Sleep out to Help out

The heart breaking predicament of the fleeing refugees from the Ukraine is one of ongoing concern to everyone who has been watching TV and media news reports. Already many are donating essential food and medical items for onward transport to Poland and the other neighbouring countries that are doing their best to cope with nearly 2,000,000 refugees and perhaps in time to those left to face the Russian forces who have devastated buildings and killed thousands who are so bravely defended their homes and country.

A member of St Columba’s Brora and Rotarian, Alistair Risk has been so moved that he’s determined to support the Rotary Club of East Sutherland in raising funds to send Shelterboxes to Poland and whereever needed – each complete with tents for 8 people, bedding, cooking and eating utensils, First Aid equipment, Toys and books as well as tools and axes & a water tank, so that a family can survive in some sort of comfort for up to a year.

Each Shelterbox costs about £600 and he hopes to raise the cash for at least 2 which will be sent this month direct to the needy, sleeping out in a Shelterbox tent from Sunday 27th March for five nights. We are giving Alistair ‘asylum’ in the grounds of St Columba’s (the Tin Church on the A9) and he will sleep in the tent by night and during the day hopes that others will come along for a chat and to donate to the cause.

Alistair has set up a JustGiving page if you wish to help him on his way and he would be happy to talk with anyone who is passing and tell them about all the other events that the local Rotary are doing to raise money for this appeal (and of course take your money:-)

Alistair tells us:

As I approach 80 it’s some time since I last slept out but I still has my Scouts sleeping bag and blanket and I did once spend a month in the Arctic in Finland in 1961, so feels I will cope!
I’m very grateful to the church for their support and the use of such a prominent site on the A9 and hope that lots of people will visit me and give generously.

Alistair Risk

Fellow Rotarian Linda Graham says:

The Ukraine situation is heart breaking and the club is delighted that Alistair is helping us support the refugees

Linda Graham

Canon James says

“While the power of prayer is essential is such terrible times actions such as this will hopefully bring relief to some of the displaced people in need—well done !”

Rev Canon James Currall

Lent starts today … but yesterday

… was Shrove Tuesday

… and the traditional

Pancake Party and Quiz

… and a good time was had by all.

A huge thanks to those who made it happen, to those who took part and to everyone who donated in aid of the refugee situation in Ukraine.

Ash Wednesday

1) Services in St Finnbarr’s Dornoch (10:30am) and St Andrew’s Tain (6:00pm)

There will be Eucharist services for Ash Wednesday in Dornoch and Tain for those who are able to and happy to attend in person. At these services ‘Marking with Ashes’ will be offered to those who wish to receive it (the Ash will be applied with a little 70% alcohol hand-gel).

All are most welcome at these services.

2) Video Service

We have prepared a service for Ash Wednesday, which has all the traditional elements – Litany, Ashing, etc. It will be available as a video on Youtube, via this page and our facebook page.

The Texts

The Readings themselves can be accessed here: Link to Texts

The Eucharistic Prayer for Lent is Eucharistic Prayer III.

The Video of the Service

The Audio only version:

3) Home Worship Material

The Provincial Liturgy Committee has prepared some useful material for people to worship at home, including a litany, readings, a reflection. prayers, etc.

Umbrella in Golspie

The Umbrella group will start meeting again on Monday 31st January.

Umbrella is a Christian social club in Golspie, set up to deepen friendships and build bridges within the Christian Community. Umbrella is independent, not part of, or affiliated to, any denomination of the church.

At Umbrella, Christians meet for a cup of tea or coffee, enjoy the company of old friends and the chance to make new ones. It is open to anyone, whether they go to church, (any church), or not.

Venue: The Stag’s Head (Main St) each Monday 10.30 – 12 noon
Cost: Free! (“Donations box” for contributions towards expenses).

For more information contact Patrick Argyle:

Sing Advent Sing

This evening in Dornoch Cathedral, we ushered in Advent with a gloriously uplifting Advent Carol Service organised by Fr Simon.

