Diocesan Prayer Cycle for August

1 August 2021
Pentecost 10
For the congregation of St. Trolla at the Crask: Bishop Mark, James Currall.

2 August 2021
For Mark, our Bishop.

3 August 2021
For nations where the vaccine is hard to come by.

4 August 2021
For local food and drink producers and providers.

5 August 2021
For our link Diocese of Quebec.

6 August 2021
The Transfiguration of the Lord
For the Church to be radiant with the love of Christ.

7 August 2021
For the people of South Africa after the recent violence.

8 August 2021
Pentecost 11
For the congregation of St. Mary-in-the-Fields, Culloden.

9 August 2021
For the work and witness of the Mothers’ Union worldwide.

10 August 2021
For unaccompanied child refugees.

11 August 2021
For local sporting venues, teams and societies.

12 August 2021
For all who administer church websites and social media pages.

13 August 2021
For those in hospital with covid.

14 August 2021
For all those whose lives are marked by trauma.

15 August 2021
Pentecost 12
For the congregations of St. John, Inverness; St. Michael and All Angels, Inverness.

16 August 2021
Mary the Virgin
For refugees and victims of human trafficking.

17 August 2021
For all who have been married in our churches this year.

18 August 2021
For those who will be starting university this autumn.

19 August 2021
For those who have suffered loss of any kind as a result of the virus.

20 August 2021
For the work and witness of the Salvation Army.

21 August 2021
For the Queen and members of the Royal Family.

22 August 2021
Pentecost 13
For the congregations of St. Anne, Strathpeffer; St. James the Great, Dingwall: Julia Boothby, Barbara Chandler.

23 August 2021
For care home residents and staff.

24 August 2021
Bartholomew, Apostle
For the Tokyo Paralympics beginning today.

25 August 2021
For the people and leaders of Afghanistan.

26 August 2021
For the lonely.

27 August 2021
For those carrying heavy responsibilities.

28 August 2021
For those facing redundancy or bankruptcy.

29 August 2021
Pentecost 14
For the congregations of St. Mary the Virgin, Ullapool; St. Gilbert’s Kinlochbervie; St. Gilbert’s Lochinver; St. Boniface Achiltibuie: Clare Caley, Nicholas Court, John Green.

30 August 2021
The Beheading of John the Baptist
For courageous people who speak truth to power.

31 August 2021
For those in other lands who have to live without access to clean water, and for Scottish Water.

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

Our Brothers and Sisters in India

The Christian Medical College in Vellore, South India

Dear Friends

A number of you have asked about charity support for India.

Rev Dr Hamilton Inbadas has written this piece for your information 

Situation in India

As you are aware the situation in India continues to be worrying. When you hear journalists say that the real number of infections and deaths are far higher than shown, that is not an exaggeration. The past few weeks have been difficult for us too. Almost daily we kept hearing about hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths of people we have studied/worked with and those whom we know.

Our parents on both sides managed to get the second doses of the Oxford vaccines just before our villages hit an acute shortage of vaccines. That is a relief. The number of infection seems to be stabilizing. But as we well know even if this signals the turn of the tide, there is still a lot to deal with for the next few months, at least. Please continue to pray.

Several of you have asked if there is a charity I could recommend for making a donation. The Christian Medical College in Vellore, South India is a teaching hospital that provides excellent care for anyone regardless of religion or caste. CMC also has clinics in rural areas where otherwise there would be no access to medical care. Grace and I had the privilege of working as palliative care chaplains there for several years.

If you wish to make a donation, please follow this link. Donations are received through Friends of Vellore UK, which makes transferring funds easier: 

https://givecmc.org/covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR0IdQpxcAoLJcbSFLRWm9yU1ghMu5ymaAp6pXfPi4Fn6Jc1THhqSF_4bJM

Blessings
+Mark

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

Christmas message from +Mark

Dear Friends across the Diocese

I seem to have spent hour after hour filming, writing and recording Christmas messages and sermons for so many organisations and churches. Today I am writing to you the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness.

I am writing to you with my Christmas Greetings and with my thanks for all you have been doing in the past year. No one could have possibly anticipated the effects of Coronavirus would have upon us all and I believe we have managed to sustain and in places grow far more than I could have hoped.

I know that by all means possible people have received the comfort of the church, digital, hand written, telephone, weekly sermons, newsletters. I know just how hard your clergy and lay ministers have worked. There has also been a weekly or twice weekly Provincial service in which this Diocese has played its part. The Cathedral has live streamed all its worship including Morning and Evening Prayer and many of our churches have live streamed and recorded inspirational services filled with messages of hope. I know of Zoom worship at which people who have long since left the Highlands have been able to reconnect and I have experienced the joy of those who have come together for face to face worship.

It all sounds wonderful, but it comes at a cost. Your clergy need a break, many have struggled to get away at all this year and I know too well the pressure of always being at home and therefore always available. I have sadly also heard criticism that is just so unkind. If you haven’t heard from someone for a while don’t assume they are not doing their job, rather assume they are snowed under, give them a call to see how they are.

The most wonderful moments have often been from unexpected letters saying thank you and are you okay?

