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

Diocesan News – July August 2019

The July & August 2019 Diocesan Newsletter is now available.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

Dear Friends

I am writing this letter as I sit in my study at Arpafeelie, the weather is a typically Highland summer, moments of intense sun and blue sky followed by a rain squall. In many ways that is what the church is like. Moments of intense beauty and joy quickly followed by moments of anxiety and storm.

It had always been like this, read the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters to the Churches and you will see much of the same. In the last few days of meetings and pastoral visits , I have had moments of joy and deep prayerfulness as well as times of fear and anxiety as things shift around me, just like the weather, just like the power of God’s Creation. The question I have to ask myself is, ‘Would I want the weather to be always the same, continuous sun or continuous rain?’ ‘Well no, I love the sun and I love the effect of the rain.’ At Arpafeelie you can see the weather coming and I love to sit and watch the clouds form, move over and the sun break through.

Therefore would I want the life of the diocese to be always a moment of sunshine or does it need the power of the occasional squall for us all to remember how important the church is to us. Moments when the senses are heightened by the freshness of the garden after a shower of rain, moments of joy when worship is intense because we gather together again after the storm.

Blessings
+Mark

Hello!

The Hello! project developed from a conversation at the Highland TSI Conference in May 2018 which had a focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing. As a group we spoke about community connections and what we believe to be the simplest way to connect ourselves and others in our communities. The simple gesture of saying ‘HELLO to people that you meet in the street or elsewhere.

From this conversation a project idea developed and this has been supported by a small amount of funding gratefully received from HTSI. The idea is to spread the word and encourage people across the Highlands to say ‘HELLO’ to one another. It’s that simple!!

The project was launched at Ar n-àite café and the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness on Friday 10th May. A wide variety of people dropped by and shared in chat, craft activities, tea/coffee, sandwiches and cake and of course said Hello!!

 

Say Hello! and help someone feel less lonely today.

More details from James, who was part of the project team.

Diocesan News – April 2019

The April 2019 Edition of the Diocesan Newletter is now available.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

This Newsletter comes to you at the halfway point of Lent, a time of refreshment and relaxation, a time to gather and give thanks for Mother Church, a day when your Lenten fast can be lightened. I hope that you have been enjoying your Lent, finding extra time to be in the company of God, in prayer and in action.

It is always good to see what is going on in the diocese, and there are so many opportunities to use our gifts. It was good to be at the Cathedral Hall recently to see Provost Sarah and Emmanuel enrolled as Beaver Leaders and then to watch them enrol the nine beavers at the new Cathedral Group. I was also glad to inspect the new toilet and small kitchen at St Pater’s, Thurso, to join the vestry of Elgin and Lossiemouth as they interviewed for a new priest. To be with the Lay Readers who spent a day at Arpafeelie and to meet with Incumbents at St Michael and All Angels.

I am going on a short retreat during the fourth week of Lent before heading to Jerusalem where I have been invited to Preach in St George’s Cathedral on Palm Sunday, I will be back for the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday and will celebrate Easter at both the Cathedral and at Lochinver.

Please pray for me as I will continue to pray for you as we continue our Lenten journey.

Blessings
+Mark