Diocesan News – February/March 2020

The February & March Diocesan News is now available.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

Dear Friends,

I am writing this to you from The Crask while I wait to lead worship here this afternoon. The weather is still rather driech but the inn is very cosy.

I have just completed the joyful task of hosting a meeting of the Celtic Bishops here in Inverness, we spent time in conversation and debate and I also took the opportunity to lead them on Pilgrimage through Inverness, visiting churches and stopping half way through for High Tea in the Town House. We were guests of the Council and it was wonderful to be met so warmly by the Deputy Provost and her team.

Pilgrimage is of course the theme for next years Scottish Episcopal year of Pilgrimage and I hope that all of you will at some point be able to journey with the church. I am also looking for ideas of pilgrimage within this diocese, so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Tomorrow is Candlemas and we bring our Christmas festivities to a close, my prayers will be with you all as we begin the preparation of Lent.


Lights in the World

This week there have been lots of candles:

Firstly there have been single candles, signifying Christ – Light of the World, reminding us of who’s we are and who we serve.

At the Hub service we meditated on Light, surrounded by many candles and were each individually blessed with a candle to take as a symbol of our calling to be a light in the world and to share Christ’s light.

At Candlemas services today in Lairg, Dornoch, Tain and Brora we reflected on the same theme, blessed the candles that we will use this year and were each blessed as we held our own individual candle and then took it home a Light to dispel darkness and fear from our lives, a light to enlighten our minds, a light to brighten dull days and show each of us the path we must travel.

(NB – if these candles arranged on the floor at the Hub resemble the flag of any group of nations, it’s entirely unintended)


SEI February 2020 Newsletter

The Scottish Episcopal Institute, which is responsible for training priests, deacons and lay readers in our Church, produces a monthly newsletter.  If you are interested in what the Institute and its students have been up to, you can read all about it in February 2020 News from SEI.

It contains the following tribute:

Our heartfelt thanks go to Mrs Gail Sanderson for her hard work these past four years as SEI Ambassador for the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness. Personal circumstances have caused her to take steps to lessen her workload, and so with reluctance but a great sense of indebtedness we say a huge ‘thank you’ to her for all she has done to promote the cause of SEI around the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness: by sending out the monthly Newsletter most diligently to a wide contact list, and also speaking about the work of SEI at Regional Councils and other diocesan gatherings to great effect. That folk across the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness ‘get’ SEI so well is to a great extent down to Gail’s gift of communication. Happy retirement, Gail, and thank you.

Thank you indeed Gail.

New Bishop for Glasgow and Galloway

Earlier this week, the Right Reverend Kevin Pearson was elected as the new Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway. Bishop Kevin is currently the Bishop of Argyll and The Isles and his election to Glasgow and Galloway represents a historic “translation” of a Bishop from one See to another. The See of Glasgow and Galloway became vacant in 2018 following the retirement of the Rt Rev Dr Gregor Duncan who had served the diocese as Bishop for eight years. Bishop Kevin will take up his new post at a service of installation later in the year, on a date to be announced in due course.

Bishop Kevin has served as Bishop of Argyll and The Isles since February 2011 and before that was Rector of St Michael & All Saints Church in Edinburgh, Canon of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh and the Provincial Director of Ordinands (responsible for the discernment and selection process for candidates for ministry). He is also currently the Convener of the Council of the Scottish Episcopal Institute (responsible for the training of those entering authorised ministry) and serves on the provincial Standing Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Bishop Kevin was elected to Glasgow and Galloway by the Episcopal Synod, a body comprising the Diocesan Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In accordance with the Church’s canonical process, the right of election had passed to the Episcopal Synod, following previous processes of vocational discernment within the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway.

Following the election at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, Chair of the Episcopal Synod, the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said:-

I warmly welcome the unanimous election by the Episcopal Synod of Bishop Kevin as Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway. The election follows a period of vacancy and since the right of election passed to the Episcopal Synod during the summer of 2019, the Bishops have continued to listen carefully to the views of the Diocese and to engage in a process of ongoing prayer and discernment throughout the autumn.”

“Bishop Kevin will bring his wealth of experience as a Bishop to his new role in Glasgow and Galloway as well as his deep love, knowledge and understanding of the Episcopal Church. As he prepares for this new ministry, we hold him and his wife Elspeth in our prayers.”

“The Bishops are aware that, in electing Bishop Kevin, this will in due course create a new episcopal vacancy in Argyll and The Isles and we will look forward to supporting that Diocese as it seeks a new Bishop.

Bishop Kevin said:-

I am delighted, excited and humbled to be elected as the new Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway. I am looking forward enormously to entering this new phase of ministry and serving the people of Glasgow and Galloway. My wife Elspeth and I already know many in the Diocese but are also looking forward to living there and getting to know the people and the area better. We shall be very sad to be leaving the people of Argyll and The Isles which we have grown to love deeply over nine years of ministry there.”

Bishop Kevin is married to Dr Elspeth Atkinson who is Chief Operating Officer for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Prior to that Elspeth was Director of MacMillan Cancer Support in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and for most of her career held senior roles in Economic Development in Scotland.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th-25th January).  The theme this year is “Unusual Kindness” which comes from a verse in the Acts of the Apostles:

After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us round it.”  Acts 28:1-2

We are invited in this year’s Week Of Prayer for Christian Unity materials to see God working through people and places which offer unusual kindness. To demonstrate unusual kindness is to give without counting the cost, and to allow ourselves receive without questioning worth. As we reflect upon, and pray for, Christian unity, we acknowledge the injury that disunity has caused, the pain that we carry, the baggage that we must jettison. We pray for Christian unity as the place from which we can move onward in faith and in hope for the redemption of the world and the restoration of creation.

May they all be one. Father, may they be one in
us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the
world may believe that it was you who sent me.

John 17: 20 – 21

On Sunday, the Easter Ross Inter-Church Group (ERICG) held a lovely service in St Josephs, Invergordon at which there wer folk from a number of different Churches celebrating the wonderful things that we as Christians share in common.  Splendid refreshments afterward too – an act of generosity and kindness by our hosts!!

Sharing of Gifts

It is wonderful that the period of waiting for repairs to be completed and worship to be reestablished is over and that St Columba’s in Brora was able to celebrate Advent and the Feast of the Incarnation again this year.  There have been Sunday Services throughout Advent, a Carol Service and a Joyous Celebration on Christmas Day.

A huge thanks to all those involved: Simon and Don for ministry, Janet for flowers, Chris for musical accompaniment and all those who have worshipped with us.

Janet, Simon and Christmas Flowers

Carols at the Crask

Thirty five people crammed into the bar at the Crask for the annual Crask Carol Service on Saturday.  They enjoyed a wonderful selection of Carols and Readings and afterwards lovely refreshments.  Thanks to Kai and Mike for the service and to Douglas, Denise, John and Michael for the refreshments and to the readers and everyone who came and sang so well.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.