Therefore be kind to each other, offer to help when help is needed and don’t be too critical of people who are doing their best.

This Christmas will be very different from what we are used to, or even what we expected up until till last weekend, but it will still be Christmas. Celebrate the birthday of Jesus and offer worship and prayer wherever you find yourself. There will be Provincial services online and from the Cathedral, some will be able to meet in church while others will join through television and computer.

So please keep a faithful Christmas and a loving Christmas. Keep those around you safe and continue to work for justice and peace at home and abroad.

Above all offer thanks to God who walks with us in good times and bad and who offers us a home in his heavenly kingdom.

A blessed Christmas to you all

Inverness Cathedral on-line Christmas Services

This year the Inverness Cathedral Services will be available on-line as follows:

Christingle and Crib Service

Christingle and Crib Service

At 5:30pm on Christmas Eve 24th December 2020

Service of Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass

At 11:30pm on Christmas Eve 24th December 2020

Service for Christmas Day

Christmas Day Service

At 10:00am on Christmas Day 25th December 2020

Where to find the Services

Services from Inverness Cathedral will be available via the Cathedral’s

for both ‘live’ watching and for later playback.

Message from Bishop Mark – 19th Dec 2020

Bishop Mark, offers the following message to Church members following the announcement that new restrictions are being introduced to combat the spread of a new variation of Covid-19:

Dear Friends

As many of you will know already, the Scottish Government’s regulations on the Covid-19 Pandemic were altered this evening [Saturday 19 December 2020]. The changes have a dramatic effect on what people can and cannot do over Christmas and in the weeks following.

The reason for these changes is the scientific advice given to the Government on the risks caused by a variation of the virus, the increased speed of infection seen and the numbers of people who were likely to meet together at Christmas.

The College of Bishops’ Advisory Group will issue an update to cover these changes but I felt it was important to say something this evening.

The changes are in line with the regulations already governing Public Worship. There was no change announced to the rules we already have as a church. The Christmas bubbles hadn’t changed the numbers who could worship in our buildings, simply who you could come to church with.

Rules on numbers, social distancing and travel to church remain the same dependent on which tier your local authority is in. On 26 December all but a few island communities will enter Tier 4 for the following three weeks. During that period the maximum number who can attend church will be 20 and congregation members will not be permitted to travel outside their own local authority area for worship.

Those are the bald facts of this announcement, and as I say any other information will come from the Advisory Group.

The reality is that across the country tonight people will be feeling empty and dejected. Hopes and dreams of meeting family over Christmas will have been dashed and in some cases there will be anger and frustration. I know how I am feeling at the thought of not seeing my own family.

I ask from the bottom of my heart, that people find it in themselves to be gentle with each other, not taking out anger on others or saying things which we will regret. We are all hurting from these restrictions on our way of life. Care and cherish each other, for we are asked to “love our neighbours as ourselves” from the depths of our hearts and with all the gifts we have been given.

Our ministry as a church is to care for all God’s people. We will do that through online worship and in some places face-to-face worship but we also need to do it by phoning the lonely, keeping in contact with the isolated, seeking to work with others for the benefit of our society and to speak of the joy and hope of Christmas, continuing to proclaim: “Unto us a Child is born.

Blessings

The Most Rev Mark Strange
Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church

Making a Canon

On the Feast of St Andrew (30th November 2020) James was Installed as a Canon of The Cathedral Church of St Andrew, Inverness.

James makes his declaration before +Mark

I, James Edward Patrick Currall, appointed to a Canonry in the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, Inverness, do solemnly promise, as in the sight of God and God’s elect Angels, that I will diligently and faithfully fulfil the duties of the same, and sedulously observe the Statutes and cause them to be observed by others.

We all ask for God’s help

O Lord, save this your servant
Who puts their trust in you.
Send them help from your holy place.
And evermore mightily defend him.
Let the enemy have no advantage over them.
Nor the wicked approach to hurt them.
Be unto them a strong tower.
From the face of their enemy.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
And let our cry come unto you.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.

+Mark calls on the Holy Spirit

O Lord, of your mercy stretch forth the right hand of your Majesty over your servant James, that he may seek thee with his whole heart, and that those things which he asks faithfully he may obtain effectually through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

James is led to his Stall by Provost Sarah

A new chapter in the North West

Where do you suppose the geographic centre of the North West Charges is?

My guess is that it would be somewhere on the shore of Loch Assynt near Ardvreck Castle. … and that is exactly where +Mark chose to License Revd Dr Clare Caley as the new Priest in Charge of the North West Charge (St Mary Ullapool, St Boniface Achiltibuie, St Gilbert Lochinver, St Gilbert Kinlochbervie).

19 people gathered in a natural amphitheatre, seated 2m apart for a celebration of the Eucharist on a perfect afternoon; sun shining, little wind, no rain and only a little chilly.

What a lovely occasion and what a wonderful way to embark on a new ministry in a really beautiful part of the world.

The timing was perfect. As +Mark gave us his blessing, the sun slid down behind the hill and we all knew it was time to go (partly because +Mark said it was:-)