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

From Land’s End to John O’Groats

Revd. Deborah Sandercock-Pickles, who is Priest in Charge of St Margaret’s Church Prestwich and St George’s Church Simister in Bury near Manchester, was in the shielding category during the first lockdown.

In a moment of madness, she decided that she would run from Land’s End to John O’Groats by running around her garden. At planned points she stops and explores the area electronically and visits a local place of worship (virtually of course). Whist she is ‘there’, she prays for the parish and their mission and ministry.

Well she has now ‘arrived’ in Sutherland via Tain and has enjoyed visiting our churches on-line. She writes:

I pray that God will bless the work that you are doing and encourage you as you seek to serve God in Dornach, Brora, Tain, Lairg and Tongue
You are in my prayers. Every blessing, Deborah

Deborah Sandercock-Pickles – 27th November 2020

We wish Deborah well for the remainder of her ‘trip’ and can only recommend that she stops off at The Crask Inn for its legendary welcome and hospitality. Our prayers go with you Deborah – haste ye back once you can travel for real.

St Margaret’s, Prestwich

A Seat in the Choir

Inverness Cathedral Canons’ Stalls

On 30th November I will be led by Provost Sarah to my stall in the Cathedral and installed as a Canon and member of Cathedral Chapter at a Eucharist to celebrate the Feast of St Andrew. The service will be live-streamed via the Cathedral Facebook page.

St Drostan’s Stall

My stall is dedicated to St Drostan, who was Abbott of Deer (in Aberdeenshire). Saint Drostan lived around 560 to 630. He was a follower of Saint Columba of Iona and spent a significant period in Aberdeenshire. He later retired to spend time in prayer and contemplation in Glenesk where there is an Episcopal Church dedicated to him and a self-catering lodge/retreat house.

St Drostan’s Church

We know about him because he appears in two old manuscripts, the Book of Deer an illuminated manuscript whose origins date back to the 900s, and Breviarium Aberdonense, (the Aberdeen Breviary) produced by Bishop William Elphinstone in Aberdeen in 1510. His name is also attached to various churches and to other places, such as St Drostan’s Well at Aberlour in Speyside, now the water source for Aberlour Distillery.

Aberlour Distillery

Grant them Rest Eternal

Tonight we remembered those who we have loved, but see no more; our friends, our relatives and those who have gone before us in faith.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

New Heating at St Finnbarr’s

St Finnbarr’s ready for All Saints

For a number of years we have been talking about replacing the heating in St Finnbarr’s, since the Diocesan Architect considered that it was in need of replacement.

Well it’s finally happened and the old assorted collection of radiant heaters hanging on chains have been replaced by dark infrared heaters attached to the roof beams. The new heaters on on a time clock so there’s no need for someone to go down to the Church on dark cold nights to put the heating on, it should all happen automatically.

It is now all finished and the congregation have had their first taste of what it will be like in future. By all accounts they were warm enough and didn’t feel that the new heaters detracted from the overall appearance of the Church.

Thanks to Jimmy who did the work so swiftly and without the need to cancel any services and to Margaret for all her work in getting tenders, etc.

We should be able to look forward to a warmer winter this year!!