A choir of nearly 30 voices and Roddy on the organ, helped the congregation of about 60, sing a number of well-known Advent Carols and they also sang a number of pieces on their own.

Interspersed between the Carols were Advent readings given by five different clergy from the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland, ranging from Genesis to the Gospel of John.

The service gave Glory to God and at the same time raised money for Clean Birthing Kits for parts of the world where many women die in childbirth, as a result of infections contracted whilst giving birth.

This fund-raising is part of a wider effort coordinated by the Rotary Club of East Sutherland and the retiring collection in aid of the charity ImpACT raised over £250 – a huge thank you to everyone who contributed.

O come, O come Emmanuel!

Listen to the Quiet Voices

Bishop Mark looks at the hopes and expectations around COP26 as we seek to care for God’s creation

As I write this, I’m sitting watching the leaves changing colour outside my office window. There’s a tree which is just at the corner of the churchyard at Arpafeelie which always begins to turn first, its leaves slowly, then quickly, becoming golden before plunging to a striking mix of reds then browns.

As I have watched the autumn begin, the plants begin to bed down for the winter in this changing of the season; I remember that once the bare winter is over then the cycle will come round again. We will have the cool, clear spring and then the joyful warmth of summer. So it has been for much of my life. Yet as we have stayed at home over these past months because of the pandemic, I have appreciated the slow but ever-moving changing of the seasons in a new way.

But just as I can anticipate the leaves coming back on that tree, it is becoming clear that in other places around the world many others no longer know what their seasons will hold. People can’t be confident that the rains will come, or know if their land will flood. People can no longer be confident that their crops will grow, or know if they will have the time and energy to harvest. People and places are struggling and dying now because of the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. People are increasingly anxious and increasingly fearful, and there is growing anger and concern for the future.

In Scotland we have a stable climate. As is so often the case, the worst affects of climate crisis will be felt that much more strongly in places where their climate is not so stable. So the changes that I can see, and the emotions which flow through me as I know they flow through many in our Church, are much more pressing in other parts of our world.

I’ve been thinking about those emotions and reactions as we all prepare for COP26 in Glasgow. The hopes and expectations of so many people are that political leaders will listen to the voices of people around the world who are simply frightened for the very ground they stand on and the lives around them. The Scottish Episcopal Church has put in place and will continue to develop processes which enable us to have a much lighter footprint on the ground, and will enable us to make a better use of the resource we have so that we don’t contribute to stripping the environment of those things which produce the very air that we breathe.

There will be moments of tears, moments of anger, and moments of laughter in Glasgow, but I hope there will be moments of prayer. Why are we going? Why is our Anglican Communion delegation gathering? It is because as a church, and as people of faith, that’s what we do: we pray. Our prayers are to God who created this beautiful little planet we all live on. Our prayers are that God will help us to do everything in our power to protect the environment we live in.

With prayer, with conversation and simply by being visibly present, we can use the time to push home the point to political leaders that this crisis is real and that people of the world, especially those with the least ability to affect change, are being impacted by our continual drive for greater consumption, greater profits, and greater power.

We will try and insist that they listen to the quiet voices, voices that might not be physically present, and we will pray again that world leaders make the right decisions for our planet.

The Scottish Episcopal Church will be there along with old friends and hopefully new friends. We will spend our time carefully encouraging, noisily supporting and – I suspect – sometimes loudly reacting to what is happening because to honour God means caring for God’s creation, not simply for what it gives us but so that we can pass it on, healing and restoring, to those who will come after us.

Please pray for all who will gather in Glasgow, for the leaders of the nations and those of us who will bring hope and prayer.

Church Services on Radio, TV and on-line

Radio and TV Worship Services


BBC Radio Scotland at 7:30 – 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


BBC Radio 3 at 15:00 – Evensong

On-line Worship

An SEC Eucharist Service will be broadcast at 11.00am on each Sunday at:
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.

There are services daily from Inverness Cathedral, available via the Cathedral’s:

for both ‘live’ watching and for later playback.

Introduction to the Season of Creation

The Season

The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversation, and commitment together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home.

Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Churches, Dimitrios I declared 1st September as a day of prayer for creation for the Orthodox in 1989. The Orthodox church year starts on that day with a commemoration of how God created the world. On 4th October, Roman Catholics and other churches from the Western traditions commemorate Francis of Assisi, known to many as the author of the Canticle of the Creatures. The beginning and the end date of Season of Creation are therefore linked with the concern for creation in the Eastern and the Western traditions respectively.

Since then Christians worldwide have progressively embraced the season as part of their annual calendar. Pope Francis made the Roman Catholic Church’s adoption of the season official in 2015 and in 2020 he said:

This is the season for letting our prayer be inspired anew by closeness to nature…to reflect on our lifestyles…for undertaking prophetic actions…directing the planet towards life, not death.”

Pope Francis

This Season is now observed in most of the mainline denominations worldwide, including several Provinces of the Anglican Communion, and forms a focus for Christian reflection on the environment. Over the years, it has evolved to include justice for the poor as well as justice for the environment and in fact there is a close relationship between these ‘two cries of St Francis.’

In the Episcopal Church

In the SEC, the Faith and Order Board and College of Bishops have now approved the introduction of a Season of Creation to our liturgical calendar, running from the first Sunday of September for four weeks, concluding with Thanksgiving for Harvest on the fifth Sunday.

This reflects the commitment of the Scottish Episcopal Church to responding to the global environmental and climate crisis, which has drawn attention to what has perhaps become a neglected aspect of our faith: that God created the world, that it is good, and that we, as human beings created in God’s image, have a particular responsibility for the care of God’s creation. It is right that this be reflected in our worship.

Introduction on Zoom

The Liturgy Committee will be offering an introduction to the recently published experimental liturgies for the Season of Creation ( and to the on-line forms for feedback.

This introduction will be offered on the morning of Friday, 13 August at 10am, and the evening of Wednesday, 18 August at 7:30pm.

It is necessary to register in advance for these events. If you would like to join either of these Zoom sessions, please email Sandra Brindley at to register, and you will be supplied with the necessary log-in information.

Northern Pilgrims’ Way launched

Service of Dedication in St Duthac’s Collegiate Church in Tain

Today the Northern Pilgrims’ Way was launched with a dedication service in St Duthac’s Collegiate Church in Tain. Bishop Mark led the service, Jamie Campbell was at the organ and Rev Lizzie Campbell sang the hymns and an anthem and Rev James Currall read the lessons. The Lord’s Lieutenants of Ross-shire (Joanie Whiteford) and Sutherland (Monica Main) were in attendance along with a number of representatives of the Churches.

During the service, an information board was dedicated and the members of the congregations were given blessed cockle shells and candles as symbols of the pilgrimage, but in his address Bishop Mark gave strict instructions that the shells were to be given to pilgrims on the way, that those present encountered in the coming months. He also warned that launching the Way was only the beginning of something and not the end.

You can watch the service on Youtube below:

The original pilgrims were not just trying to get from A to B. The trials and tribulations of the journey were part of the experience, as was calling at recognised holy sites along the way. Modern pilgrims want to feel that they are following in the footsteps of these previous generations. So re-creating a pilgrimage route is not as simple as looking at a map and working out the shortest way from one place to another.

The Northern Pilgrims’ Way is what is known in the trade as a braided route. In other words, it offers the pilgrim alternative tracks between the start and end points. While some routes have more history attached to them than others, all are genuine pilgrimage ways through the North of Scotland.

Map of the Northern Pilgrim’s Way

In our time, pilgrimage is being revived in many denominations. Indeed, it is a feature of most main religions and seems to answer a deep-seated need within us to re-connect with the creator of our world and to work out our own place in this creation.

Further events are planned in the coming months at Thurso and at Kirkwall where the route ends.

  • 3rd July 2021 in Old St Peter’s Kirk, Thurso at 12:30pm
  • 20th August 2021 in East Church, Kirkwall at 12:00noon
Church and State ready for Pilgrimage