Ready, Steady, Go …

Mothering Sunday was a busy day in St Andrew’s in Tain.  Being the fifth Sunday of the month, it was a joint service with the congregation of St Finnbarr’s in Dornoch joining the congregation of St Andrew’s for the 11 o’clock Eucharist.  It was also the latest in our ‘Bring a Friend to Church‘ services when we extend a particular welcome to friends and family of regular church-goers.

It was a lovely occasion, which acknowledged both the joys and heartache of motherhood, the fact that we are all children, both of Mothers and of God and the pain that each of us feels when eventually our Mothers are no longer with us.  Posies of daffodils were lovingly made by the Tain Guides and Blessed before being distributed to the whole congregation, with the posies left over being taken for friends and neighbours.

The Sunday which marks the mid-point of our Lenten Journey is sometime referred to as ‘Refreshment Sunday‘ and that was very much in our minds after the service as a splendid spread in the hall provided the opportunity for refreshment and fellowship as is fitting when hospitality is extended to those beyond our regular fellowship.

Ready …

 

Steady …

Go …

Diocesan News – April 2019

The April 2019 Edition of the Diocesan Newletter is now available.

In it, Bishop Mark writes…

This Newsletter comes to you at the halfway point of Lent, a time of refreshment and relaxation, a time to gather and give thanks for Mother Church, a day when your Lenten fast can be lightened. I hope that you have been enjoying your Lent, finding extra time to be in the company of God, in prayer and in action.

It is always good to see what is going on in the diocese, and there are so many opportunities to use our gifts. It was good to be at the Cathedral Hall recently to see Provost Sarah and Emmanuel enrolled as Beaver Leaders and then to watch them enrol the nine beavers at the new Cathedral Group. I was also glad to inspect the new toilet and small kitchen at St Pater’s, Thurso, to join the vestry of Elgin and Lossiemouth as they interviewed for a new priest. To be with the Lay Readers who spent a day at Arpafeelie and to meet with Incumbents at St Michael and All Angels.

I am going on a short retreat during the fourth week of Lent before heading to Jerusalem where I have been invited to Preach in St George’s Cathedral on Palm Sunday, I will be back for the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday and will celebrate Easter at both the Cathedral and at Lochinver.

Please pray for me as I will continue to pray for you as we continue our Lenten journey.

Blessings
+Mark

The 90Kg Rice Challenge

St Finnbarr’s Vestry have bought 90Kg of Kilombero White Rice from Just Trading Scotland, who deal directly with Malawian farmers. This is what is called The 90Kg Rice Challenge.

JTS say: “The 90kg Rice Challenge runs throughout the whole year and is the perfect social enterprise activity for your school, church or community group covering a range issues which are prevalent in today’s society including Fairtrade, Sustainability, Social Enterprise and Citizenship. Over 800 schools, churches and community groups have completed this already – so why not join them? It is a fun and engaging project with excellent learning outcomes to promote Fairtrade, Sustainability and Citizenship. It’s easy to organise and comes with an educational Challenge Pack, we have one for schools and one for churches, which feature plenty of information, lesson plans (or sermon outlines and prayers), ideas, promotional materials, recipes and activities to teach participants about Fairtrade which will be sent to you along with your 90 x 1kg bags of delicious Great Taste award winning rice.

Anna and I have tried the rice and confirm that it does indeed have a “Great Taste“.  The rice is available in 1Kg bags at £3 each. Please contact Anna or James if you are able to use or sell a few bags, whilst at the same time helping directly farmers in a part of the world that is facing huge problems just at the moment in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

90kg is the amount of rice a farmer in Malawi has to sell to enable him to send a child to secondary school for a year and so we can see that our participation can directly help to provide a better life for those in some of the poorest communities in Malawi, through the opportunity of education.

The Fall in White

To help celebrate the Centenary of St Finnbarr’s in 2013, Mary Luckie created a wonderful white Altar Frontal. featuring a Celtic Cross in the centre and a host of God’s creatures along the bottom.   This Frontal has been much admired, not least by those who have come into St Finnbarr’s for recent weddings.  Sadly we have had no complementary Pulpit Fall, that is until now.

One of James and Anna’s neighbours, Lauraine Peterson, is a native of Shetland who set up her own bridal-wear business in the 1990s, making and supplying all that brides, brides mothers and bridesmaids need. One of her designs, in ivory Shantung silk, is featured in a new exhibition at Shetland Museum.

With Mary’s agreement, Lauraine was asked if she could make a Pulpit Fall to complement Mary’s Altar Frontal and in this, the week of Fibre Fest, it was finished.  Lauraine has very generously donated the Fall to St Finnbarr’s, but you will have to wait until Lent is over to see it in all its glory.

But … here is a sneak preview.

Holy Oils

Janet provided the bottles, Tanya engraved them, Sarah filled them and James made an oak stand for them to sit in – St Andrews now has a new set of Holy Oils thanks to teamwork.

Three different oils are used in the spiritual life of the church. The oils are blessed by the bishop at a special service – the Chrism Mass – at Inverness Cathedral during Holy Week and then distributed to all the churches in the Diocese.

The three oils are:

The Oil of the Sick (Inf). This is used in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. It signified the grace of strength, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties of illness or old age and renews trust and faith in God. This is the oil that is used in what called the Last Rites.

The Oil of Catechumens (Cat). This represents liberation from sin and God’s protection for someone starting out on their journey of faith.

The Oil of Chrism (Chr). It is used during Baptism and Confirmation, It signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit on the newly Baptised or Confirmed.  This oil is usually mixed with a sweet smelling perfume called balsam. To show its importance it is referred to as being ‘consecrated’ rather than just ‘blessed’.

The Final Blowout!!

If you were after a final ‘blowout’ before Lent, then St Andrew’s Tain was the place to be on Shrove Tuesday! Church members and friends gathered together in the evening to share a feast of home cooked pancakes stuffed with a wide range of sweet and savoury fillings.

A special quiz (which included identifying ten smells and ten objects by feel only) had been prepared for our education by an intrepid member of the congregation and even greater fun was had trying to name all the different bits of ‘kit’ used on the altar during Mass.

Two teams – The House of Laity and The House of Clergy – took it in turns to toss the pancakes. “Mmmm”, said one hungry diner, ” the clergy definitely make pancakes that are more holy” (as in ‘full of holes”)!

Our thanks to everyone who contributed to this final bit of frivolity before Lent – such fun and a great time was had by all  !

SEI March 2019 Newsletter

The Scottish Episcopal Institute, which is responsible for training priests, deacons and lay readers in our Church, produces a monthly newsletter.  If you are interested in what the Institute and its students have been up to, you can read all about it SEI Newsletter March 2019.

The SEI now has a mode of training where students spend the majority of their time on placement in one congregation, receiving a lot of practical hands-on training from the local clergy.  Both our Provost (Sarah) and our Synod Clerk (Michael) are helping to train students.  All those clergy involved in training Mixed Mode students or supervising curates, themselves received training at a gathering on the 29th January: Sarah Murray is in the photograph, but Michael joined via Skype.