HRH The Prince Philip – RIP

Photo by AP

Gracious God, giver of all life,
in whom our earthly course finds its fulfilment:
we give you thanks for the life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
for his service to this nation, the Commonwealth, and humanity,
in war and in peace,
in the pursuit of knowledge,
and in his example of reverence for your creation.

We give thanks for the encouragement he offered to the young,
and for his faithful support for Elizabeth our Queen.

We pray that, as you receive him into your presence,
his family and all who mourn may know your comfort
in the assurance that death is swallowed up in victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and in eternity.

Amen.

Charities Shop to Re-open Again

Opening

The Charity Shop is scheduled to re-open on Thursday 29th April – Alleluia! This does of course assume that the Roadmap set out by the Scottish Government does not change between now and then and that non-essential shops are permitted to open from Monday 26th April.

The shop will then be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.

The Shop

Great efforts continue to be made to make the shop safe for customers and staff so we would ask that everybody follows the ‘rules’ carefully. As you will be aware, the shop is small and although it was been reorganised over last summer, the number of customers who can be in the shop at any one time is still strictly limited. Staff will be on hand at the door to guide you and answer any questions that you may have.

Donations of Items

It would be appreciated that if you have been saving donations of items for the shop that you drop them off during opening times only and in fairly small quantities as we don’t want to be swamped and have limited storage space.

Welcome

We look forward to welcoming everybody in the coming weeks, meanwhile keep safe.

A Most Holy Week

What a lovely experience of worship, both in our churches and on Zoom. A splendid mix of styles and moods as we made our way slowly and prayerfully through Holy Week. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed is so many ways.

Will no-one stay awake

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

Mark 14:32-42

SEI February 2021 Newsletter

Rev Alice Moira Grigor, who retired to Cromarty in 2015, died on 27 December 2020 aged 71. She served as Don Grant’s Diocesan Advisor during his training and Don writes of her:

Her stories and examples of parish situations were a delight as well as being informative. She could talk for Britain, meaning that our meetings were never less than two hours and often more, though they were always too short.

At her funeral on 8th January, Patsy Thompson, a neighbour and the Warden of Lay Readers in Moray, Ross and Caithness said:

Priest, relative, neighbour, friend – in every role Moira was a true force of nature. Everyone who knew her emphasises her powerful energy and stamina, her courage, her generosity, her skill as a cook, her love of fine art and music, and her sense of style.

Patsy has also said:

Moira had enough energy to power the national grid. I miss a strong, vital theologian friend, someone to cross swords with about church and mission; someone who introduced me to Wentworth’s jigsaws and taught me how to do lockdown with a much better grace.

You can read Rev Ann Tomlinson’s full piece about Moira and all the other news from the SEI in the February 2021 SEI Newsletter.

How Good it is to Live Together in Unity

Yesterday, during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th-25th January), 35 people met from across the Churches and Denominations in Sutherland and Easter Ross and one or two from as far afield as Arbroath. We met as Christians united in a common faith. We met as part of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev 7). We met “united in the same mind and the same purpose” (1 Cor 1).

We met because before Jesus died, he prayed to his Father:

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23

We met for a Service of Unity. We met to pray, to listen to Scripture and to reflect on Christian Unity.

A huge thank you to everyone who read, who provided music and who joined us in a outward and visible sign of our Unity in Christ.

SEI January 2021 Newsletter

Harriet and Lee

Revd Harriet Johnston is serving her Title at St James the Less, Bishopbriggs; her husband, the Revd Lee Johnston, is also a Curate in the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, serving at Christ Church, Lanark. Both Harriet and Lee spent short periods staying with Anna and James during their training, experiencing ministry in East Sutherland and Tain.  Here Harriet describes her ordination to the priesthood in November.

My ordination to the priesthood was memorable for all the right reasons. I was encouraged by the kind words of those who brought greetings from family, friends, and colleagues around the world.

Bishop Kevin preached a memorable sermon that he made personal to me. As you might imagine, the moment of ordination was deeply profound for me too. Only 20 people were permitted to be in the church but that made the service intimate and personal.

Due to the travel restrictions, my family watched the ordination on Zoom from their kitchen. It was good to know they were there along with many friends and members of St James’ Church.

You can read Harriet’s full piece and all the other news from the SEI in the January 2021 SEI Newsletter.

Pastoral letter from the College of Bishops – January 4, 2021

On behalf of the College of Bishops, the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church writes:

To the Churches and congregations of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Many of us have watched, with growing concern, the rise in the number of those testing positive for Coronavirus. This rise has been seen right across Scotland during the past few weeks and may get higher still as the effects of the recent holidays become clearer.

Many of our churches had already decided to remain closed or to suspend face to face worship as this situation unfolded, limiting the numbers to 20 people had given an added headache to our larger churches while sustaining the weekly opening regime had become exhausting for some of our smaller congregations. The awareness of the speed of transmission in the new variant had made it quite clear that the position of Places of Worship was becoming more and more difficult to sustain, a situation made clear by the First Minister today.

The reclosing of our churches is difficult, especially for those who have had the privilege of meeting together over the past few months, yet it is now what we must do. The provision of Provincial online worship will continue and many of our churches will meet together via a variety of platforms. We must continue to pray for each other, for the communities we serve and for the authorities charged with protecting the nation.

The full implications of today’s announcement and the answers to the questions we all have will become clearer as the government documents are produced this week and meetings between us and the government take place. Information will then come from the Advisory Group.

Please continue to pray for the College of Bishops as we will continue to pray for you until with the help of science and our health service we can once again have the freedom to meet together.

Churches Closed Again, sadly

Following the announcement in the Scottish Parliament by the First Minister today (4th January 2021) and pending updated guidance from the College of Bishops, our Churches will no longer be open to the public for either services of worship or private prayer.  So from now on we must all pray at home.

We will be reflecting and praying about what we can offer by email, on-line and on paper over the next few days and would appreciate your prayers as we do this.  The on-line Coffee Morning will still take place on Tuesday mornings on Zoom using the same details as before (if you have mislaid the joining details, email James and they will be provided by return).

Keep safe, keep well and we can all look forward to when we can gather again in the presence of God and each other for worship.  In the meantime, we can all help to look after each other via the phone, email etc.

May God bless you all.

Two prayers from the Scottish Prayer Book

In the time of any common Plague or Sickness.

O ALMIGHTY and merciful God, with whom are the issues of life and death: Grant us, we beseech thee, help and deliverance in this time of grievous sickness and mortality, and sanctify to us this affliction, that in our sore distress we may turn our hearts unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

For Hospitals and Infirmaries.

ALMIGHTY God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ went about doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people: Continue, we beseech thee, his gracious work among us in all hospitals and infirmaries; console and heal the sufferers; grant to the physicians, surgeons, and nurses, wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience; prosper their work, O Lord, with thy continual blessing; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen