The Spirit of Ukraine!

Earlier this week we were delighted to welcome Oleksii and Igor to St Finnbarr’s Dornoch. Our Ukrainian friends have been regular visitors, performing the most wonderful concerts for us – with a wide variety of music all played on the accordion! Oleksii and Igor were granted special visas to leave Ukraine and enter the UK in order to continue the vital work they do in raising money for the mother’s of Chernobyl (and this year for wider causes supporting the children of Ukraine). Given the ongoing occupation and invasion of Ukraine, the event held a special poignancy for us all. We describe the performance as an act of defiance, showing that the spirit of the people of Ukraine will not be destroyed! The photograph above shows our audience applauding that spirit!

God Bless you Aleksi and Igor as you and your country continue the struggle!

Transfiguration Activity Day

On August 6th our young episcopalians celebrated The Transfiguration with a day full of crafts, games, den building and other activities at St Trolla’s Church at The Crask Inn. We learned about the story of The Transfiguration of Jesus and explored what the story was saying about Him. Special thanks to Beatrice, Elizabeth and Peter who came along to help us. Take a look at the gallery below to see what we got up to!

Rest ye awhile

Today we added another outdoor seat at St Andrew’s, set into the bank behind the church. We are installing a number of seats around the grounds so that people passing by can sit and rest and reflect on the world. What was it Pooh said “Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit“?

Today is also the 102nd birthday of St Andrew’s member Barbara Rae – Happy Birthday Barbara.

Barbara on her 100th Birthday

Prayer for Healing

In Brora we have a monthly service of Prayer for Healing (3rd Sunday of the month). Today, as per our reading from Genesis 18:1-10a we did it in the company of Andrei Rublev’s icon “The Hospitality of Abraham“.

Anniversary of the Tain Papal Bull

Tomorrow (17th July) marks the 530th anniversary of the signing of the Papal Bull granting St Duthac’s Church Collegiate status and the occasion was marked this afternoon with a very engaging talk by Philip Ward.

Innocent VIII bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his dear son William Spine, provost of the Church of the blessed Duthus of Tayne, in Ross, deacon, greeting and apostolic blessing. When what is asked of us is just and honourable, the strength of right as much as the line of reason requires that it should be carried out to its due effect as a consequence of craving our interposition. Indeed, the prayer brought before us on your behalf recited that our venerable brother Thomas, Bishop of Ross, with consent of the chapter of the Church of Ross and of others whom it concerned, and for the advancement of Divine worship, raised the said Church of the blessed Duthac into a collegiate one


Therefore, let none at all breakthrough this our writ of confirmation and defence, or with rash daring transgress it. But, if any shall take upon him to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of his blessed apostles, Peter and Paul. Given at Rome, at St Peter’s, in the year of the Lord’s incarnation, 1492, on the 17th of July, in the 8th year of our pontificate.

More details about the Story of the Tain Papal Bull may be found on the Tain Museum web site.

Community Award!

Our heartiest congratulations to Marian Swanson – a member of our congregation and vestry at St Finnbarr’s Dornoch – as she receives a special community award from the Dornoch Community Council. This prestigious award is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to our local community. Jerry Bishop made the presentation on behalf of the Community Council. Many of you will know that Marian is a key player in running St Finnbarr’s Charities Shop, Market stalls and online sales. Marian has supported, led and helped develop many other local initiatives too, but really doesn’t like to be in the limelight. However, given this well deserved award which recognises all that she is and all that she does, we wanted to raise a glass with her – God bless you Marian and may He uphold you in all that you do!

St Finnbarr’s Charities Shop at the Garden Party

A week ago last Sunday a magnificent garden party was held at Dunrobin Castle to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The event was organised by the Rotary Club of East Sutherland (RCOES) and THE key organiser was Alistair Risk – a member of our congregation at St Columba’s, Brora. The garden party was extremely well attended, raising substantial funds for RCOES and other local charities – such as our very own St Finnbarr’s Charities Shop. Our thanks to Marian and Joanna who gave up their time to organise and run our ‘Sparkles and Spangles’ stall! Much fun was had by all – great job Mr Risk!!

