CONFIRMATION at PENTECOST!

On Sunday 5th June (the day of Pentecost) we will be delighted to welcome our beloved Bishop Mark to St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch. We have a number of candidates who will be confirmed and first communions will also take place at this service.

If you are interested in confirmation, first communion or re-affirmation of faith, you are most welcome to join one of our preparation courses taking place in the month of May. Please let Fr Simon know if you would like to take part by emailing ihssimonscott@gmail.com or call 01408 633614 and leave a message!

What is Confirmation?

Your baptism marked the start of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Your soul was changed permanently and you were filled with grace from God. Through Confirmation, the Holy Spirit strengthens these graces, gives you more of them and seals them all inside you – like a carefully wrapped present! This brings you closer to Christ and better prepares you to face the daily challenges of Christian life.

You might want to consider Confirmation if you have ‘moved’ to the Episcopal Church from another denomination – have a chat with one of our clergy team!

What is First Communion?

First Communion is one of the holiest and most important occasions in a person’s life. It is the first time that a person receives the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which is the eating of consecrated bread and drinking of consecrated wine. Many children receive their First Communion when they’re 8 or 9 years old, because this is considered the age of reason. Older people can receive communion for the first time too!

What is ‘Re-affirmation of Faith’?

Re-affirmation of Faith can be really helpful to those who feel a bit like they have lost their way. Do you feel like you have fallen out of touch with your faith? Re-affirming your faith in Jesus Christ publicly can help re-balance your life. Speak to one of our clergy team if this sounds like something you’d be interested in!

CLERGY TEAM CONTACTS:

Rev Lizzie Campbell – through one of the other clergy below

Rev Canon James Currall – 01862 881737

Fr Simon Scott – 01408 633614

Listen to the Quiet Voices

Bishop Mark looks at the hopes and expectations around COP26 as we seek to care for God’s creation

As I write this, I’m sitting watching the leaves changing colour outside my office window. There’s a tree which is just at the corner of the churchyard at Arpafeelie which always begins to turn first, its leaves slowly, then quickly, becoming golden before plunging to a striking mix of reds then browns.

As I have watched the autumn begin, the plants begin to bed down for the winter in this changing of the season; I remember that once the bare winter is over then the cycle will come round again. We will have the cool, clear spring and then the joyful warmth of summer. So it has been for much of my life. Yet as we have stayed at home over these past months because of the pandemic, I have appreciated the slow but ever-moving changing of the seasons in a new way.

But just as I can anticipate the leaves coming back on that tree, it is becoming clear that in other places around the world many others no longer know what their seasons will hold. People can’t be confident that the rains will come, or know if their land will flood. People can no longer be confident that their crops will grow, or know if they will have the time and energy to harvest. People and places are struggling and dying now because of the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. People are increasingly anxious and increasingly fearful, and there is growing anger and concern for the future.

In Scotland we have a stable climate. As is so often the case, the worst affects of climate crisis will be felt that much more strongly in places where their climate is not so stable. So the changes that I can see, and the emotions which flow through me as I know they flow through many in our Church, are much more pressing in other parts of our world.

I’ve been thinking about those emotions and reactions as we all prepare for COP26 in Glasgow. The hopes and expectations of so many people are that political leaders will listen to the voices of people around the world who are simply frightened for the very ground they stand on and the lives around them. The Scottish Episcopal Church has put in place and will continue to develop processes which enable us to have a much lighter footprint on the ground, and will enable us to make a better use of the resource we have so that we don’t contribute to stripping the environment of those things which produce the very air that we breathe.

There will be moments of tears, moments of anger, and moments of laughter in Glasgow, but I hope there will be moments of prayer. Why are we going? Why is our Anglican Communion delegation gathering? It is because as a church, and as people of faith, that’s what we do: we pray. Our prayers are to God who created this beautiful little planet we all live on. Our prayers are that God will help us to do everything in our power to protect the environment we live in.

With prayer, with conversation and simply by being visibly present, we can use the time to push home the point to political leaders that this crisis is real and that people of the world, especially those with the least ability to affect change, are being impacted by our continual drive for greater consumption, greater profits, and greater power.

We will try and insist that they listen to the quiet voices, voices that might not be physically present, and we will pray again that world leaders make the right decisions for our planet.

The Scottish Episcopal Church will be there along with old friends and hopefully new friends. We will spend our time carefully encouraging, noisily supporting and – I suspect – sometimes loudly reacting to what is happening because to honour God means caring for God’s creation, not simply for what it gives us but so that we can pass it on, healing and restoring, to those who will come after us.

Please pray for all who will gather in Glasgow, for the leaders of the nations and those of us who will bring hope and prayer.

Ordination of Gordonstoun Chaplain

Philip cutting his ‘ordination’ cake

Yesterday in Inverness Cathedral, Philip Schonken (who is Chaplain at Gordonstoun School) was ordained Deacon by Bishop Mark.

Philip brought with him the school choir who sang the Eucharist, led the hymns and also gave us this wonderful short piece to honour the fact that Philip comes from South Africa.

A joyous occasion finished off with cake and fizz.

Diocesan Prayer Cycle for October

 

Until 4th October
The Season of Creation
For our World, all of God’s Creation and for Climate Justice

1 October 2021
On the International Day of Older Persons, for the elderly who struggle with their health or loneliness.

2 October 2021
For Mark, our Bishop.

3 October 2021
Thanksgiving for Harvest and Pentecost 19
For the congregation of St. Margaret of Scotland, Aberlour

4 October 2021
For our link Diocese of Quebec.

5 October 2021
For couples who have lost a child through miscarriage or stillbirth.

6 October 2021
In Challenge Poverty Week, for those in Scotland who struggle to make ends meet.

7 October 2021
For the 5 million people in Tigray, Ethiopia in need of humanitarian assistance.

8 October 2021
For Diocesan staff.

9 October 2021
On World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, for medics offering end of life care.

10 October 2021
Pentecost 20
For the congregations of Holy Trinity, Elgin; Burghead Mission; St. Margaret, Lossiemouth: Tembu Rongong, Jenny Sclater.

11 October 2021
For preparations for the UN climate conference to take place in Glasgow in November.

12 October 2021
For those who live and work in local prisons.

13 October 2021
For the 702,200 children who attend 2476 schools in Scotland.

14 October 2021
For our local politicians and councillors.

15 October 2021
For retired clergy assisting in the Diocese.

16 October 2021
On World Food Day, for those who today will go hungry.

17 October 2021
Pentecost 21
For the congregation of St. John, Forres: Hamilton Inbadas, Anthony Matchwick.

18 October 2021
Luke, Evangelist
For surgeons and anaesthetists trying to catch up with surgery waiting lists.

19 October 2021
For bold steps to reduce emissions in response to the climate emergency.

20 October 2021
For economists and bankers.

21 October 2021
For children who have additional support needs.

22 October 2021
For those who suffer domestic abuse.

23 October 2021
James of Jerusalem, Martyr
For those who are persecuted for their faith.

24 October 2021
Pentecost 22
For the congregations of St. John, Rothiemurchus; St Columba, Grantown on Spey: Richard Gillings, Jenny Jones, Alison Hart, Tony Sparham. Lay Readers: Deborah Munday, Judith Page and Christine Burry.

25 October 2021
For the people and leaders of Afghanistan.

26 October 2021
For the 37,000 young carers in Scotland looking after dependent family members.

27 October 2021
For those responsible for growing our food.

28 October 2021
Simon and Jude, Apostles
For those pioneering new evangelism initiatives.

29 October 2021
For the Queen and members of the Royal Family.

30 October 2021
For those who are overworked and exhausted.

31 October 2021
Pentecost 23
For the congregation of St. Ninian, Glenurquhart.

Chess, Coventry and Thanks at Evensong

A splendid service of choral evensong in St Finnbarr’s this evening, when Simon was licensed as Priest in Charge at St Finnbarr’s and Lizzie given her warrant as Assistant Priest in Sutherland and Tain.

In his address Bishop Mark thanked everyone for keeping going over the last 18 months and for caring for one another. He said it was lovely to be back in St Finnbarr’s and to enjoy his first service of choral evensong since March 2020. In responding to the New Testament reading from Revelation, he spoke of Coventry Cathedral and its role as a centre for reconciliation giving hope against the forces of darkness.

Addressing Simon and his new role, he likened what he was doing to moving chess pieces around and mentioned that today he had found a large chess set in the boot of his car,

The choir of four (including Simon and Lizzie) were superb and the congregation also were in good voice. Suffice to say that a good time was had by all and we all look forward to another evensong in the not too distant future.

Our prayers and good wishes are with Simon and Lizzie as they share in ministry in this part of our beautiful diocese.

The collection taken at the service will go to the Scottish Episcopal Institute to help in the training of future clergy and lay readers.

Diocesan Prayer Cycle for September

 

During the whole of September (and until 4th October)
The Season of Creation
For our World, all of God’s Creation and for Climate Justice

1 September 2021
For Mark, our Bishop.

2 September 2021
For local tourism and hospitality businesses.

3 September 2021
For churches in their engagement with environmental issues.

4 September 2021
For our link Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry.

5 September 2021
Pentecost 15
For the congregation of Gordonstoun School: Chaplain – Philip Schonken

6 September 2021
For all who teach the Christian faith in schools and colleges.

7 September 2021
On Youth Mental Health Day,
for those who struggle with their mental health.

8 September 2021
For those who read, lead intercessions or assist at Communion in our churches.

9 September 2021
For schemes aiming to improve recycling.

10 September 2021
For those affected by recent wild fires throughout the world.

11 September 2021
For immigrants in our land who feel lost and alone.

12 September 2021
Pentecost 16
For St. Ninian, Invergordon.

13 September 2021
For all church organists and musicians.

14 September 2021
For Christians in the arts, sport and the music and entertainment industry.

15 September 2021
For parents who are having difficulties in bringing up their children.

16 September 2021
For those trying to rehabilitate former prisoners and young offenders.

17 September 2021
For MPs and MSPs to stand up for righteousness, freedom and truth.

18 September 2021
For those working to combat corruption in this country and overseas.

19 September 2021
Pentecost 17
For the congregation of St. Columba, Nairn: Alison Simpson, Kathryn Sanderson. Lay Reader: Jen Abbott

20 September 2021
For those around the world who lack access to eye treatment.

21 September 2021
Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
For the use of the Internet in Christian mission.

22 September 2021
For those working in medical research.

23 September 2021
For all who are struggling with illness or other life-limiting conditions.

24 September 2021
For those experiencing isolation and depression.

25 September 2021
For the people and leaders of Syria.

26 September 2021
Pentecost 18
For the congregations of Christ Church, Huntly; Holy Trinity, Keith; Gordon Chapel, Fochabers; St. Michael, Dufftown and St. Marnan’s, Aberchirder: Michael Last. Lay Readers: Jacqueline Kemp, Megan Cambridge.

27 September 2021
For high standards of integrity amongst journalists.

28 September 2021
For parts of the world facing drought or flood.

29 September 2021
Michael and All Angels
For an awareness of God’s presence in our communities.

30 September 2021
For those working in the courts and judiciary.

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.