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.

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