planning some public events in the hope that this will encourage more people to come forward with offers of practical help and local folklore about the sites along the route.

Pilgrimage Events

We are launching this stage of the project with a ‘Pilgrimage Event’ in Tain on 29th May 2021. There will be an ecumenical service in St Duthac’s chapel followed by refreshments and information on the Northern Pilgrims’ Way.  This event will be jointly led by that the event will be led by our own Bishop Mark Strange and the RC Bishop of Aberdeen Bishop Hugh Gilbert.

Similar events will take place in Old St Peter’s Kirk, Thurso on 3rd July 2021 and in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall on 20th August 2021.

There will be more information in due course.

The Symbolism of our logo

  • The central cross is from the St Andrew’s cross on the Scottish flag.
  • The two lines represent the two saints – Duthac and Magnus
  • The pointed curves are copied from the Ulbster Stone, a Celtic carved stone originally at the site of an early chapel dedicated to St Martin at Ulbster, on our Braid Three and the John o’ Groat’s Trail. The site is now marked by a mausoleum.

Day of Prayer and Fasting and Works of Charity – 14th May

On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar met in Abu Dhabi to sign the Document on Human Fraternity – a joint statement calling for the reconciliation of people of goodwill in service of universal peace. As a result of that bold move, The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was set up by a diverse set of international religious leaders, educational scholars and cultural leaders representing Islam, Christianity and Judaism.  They were inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity, and are dedicated to sharing its message of mutual understanding and peace.

In an increasingly fragmented world that continues to suffer from extremism and intolerance,
nurturing and cultivating this capacity is essential for future generations to thrive and prosper together, acting on the aspirations outlined in the Document on Human Fraternity, the members of the Committee will meet with religious leaders, heads of international organizations and others across the world to support and spread the values of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.  The Committee aspires to address some of the complex challenges facing communities of all faiths, with an approach of openness, learning and dialogue.

In that spirit, it has proposed that believers of all religions unite spiritually on May 14 (this Thursday) in a Day of Prayer and Fasting and Works of Charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic.  This is something that we could all take part in, as it can be done whilst Staying at Home.

 

Watch and Wait and Pray

The Watch in the Garden

Today is Maundy Thursday, when Jesus met with His Disciples and shared a Last Supper with them.  Normally on Maundy Thursday, we meet for a very moving service in one of our Churches and we do a number of things that commemorate that last evening together:

Washing the Disciples’ Feet:

During supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.” (John 13:3-5)

Sharing the Last Supper:

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

Watching, Waiting and Praying at Gethsemane:

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’  … Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36, 40-41)

The first two of these we can only do when we can be together, but the third is something that we can all do at home – watch and wait and pray with Jesus in His anguish.  Normally some of the congregation would gather in St Andrew’s Hall and pray silently in front of the small altar on which the Sacrament is placed, surrounded by greenery and candles.

Tonight, Simon and I will both celebrate the Last Supper alone in one of our Churches, “with the people on our hearts”, but at 9pm, we invite each of you to join us sitting in a suitably prepared space with greenery and candles, to pray quietly for one hour.  Praying for our families, our friends, our neighbours, our governments, those who work in the NHS and in other essential services and particularly those in our land and far away who are anxious, unwell or grieving. Pray also for yourselves.

Strew His Way on Palm Sunday

Image may contain: plant

This idea comes from the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in Oregon.

What if everyone on Sunday April 5 in the morning, puts a branch on the door of their house or on the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday.

It could be any green branch you can get. This would help, despite the social distancing, to be connected as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks.

We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the members of the body of Christ. We are the Church.

Light a Candle on Sundays

Scottish Christians* are encouraged to light a candle and place it in their window at 7pm** each Sunday in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are urged to “join in prayerful solidarity with this witness”, describing the candle as “a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, the source of hope in this life.

The following prayer can be used when lighting the candle:

For all that is good in life, thank you,
For the love of family and friends, thank you,
For the kindness of good neighbour and Samaritan stranger, thank you.

May those who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless, experience support,
May those who are sick, know healing,
May those who are anxious or bereaved, sense comfort.

Bless and guide political leaders and decision-makers, with wisdom,
Bless and guide health workers and key workers, with strength and well-being,
Bless and guide each one of us, as we adapt to a new way of living.

And may the light shining from our windows,
across road and wynd, glen and ben, kyle and isle,
be reflected in our hearts and hands and hopes.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

* These include the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, the United Free Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregational Federation in Scotland, the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, and Redeemed Christian Church of God.

** Please take all necessary fire precautions when using a lit candle. Ensure you remain with the lit candle at all times, and do not leave it to burn if you leave the room. Ensure there are no fabrics or materials such as curtains near the candle.

Church Services on Radio, TV and on-line

Radio and TV Worship Services

Sunday

BBC Radio Scotland at 6:30 – New Every Sunday: a service of worship

BBC Radio 4 at 8:10 – Sunday Worship

BBC ONE at 13:15 – Songs of Praise

BBC Radio 3 at 15:00 – Evensong (a repeat of the Wednesday afternoon broadcast)

Monday – Saturday

BBC Radio 4 at 5:43 – Prayer for the Day

Monday – Friday

BBC Radio 4 (LW only) at 9:45 – Daily Service

Wednesday

BBC Radio 3 at 15:00 – Evensong

On-line Worship

An SEC Eucharist Service will be broadcast at 11.00am on each Sunday at: https://www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship/
The service will subsequently be available to download at the above address in video and audio formats.