St Finnbarr’s Charities Shop gives a boost to Sutherland Veterans Charity!

COVID forced the closure, for a while, of St Finnbarr’s Charities Shop, in Dornoch, but the shop’s dedicated team of volunteers have quickly resumed their remarkable fundraising work! This year, once again, St Finnbarr’s has made a generous donation to the work of SSAFA Sutherland. SSAFA (The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) is a UK-wide organisation which helps serving and retired Armed Forces personnel and their families in time of need.

The small team of volunteers in the Charities Shop raise incredible amounts of money for charity each year, thanks to their skill in identifying the potential in donations from the community: they transform some people’s unwanted bits and pieces into other people’s desirable items – and offer astonishing value in doing so.

SSAFA’s Sutherland branch – another small team of committed volunteers – is dedicated to helping needy members of the Armed Forces community here in Sutherland. SSAFA caseworkers visit clients in their homes coast-to-coast, offering support in various ways, including direct financial support. Like all SSAFA branches, SSAFA Sutherland must raise its own funds. But time spent fundraising could be better spent in helping clients – so St Finnbarr’s generous donation has given SSAFA Sutherland a massive boost.

SSAFA Sutherland Chairman William Sutherland said,

SSAFA Sutherland volunteers are most grateful for this wonderful donation from St Finnbarr’s Charity Shop. Our volunteers travel many miles across Sutherland to help members of the ex-Services community, and this superb donation will do a huge amount to enable us help local clients in the year ahead. We thank St Finnbarr’s Charity Shop most sincerely for thinking of us and our valuable work, and we shall ensure that their donation will be used in direct support of needy SSAFA clients.’

Fr Simon (Priest at St Finnbarr’s) said,

“We are so pleased to be able to help secure the continuing work of SSAFA in Sutherland. Their excellent work supporting the mental and physical well-being of veterans and those who currently serve in our forces is so important, and along with our donation we pray they will continue to be a lifeline for those who have worked for justice, freedom, and peace. Our sincere thanks go to our donors, volunteers, and customers for making it possible for us to support SSAFA Sutherland and other local charities in this way.”

If you can help SSAFA Sutherland, either by volunteering or in some other way, OR if you need SSAFA Sutherland’s help, contact them by phoning 07585 030742 or emailing

St Finnbarr’s Charities Shop warmly welcomes donations of unwanted items. However, restrictions mean they are not able to accept electrical goods, and large items such as furniture, bicycles, prams etc. Thank you for considering supporting local charities by donating items to St Finnbarr’s Charities Shop.

[Photo shows Father Simon Scott of St Finnbarr’s with SSAFA Sutherland Chairman William Sutherland. Also in shot are St Finnbarr’s Shop staff Caroline Barnes (L) and Monica Dargie.]

Open Day – buzz and a collection

As part of Tain Gala Week, St Andrew’s Church was open yesterday to allow people to look around, have refreshments and conversation in the hall, sit peacefully in church, listen to organ music and have a hymn sing-song.

There was a great buzz amongst both the visitors and he helpers and it seemed that a good time was being had by all.

Later a good-sized congregation joined us for Evening Prayer and Later for our mid-week Eucharist, if you wish later on join us in prayer.

There was a collection plate and a total of £35 was collected for the Ukraine appeal. Our picture shows the Ukraine candle that we light at each service and some of the wonderful flower arrangements that there are in church at the moment.

It was nice to welcome visitors to the area and local people into the building yesterday and a huge thank you to eveyone who contributed to preparing food, playing music, arranging flowers, providing welcome and leading worship. 

Let’s hope this is the start of something that we feel that it’s manageable for us to do on a number of occasions through the year.