Crask Newsletter – July 2022

The last Crask Newsletter was in February 2020, just one month before the Covid pandemic was announced.

This Crask Newsletter provides an update on the two years of challenges and opportunities since then.

One particular event that you may be interested in is the

Friends afternoon tea
Saturday 3rd September

You are all warmly welcome.

There will be a service at 1 pm followed by Afternoon tea and

if anyone wishes to stay on for a buffet (£18 / head) and music night.

For catering reasons please let us know if you can attend

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. 

Dornoch War Memorial Centenary

It is now over a century since the Great War, came to an end in 1918. In the period shortly after the war, war memorials were established in most communities to commemorate those who had lost their lives in the war. After the Second World War, additional names were added to those memorials and some have had names added in relation to subsequent conflicts.

Most of the memorials were built and dedicated in the period 1921-1922 although one or two were a little later (Creich – 1923 and Helmsdale – 1924). As a consequence many will be marking their centenaries over the next year or so.

On Friday 24th June, we held a service of Commemoration and Rededication at the Dornoch War Memorial at the foot of Poles Road. On top of this impressive memorial there is a magnificent sculpture of a 5th Seaforth Highlander at Beaumont Hamel in about 1916. It was produced by Alexander Carrick and shows the soldier looking south towards the battlefields. 

At the service, pipes were played, prayers were said, wreaths were laid and we had a two minute silence as we remembered the fallen. Young people planted small wooden crosses one for each of the 100 names on the memorial and the Young Curators group from History Links told a little of the story of the memorial.

This pattern is likely to be repeated across our region over the coming months:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them. 

photo by Lynne Mahoney

More pictures at the Northern Times.