Rice Update

The Rice is all sold!  

Thank you to everyone who purchased some.  Thank you also to those who donated their change, the total of which amounted to £50, which has been donated to Grace’s Briquette Project , a project working with the Malawian women and supported by Just Trading Scotland (JTS) through whom we get our rice.

Grace Mwanguti is a Kilombero rice farmer in the Karonga District of Northern Malawi. She has a vision for starting a business to turn the waste product from rice milling into a useful fuel for cooking. This is not a new idea in itself, but Grace would love to bring this business idea to the rural communities where the women themselves will manage the business as well as use the fuel to cook for their families. The availability of this fuel will help ease the lives of women rice farmers who for generations have had the back-breaking job of collecting firewood in the hills. It will also help to stop the denudation of the hill slopes, itself a serious environmental and climate emergency issue, which the government made illegal in 2020. The project will give the women training in management and computing skills, and more confidence in their abilities in a society where women do not traditionally have equality with men.

Grace’s Briquette Project

Below is a bit of information about JTS from whom we purchased the rice, but if you follow the JTS link you can read as much or as little about JTS as you wish.

The Rice Challenge supports their work with rice farmers in northern Malawi.  Our sale of 90kg raised the equivalent amount of what it costs to send a child to secondary school in Malawi for a year. More generally the work with rice farmers has improved the fertility of their seed and thus yields, and improved their access to ploughs and ox carts, which help them market the rice locally.

Based in Paisley in the West of Scotland, JTS is a not for profit fair trade organisation set up to facilitate the import and distribution of fairly traded products to the UK. Their aim is to empower and educate producers and consumers, through the fair purchasing and sale of delicious food products from the developing world.

They try to provide sustainable incomes and wellbeing for small holder farmers, producers and their families.

Charities Shop Open Again

Opening

The Charities Shop re-opened on Thursday 29th April – Alleluia! This became possible when non-essential shops were permitted to open from Monday 26th April.

The shop will now be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.

The Shop

Great efforts continue to be made to make the shop safe for customers and staff so we would ask that everybody follows the ‘rules’ carefully. As you will be aware, the shop is small and although it was been reorganised over last summer, the number of customers who can be in the shop at any one time is still strictly limited. Staff will be on hand at the door to guide you and answer any questions that you may have.

Donations of Items

It would be appreciated that if you have been saving donations of items for the shop that you drop them off during opening times only and in fairly small quantities as we don’t want to be swamped and have limited storage space.

Welcome

We look forward to welcoming everybody in the coming weeks, meanwhile keep safe.

A Most Holy Week

What a lovely experience of worship, both in our churches and on Zoom. A splendid mix of styles and moods as we made our way slowly and prayerfully through Holy Week. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed is so many ways.

Will no-one stay awake

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

Mark 14:32-42

How Good it is to Live Together in Unity

Yesterday, during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th-25th January), 35 people met from across the Churches and Denominations in Sutherland and Easter Ross and one or two from as far afield as Arbroath. We met as Christians united in a common faith. We met as part of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev 7). We met “united in the same mind and the same purpose” (1 Cor 1).

We met because before Jesus died, he prayed to his Father:

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23

We met for a Service of Unity. We met to pray, to listen to Scripture and to reflect on Christian Unity.

A huge thank you to everyone who read, who provided music and who joined us in a outward and visible sign of our Unity in Christ.

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

Something to hang on to

A supportive hand rail has now been installed at St Finnbarr’s, to help members of the congregation with the steep path up to the Church. It is particularly welcome as we move into the winter, with the increased likelihood of ice and snow.

Carols, Carols and more Carols

This evening we had a splendid Carol Service on Zoom: two organists, six readers, nine carols, 28 Zoom connections and 45 people taking part (well what did you expect if an ex-statistician reports on proceedings:-).

Zoom behaved itself, broadband connections delivered the speed that they were supposed to, the readers all unmuted and muted at the right times and read clearly, the music was played beautifully and if the singing in each of the other households was anything like it was in this one, there are no words to describe it!!

Suffice to say a wonderful time a coming together as the Body of Christ was shared, praise was offered to God and everyone got thoroughly in the mood for Christmas – what more could any of us desire?

A huge thank you to Simon and Jamie, to Douglas, Rosemary, Ann, Carol, Caroline and James and to everyone who joined in the celebration – some even stayed on for a drink afterwards.

Food Bank Collections

The Christmas Foodbank Collections in

St Finnbarr’s and St Andrew’s

collected a massive

197.7 Kgs

of food, toiletries and Christmas Goodies,

to be distributed to families in need this Christmas.

A huge thank you to everyone who organised,
contributed to and supported this effort
and to those who donated money also.

Well Done.

Making a Canon

On the Feast of St Andrew (30th November 2020) James was Installed as a Canon of The Cathedral Church of St Andrew, Inverness.

James makes his declaration before +Mark

I, James Edward Patrick Currall, appointed to a Canonry in the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, Inverness, do solemnly promise, as in the sight of God and God’s elect Angels, that I will diligently and faithfully fulfil the duties of the same, and sedulously observe the Statutes and cause them to be observed by others.

We all ask for God’s help

O Lord, save this your servant
Who puts their trust in you.
Send them help from your holy place.
And evermore mightily defend him.
Let the enemy have no advantage over them.
Nor the wicked approach to hurt them.
Be unto them a strong tower.
From the face of their enemy.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
And let our cry come unto you.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.

+Mark calls on the Holy Spirit

O Lord, of your mercy stretch forth the right hand of your Majesty over your servant James, that he may seek thee with his whole heart, and that those things which he asks faithfully he may obtain effectually through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

James is led to his Stall by Provost Sarah