Our own participative ‘Active Worship‘ service is available for you to join in with.

Church of Scotland list of Streamed Services

Sunday Eucharist from Trinity Wall Street – starts at 11:15 (New York is generally five hours behind us except 2nd Sunday to last Sunday in March when it’s four hours)  Currently this service is broadcast live from 16:15 GMT.

 

National Day of Prayer – Sunday 22nd March 2020

Churches in Scotland* have joined together to Call for a National Day of Prayer in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taking place on Sunday 22 March, people of faith are being encouraged to light a candle and place it in their window at 7pm.**

We are urged to “join in prayerful solidarity with this witness”, describing the candle as “a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, the source of hope in this life.

The following prayer can be used when lighting the candle:

For all that is good in life, thank you,
For the love of family and friends, thank you,
For the kindness of good neighbour and Samaritan stranger, thank you.

May those who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless, experience support,
May those who are sick, know healing,
May those who are anxious or bereaved, sense comfort.

Bless and guide political leaders and decision-makers, with wisdom,
Bless and guide health workers and key workers, with strength and well-being,
Bless and guide each one of us, as we adapt to a new way of living.

And may the light shining from our windows,
across road and wynd, glen and ben, kyle and isle,
be reflected in our hearts and hands and hopes.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

* These include the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, the United Free Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregational Federation in Scotland, the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, and Redeemed Christian Church of God.

** Please take all necessary fire precautions when using a lit candle. Ensure you remain with the lit candle at all times, and do not leave it to burn if you leave the room. Ensure there are no fabrics or materials such as curtains near the candle.

Food Bank Collection Coffee Morning – 24th March

The Food Bank Collection Coffee Morning scheduled for Tuesday 24th March at the Dornoch Social Club, will now operate as a Foodbank Drop Off only.

All contributions will be gratefully received at:

the Ramp Doorway

of the Dornoch Social Club

between 10am and 12 Noon

on Tuesday 24th March.

Thank you in anticipation.

Gender and Liturgy in Conversation – 29th-30th May update

Responding to the Sacred:

Gender & Liturgy in Conversation

It is with great regret that we inform you that the “Responding to the Sacred: Gender & Liturgy in Conversation” Conference has been cancelled.

The decision was reached unanimously by the steering committee after much thoughtful consideration. Given the guidance from NHS Scotland, along with the SEC and the University of Stirling’s advice, we decided we could not risk the health of conference organisers and attendees.

However, we believe that the work of this conference is still important, and interest remains high. With that in mind, we are in the process of rescheduling the conference for Spring 2021. We’re also planning to host several online events in Autumn 2020, to stimulate conversation and debate in the run up to the conference.

If you have purchased tickets refunds will be issued within 7 working days of this email, and you should contact genandlit@gmail.com if you do not receive a refund within 10 days.

We look forward to welcoming you to Responding to the Sacred 2021.

Best wishes,
Alison Jasper, Elaine Cameron, Marion Chatterly, Jennifer Holden, Emily Alldritt
– Conference Steering Committee

Holy Week and Easter 2020

Palm Sunday 5th April 

8.15am Eucharist, St Maelrubha’s, Lairg*

11.00am Eucharist, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

11.00am Eucharist, St Andrew’s, Tain

6.00pm Eucharist, St Columba’s, Brora

Monday 6th April 

7.00pm Evening Prayer and Reflection, St Andrew’s Tain

Tuesday 7th April 

7.00pm Evening Prayer and Reflection, St Andrew’s, Tain

Wednesday 8th April

10.30am Eucharist, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

7.00pm Stations of the Cross, St Andrew’s, Tain

Maundy Thursday 9th April

11.30am Chrism Mass, Inverness Cathedral

7.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Watch in the Garden, St Andrew’s, Tain

Good Friday 10th April

10.15am Walk of Witness from Bonar Bridge to Ardgay (Start outside Creich Health Centre in Bonar Bridge)

10.00am for 10:30am Walk of Witness in Brora (Start at the Scout and Guide Hall, Brora)

10.30am Walk of Witness to Tain Rose Garden (Start at St Vincent’s RC Church)
11:00am Praise, Prayer, Entertainment and Refreshments, Tain Rose Garden

2.00pm Good Friday Meditations, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

7.00pm Tenebrae and Communion, St Andrew’s, Tain

Holy Saturday 11th April

8.00pm, Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

Easter Day 12th April

8.15am Eucharist, St Maelrubha’s ,Lairg*

11.00am Eucharist, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

11.00am Eucharist, St Andrew’s, Tain

Tuesday 28th April 

5.30pm Prayer and Praise for Easter, Kyle of Sutherland Hub, Bonar Bridge

Morning Prayer in Holy Week

During Holy Week Morning Prayer will be said at St Andrew’s Tain at the following times:

Mon-Tues at 10.00am; Wed-Fri at 9.00am; Sat at 10.00am

*meets in Church of Scotland, Lairg by kind permission.

We wish you Christ’s Blessing and Peace