The 90Kg Rice Challenge

St Finnbarr’s Vestry have bought 90Kg of Kilombero White Rice from Just Trading Scotland, who deal directly with Malawian farmers. This is what is called The 90Kg Rice Challenge.

JTS say: “The 90kg Rice Challenge runs throughout the whole year and is the perfect social enterprise activity for your school, church or community group covering a range issues which are prevalent in today’s society including Fairtrade, Sustainability, Social Enterprise and Citizenship. Over 800 schools, churches and community groups have completed this already – so why not join them? It is a fun and engaging project with excellent learning outcomes to promote Fairtrade, Sustainability and Citizenship. It’s easy to organise and comes with an educational Challenge Pack, we have one for schools and one for churches, which feature plenty of information, lesson plans (or sermon outlines and prayers), ideas, promotional materials, recipes and activities to teach participants about Fairtrade which will be sent to you along with your 90 x 1kg bags of delicious Great Taste award winning rice.

Anna and I have tried the rice and confirm that it does indeed have a “Great Taste“.  The rice is available in 1Kg bags at £3 each. Please contact Anna or James if you are able to use or sell a few bags, whilst at the same time helping directly farmers in a part of the world that is facing huge problems just at the moment in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

90kg is the amount of rice a farmer in Malawi has to sell to enable him to send a child to secondary school for a year and so we can see that our participation can directly help to provide a better life for those in some of the poorest communities in Malawi, through the opportunity of education.

The Fall in White

To help celebrate the Centenary of St Finnbarr’s in 2013, Mary Luckie created a wonderful white Altar Frontal. featuring a Celtic Cross in the centre and a host of God’s creatures along the bottom.   This Frontal has been much admired, not least by those who have come into St Finnbarr’s for recent weddings.  Sadly we have had no complementary Pulpit Fall, that is until now.

One of James and Anna’s neighbours, Lauraine Peterson, is a native of Shetland who set up her own bridal-wear business in the 1990s, making and supplying all that brides, brides mothers and bridesmaids need. One of her designs, in ivory Shantung silk, is featured in a new exhibition at Shetland Museum.

With Mary’s agreement, Lauraine was asked if she could make a Pulpit Fall to complement Mary’s Altar Frontal and in this, the week of Fibre Fest, it was finished.  Lauraine has very generously donated the Fall to St Finnbarr’s, but you will have to wait until Lent is over to see it in all its glory.

But … here is a sneak preview.

Holy Oils

Janet provided the bottles, Tanya engraved them, Sarah filled them and James made an oak stand for them to sit in – St Andrews now has a new set of Holy Oils thanks to teamwork.

Three different oils are used in the spiritual life of the church. The oils are blessed by the bishop at a special service – the Chrism Mass – at Inverness Cathedral during Holy Week and then distributed to all the churches in the Diocese.

The three oils are:

The Oil of the Sick (Inf). This is used in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. It signified the grace of strength, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties of illness or old age and renews trust and faith in God. This is the oil that is used in what called the Last Rites.

The Oil of Catechumens (Cat). This represents liberation from sin and God’s protection for someone starting out on their journey of faith.

The Oil of Chrism (Chr). It is used during Baptism and Confirmation, It signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit on the newly Baptised or Confirmed.  This oil is usually mixed with a sweet smelling perfume called balsam. To show its importance it is referred to as being ‘consecrated’ rather than just ‘blessed’.

The Final Blowout!!

If you were after a final ‘blowout’ before Lent, then St Andrew’s Tain was the place to be on Shrove Tuesday! Church members and friends gathered together in the evening to share a feast of home cooked pancakes stuffed with a wide range of sweet and savoury fillings.

A special quiz (which included identifying ten smells and ten objects by feel only) had been prepared for our education by an intrepid member of the congregation and even greater fun was had trying to name all the different bits of ‘kit’ used on the altar during Mass.

Two teams – The House of Laity and The House of Clergy – took it in turns to toss the pancakes. “Mmmm”, said one hungry diner, ” the clergy definitely make pancakes that are more holy” (as in ‘full of holes”)!

Our thanks to everyone who contributed to this final bit of frivolity before Lent – such fun and a great time was had by all  !

SEI March 2019 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 SEI Newsletter March 2019.

The SEI now has a mode of training where students spend the majority of their time on placement in one congregation, receiving a lot of practical hands-on training from the local clergy.  Both our Provost (Sarah) and our Synod Clerk (Michael) are helping to train students.  All those clergy involved in training Mixed Mode students or supervising curates, themselves received training at a gathering on the 29th January: Sarah Murray is in the photograph, but Michael joined via Skype.

We Came and All was Ready

This year the World Day of Prayer Service was beautifully crafted by the Women of Slovenia under the slogan “Come all is ready“.  And indeed it was – in Tain, Dornoch and Lairg.  Splendid ecumenical gatherings in all three in which people from across the denominations took active parts.  Thanks to everyone involved at all three places – they were very special reflective, prayerful and joyous gatherings.

those invited
Those Invited

The service was based on: Luke 14:15-24The Parable of the Great Banquet, when those invited all made their excuses and the Master of the House ordered his servants to “Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.”  The table was set following the guidance of the Women of Slovenia, to include symbols of their culture: bread (in the shape of a cross), wine, water, salt, carnations and rosemary.

those who tasted the dinner
Those who Tasted the Banquet

After the services what else but sharing the banquet prepared by the hosts:

Discrimination, prejudice and bullying?

The Anne Frank Trust is dedicated to create a society safe from prejudice and discrimination, mainly through its work in schools and prisons.

On Thursday evening those who attended the latest ERICG meeting were each asked to reflect on a different quotation from the remarkable diary written by this young Jewish girl whilst in hiding from the Nazis. The presentation, with few spoken words needed, relied on emotionally powerful video clips of current victims of oppression and prejudice, in the form of anti-semitism, homophobia, and bullying of those perceived as ‘different’, interspersed with photos of Anne and her life: a normal young girl, leading a normal life…. until the day her family had to go into hiding.

The effect on the audience was palpable, there was much animated discussion both during and after the presentation, with everyone expressing a determination to do their utmost to fight discrimination, prejudice and bullying wherever they meet it, along with the realisation that, even here in this relatively peaceful and beautiful part of the world, these things still exist.