Diocesan News – April/May 2020

The April/May Diocesan Newsletter is now available.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

Dear Friends,

I am writing this to you from my office at Arpafeelie, the place that now functions as my Provincial office as well. We are in very difficult times and I want to thank the people of this diocese for the gentle and careful way they have put the new guidelines from the Bishops in place. I am aware that some felt we were going too far but as we now know we might not yet have gone far enough.

I don’t want to simply repeat all the things about this virus that you can pick up on the news and elsewhere, I want rather to offer a little lesson from history. This little church of ours, with its distinctive story, has a past that is full of isolation and separation, people unable to worship together, unable to share in the sacrament. This history of the time when we were a persecuted church is one that many hold up as the time of growing strength and resilience, families read the offices together, prayed together and held firmly to their faith. When the days of freedom came again the church grew and developed quicker than many had ever dreamt of.

Now I am not suggesting that this is the same situation but it might require the same resilience, saying the daily offices together at the same time from our own homes, sharing the Sunday readings, phoning and checking up on people. It might just be that we come out of this stronger in faith and stronger in fellowship, who knows, well I suspect God does.

Blessings
+Mark

Churches Now Closed

Following the directive from Boris Johnson this evening (23rd March) and updated guidance from the College of Bishops, our Churches will no longer be open to the public for either services or private prayer.  So from now on we must all pray at home.

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

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.

Blessings
+Mark

Diocesan News – November/December 2019

The November/December 2019 Diocesan Newsletter is now available.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

Dear Friends

Well what a month September was.

One Ordination to the Priesthood, three ordinations to the Diaconate and the rededication of St Columba’s Brora, we had full churches for all of these events and we met lots of people who are interested in our church and hopefully all of us can ensure that this interested can be encouraged by warm and inviting worship in our churches.

The beginning of October has also been busy, we said farewell to our Diocesan Registrar as George MacWilliam reached retirement and at the service giving thanks for his ministry among us we also welcomed the Bishop of Quebec and his team on a brief visit to catch up with us all.
This visit from overseas links was a foretaste of what will happen next summer when we welcome bishops and archbishops from across the Anglican Communion in the run up to the Lambeth Conference, I will report on this more fully soon.

I would like to ask you to remember our link dioceses in the intercessions in church. We have a long-standing link with Quebec and with the Diocese of Tuam in Ireland and they hold us in prayer weekly, we should remember to do the same.

I hope to catch up with many of you through the next few months.

Blessings

+Mark Moray : Primus

Introducing a newly minted Priest

Today, St Peter and the Holy Rood in Thurso was packed with people from Caithness, from across our Diocese, from elsewhere in Scotland, from England and from even further afield.

So many people gave of themselves to make Ellie’s ordination as Priest a splendid occasion: stunning flowers, splendid music and singing, generous welcome, sumptuous food and drink, fine preaching, and efficient choreography of a large number of servers, visiting clergy, and so on. So much planning and preparation by members of the congregations, so much planning and preparation by the Bishop and his chaplain, so much planning and travelling by the people from many areas of the life of our church, our community and Ellie’s family, friends and colleagues past and present.

But what was it all about? Obviously it was a significant event in the life of these congregations, who haven’t seen an ordination in either of their buildings for quite a while. It was a significant event in the life of the diocese which has nurtured Ellie’s vocation over the past five or six years. It was a significant event for Ellie’s family who were all assembled in a way that perhaps they rarely manage. And it was a significant event for Ellie herself after a period of years of journeying. But more importantly than all of these, it was an act of praise, worship and thanksgiving to God for his goodness to us, his work amongst us and our witness of that to each other.

That was the real focus. What it was not about was any individual, no matter what their role in the proceedings or in the Church more generally being any more important than any other. Everyone who was involved in the planning, in the preparation, as a guest or with a particular role to perform in the service or the celebrations afterwards, came to that service (as to the one in Inverness Cathedral last week) as an individual – a son or daughter of God. Each with a story of their own, each with their own sorrows and pain, each with their own hopes and joys. In that we are all equal and equally valued by God as beloved children.

A momentous day in their lives and the life of the Cathedral

Today saw the Ordination to the Diaconate of not one, not two, but three people.  Inverness Cathedral hasn’t seen that number of Ordinations in a single day for many many a long year.

Congratulations to Don Grant, Katrina O’Neill and Kathryn Sanderson.

May God richly bless them and those that they serve in Ministry.

Diocesan News – September/October 2019

The September/October Diocesan Newsletter is now available.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

Dear Friends

I am writing this at Arpafeelie and it is lovely to be here with a little bit of time to look at the way that the seasons are changing, the first glimpses of Autumn on the trees, the arrival of sheep back into the neighbouring field and last night we lit our first fire for many months.
I love Autumn and I am thankful that I am able to travel around this beautiful diocese and how these seasonal changes bring fresh colour to the view.

This year though we are confronted by the very difficult political situation in the country, we are very aware of dangers and difficulties across the world and we are increasingly concerned for the changes that we have caused in the environment around us.

The questions of Should I light that fire? Should we change our car? How better could we heat our churches? These questions and more need to be addressed by the Church if we are to continue as stewards of God’s Creation. Please remember this as we approach our harvest festivals. How can we best care for the world, for the nations and for the country’s relationship with others. We can’t just keep taking we must be prepared to give back something for the benefit of this world.

Blessings

+Mark Moray : Primus