Strew His Way on Palm Sunday

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This idea comes from the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in Oregon.

What if everyone on Sunday April 5 in the morning, puts a branch on the door of their house or on the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday.

It could be any green branch you can get. This would help, despite the social distancing, to be connected as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks.

We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the members of the body of Christ. We are the Church.

Sunday 29th March 2020

Scottish Christians* are encouraged to light a candle and place it in their window at 7pm** each Sunday in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are urged to “join in prayerful solidarity with this witness”, describing the candle as “a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, the source of hope in this life.

The following prayer can be used when lighting the candle:

For all that is good in life, thank you,
For the love of family and friends, thank you,
For the kindness of good neighbour and Samaritan stranger, thank you.

May those who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless, experience support,
May those who are sick, know healing,
May those who are anxious or bereaved, sense comfort.

Bless and guide political leaders and decision-makers, with wisdom,
Bless and guide health workers and key workers, with strength and well-being,
Bless and guide each one of us, as we adapt to a new way of living.

And may the light shining from our windows,
across road and wynd, glen and ben, kyle and isle,
be reflected in our hearts and hands and hopes.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

* These include the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, the United Free Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregational Federation in Scotland, the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, and Redeemed Christian Church of God.

** Please take all necessary fire precautions when using a lit candle. Ensure you remain with the lit candle at all times, and do not leave it to burn if you leave the room. Ensure there are no fabrics or materials such as curtains near the candle.

Churches Now Closed

Following the directive from Boris Johnson this evening (23rd March) and updated guidance from the College of Bishops, our Churches will no longer be open to the public for either services or private prayer.  So from now on we must all pray at home.

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

National Day of Prayer – Sunday 22nd March 2020

Churches in Scotland* have joined together to Call for a National Day of Prayer in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taking place on Sunday 22 March, people of faith are being encouraged to light a candle and place it in their window at 7pm.**

We are urged to “join in prayerful solidarity with this witness”, describing the candle as “a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, the source of hope in this life.

The following prayer can be used when lighting the candle:

For all that is good in life, thank you,
For the love of family and friends, thank you,
For the kindness of good neighbour and Samaritan stranger, thank you.

May those who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless, experience support,
May those who are sick, know healing,
May those who are anxious or bereaved, sense comfort.

Bless and guide political leaders and decision-makers, with wisdom,
Bless and guide health workers and key workers, with strength and well-being,
Bless and guide each one of us, as we adapt to a new way of living.

And may the light shining from our windows,
across road and wynd, glen and ben, kyle and isle,
be reflected in our hearts and hands and hopes.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

* These include the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, the United Free Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregational Federation in Scotland, the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, and Redeemed Christian Church of God.

** Please take all necessary fire precautions when using a lit candle. Ensure you remain with the lit candle at all times, and do not leave it to burn if you leave the room. Ensure there are no fabrics or materials such as curtains near the candle.

Charity Shop Closure


St Finnbarr’s Charity Shop will be closed from tomorrow (18th March) until further notice.

We are really sorry to have to do this, but the decision has been taken in the light of government advice issued yesterday. The advice is to avoid contact with others and to stop non-essential travel to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. It is also highly likely that from the coming weekend particularly vulnerable groups including over 70’s may be required to stay at home. We need to protect Charity Shop volunteers as well as the general public so with great regret we have to close until further notice.

We would ask please that people do not leave bags of donations outside the shop as we have nowhere to store them.

Thank you all for your generosity in shopping with us and for donating goods to sell. We look forward to seeing you all again when we are able to reopen. We will be back!

Coronavirus and the Scottish Episcopal Church – 17 March 2020

The College of Bishops today provided guidance as follows. It should also be emphasised that in a rapidly changing situation, the guidance that follows must be regarded as subject to any public health guidance or direction, which must take precedence.

  1. Advice issued last night by the Scottish Government is to the effect that church services should cease. Consequently, the Bishops ask that all gatherings for worship, including small gatherings such as house groups, should be discontinued until further notice.
  2. Church buildings can be kept open as a place for people to come and pray. However, if a church is open for private prayer, notices should be clearly displayed asking that visitors wash their hands on entry to the church.
  3. The province is working on plans to make worship available online. The bishops encourage participation in the broader Eucharistic life of the church in this way and emphasise the such online involvement is a form of participation in the Eucharistic community, even though participants cannot physically partake of the bread or wine.
  4. The taking of funerals may give rise to specific concerns. It may simply not be possible for family relatives or friends of the deceased’s to be able to attend a funeral service as usual. However, clergy can still take a funeral at the graveside or crematorium, even if those present are limited to clergy and funeral directors.
  5. In the light of the public health recommendation that non-essential travel should not be undertaken, it is clearly inappropriate to continue with meetings which would draw people from a wider area – such as regional gatherings. Institutions, licensings etc will need to be dealt with differently from normal.

The full Guidance can be read at: https://www.scotland.anglican.org/coronavirus-updates/

In East Sutherland and Tain we will be following this advice and so all scheduled services and meetings will not now be taking place until further notice.

Subject to making arrangements for the opening and closing of the buildings, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch and St Andrew’s, Tain will be open for private prayer at those times when there would have been services taking place but this will be for the purpose of allowing individuals to pray or meditate quietly on their own.

None of this means that ministry and pastoral care will cease, it’s just that we will need to carry it out in new and creative ways. Contact and communication can still be maintained over the telephone, by email or other electronic means and you are all  encouraged to use these means to keep in contact with the clergy and others in the congregations, when you feel that it would be helpful or if you need advice.  You shouldn’t suffer alone and we can pray together over the phone.

The clergy will be considering how best to provide regular information and material (such as reflections and prayers) to assist in your spiritual welfare and will make arrangements for such communication to be available to all whether or not you have access to the Internet.

Blessings
James

 

Food Bank Collection Coffee Morning – 24th March

The Food Bank Collection Coffee Morning scheduled for Tuesday 24th March at the Dornoch Social Club, will now operate as a Foodbank Drop Off only.

All contributions will be gratefully received at:

the Ramp Doorway

of the Dornoch Social Club

between 10am and 12 Noon

on Tuesday 24th March.

Thank you in anticipation.