Diocesan News – January 2019

The January Edition of the Diocesan Newsletter.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

My Dear Friends,

Happy New Year to you all.

As it is the new year I thought I would take this opportunity to let you know some of the times that I will be away in the next term.

I will be having my usual weeks in Edinburgh during January and February.

I am in Kenya for 5 days in February, attending an African Primates retreat, then I will be in Armagh for a couple of days attending the Regional Primates meeting.

In March there will be time spent in Glasgow as they and I seek a new bishop for the Diocese.  We are also expecting the “Our Common Calling” group to be visiting us in the Highlands, they will be arranging a programme that will include visits to some of our churches.

In April I will be heading for Jerusalem and we will be there leading up to Palm Sunday returning home on the Wednesday in Holy Week, this will mean that the Chrism Mass this year will be at 11.30am in the Cathedral on MAUNDY THURSDAY (18th April).



Diocesan News – December 2018

Bishop Mark writes…


My Dear Friends,

I am delighted that for the first time in a while we have a Diocesan What’s on Leaflet. lt is always so easy for the Charges and Congregations of the Diocese to lose track of what is going on and to miss opportunities to support each other by sharing and visiting each other’s events.

I am always surprised by just how busy you all are and it is good to be able to hold each event in my prayers, no matter how far from home I might be.

May I thank you all for the hard work and dedication you reveal in your service of God, it makes me proud to be Bishop of this Diocese. May I wish you all a joyous Christmas when it arrives. I hope to catch up with many of you in the year ahead.



Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers.

A stimulating and uplifting St Gilbert and St Boniface Regional Synod yesterday.  For those of you who cannot imagine that those two adjectives can be used in the same sentence as Regional Synod, just look at the expressions on the faces of those who were there.

We started with a celebration of St Michael and All Angels, led for us by Revd Julia, followed by refreshments and a chance to make new friendships and renew old ones.  At the business meeting that followed, once the usual administrative matters were out of the way, Synod discussed two more substantive matters and very much were DOERS as they set up groups to work on motions for Diocesan Synod.  … and that was all before lunch!!

After lunch Ley-Anne Forsyth (in the foreground above) spoke movingly and passionately about Child Poverty in the Highlands and in smaller groups we again looked at what we could DO to help in our communities.  Ley-Anne said that she had hoped that she could set us alight in her session, but found that we were at the very least starting to glow before she started and well ablaze by the time we finished.

St James says in his Epistle:  “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. … Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, this Regional Synod might reasonable be described in these words by Bernard of Clairvaux:

but even if the splendour and glory of the holy angels before God is beyond our comprehension, we can at least reflect upon the loving-kindness they show us. For there is in these heavenly spirits a generosity that merits our love, as well as an honour that evokes our wonder. It is only right that we who cannot comprehend their glory should all the more embrace their loving-kindness in which, as we know, the members of the household of God, the citizens of heaven, the heirs of paradise, are so exceedingly rich.

A New Deacon in the North

On Saturday, Revd Ellie Charman was ordained Deacon by Bishop Mark in Inverness Cathedral (Ellie is in the middle next to +Mark). It was good to have Revd Tembu Rongong from the Edinburgh Diocese (also the Convenor of the Provincial Youth Committee) as preacher.

Ellie will serve her curacy with the congregations in Thurso and Wick guided by Fr Chris and so many of you will get the opportunity to meet Ellie in the next wee while – perhaps at the Regional Synod in Dingwall on 29th September.  In the meantime I am sure that you all join with me in welcoming Ellie to the North and wishing her well as she starts her ordained ministry.

New Priest in the Diocese

This afternoon in St Anne’s Church in Strathpeffer, Revd Julia Boothby was presented to Bishop Mark to be licensed as Priest-in-Charge of Invergordon, Dingwall and Strathpeffer.

A large number of members of the congregations, Julia’s family, some people from her previous parish (North Mymms near Hatfield in Hertfordshire) and clergy and laity from around our Diocese packed into St Anne’s.

It was a lovely service and splendid fellowship (and food) was shared in the Strathpeffer Community Centre afterwards.

Welcome Julia (and David) it’s lovely to have you amongst us and to have another priest in the northern part of the Diocese.

SEI December Newsletter

The Scottish Episcopal Institute, which is responsible for training priests, deacons and lay readers in our Church, now produces a monthly newsletter.  If you are interested in what the Institute and its students (including our own Don Grant) are doing, you can read about it here SEI December Newsletter.

Ordinand Visit

This week, Anna and I have had the privilege of having three Scottish Episcopal Institute ordinands staying with us.  They were visiting as part of their Summer School, when those in training for ministry from all over Scotland (24 in total) descended on the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness, to find out what shape ministry has hereabouts, reflect on what they saw and what they experienced and think about what it might mean for their understanding of ministry.

Harriet, Jenny and Andy stayed with us and we visited Tain, Invergordon (in time to see HMS Elizabeth), Dornoch, Ardgay, The Crask Inn, Lairg and Croick Church.  Along the way we prayed together, celebrated the Eucharist, enjoyed splendid hospitality, dined in the company of people with much experience of ministry in rural areas, met many different people and as our picture shows, sampled cake in Dornoch Market (and to be honest in a variety of other places).  We explored ministry as presence, as hospitality, as listening, as caring and as prayer.

Harriet, Jenny, Andy and James and very grateful for the love, the care, the generosity and the good humour of everyone who help us to learn a lot from them and from each other.