No midweek services over New Year

Folks,

There are no midweek services on Wednesday 1st January at 10:30am in St Finnbarr’s or Thursday 2nd January at 6:00pm in St Andrew’s.  There is also no Crask service on Saturday 4th January at 5:00pm.  Normal service will be resumed thereafter.

Blessings
James

Where to Celebrate the Birth of Jesus – 2019

All are welcome to share with us in celebrating Christ’s Birth at any of our services in this part of the world:

Dornoch

Dec 10th – Carols for Christian Aid at Dornoch Cathedral at 7:00pm

Dec 24th – Christmas Midnight Sung Eucharist at St Finnbarr’s at 11:00pm

Dec 25th – Christmas Day Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament at St Finnbarr’s at 9:30am

Tain

Dec 22nd – Carol Service at St Andrew’s at 3:00pm

Dec 24th – Christmas Midnight Sung Eucharist at St Andrew’s at 11:00pm

Dec 25th – Christmas Day Sung Eucharist at St Andrew’s at 10:30am

Brora

Dec 24th – Carol Service at St Columba’s at 5:00pm

Dec 25th – Christmas Day Sung Eucharist at St Columba’s at 9:00am

Lairg

Dec 25th – Christmas Day Sung Eucharist in Lairg Parish Church at 8:15am

Crask

Dec 19th – Monthly Thursday service at the Crask Inn at 12 Noon

Dec 28th – Carols at the Crask Inn at 2:00pm

The Hub at Bonar Bridge

Dec 17th – Carols at the Hub at 5:30pm

Tain Carol Service – 22nd Dec 2019

Christmas Carols

St. Andrew’sScottish Episcopal Church

Glebe Crescent, Tain

SUNDAY 22 December

3pm

Followed by Mulled Wine, mince pies & other seasonal refreshments

EVERYONE WELCOME

Advent Study Groups 2019

The topic this year will be “The Theology of Christmas Carols”.

People are often critical of some Carols on the basis that they’re unbiblical:

“What a load of nonsense is written in some Christmas carols. Of course, many are excellent. But along with the gold there is a lot of dross. Take the line in ‘Away in a manger’ which asserts boldly: ‘Little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes’. Really? On what basis is that stated? It’s certainly not in the Bible. And then there is ‘We Three Kings’ – in the Bible: no kings, not three, etc.etc.” – David Barker in Christian Today

Others however take a very different view:

“It’s a kind of bland puritanism which demands literal truism at this level. Next thing we’ll be arguing is that Noah’s ark is parked in Essex, The Good Samaritan was a real bloke called Eli from Shechem and the Johannine vine still grows in an Ephesian cave.” – a post on twitter

Professor Jeremy Begbie from Duke Divinity School and the University of Cambridge, who isn’t in any sense a wooden literalist, when asked whether we should continue to sing traditional carols, said:

“Only with great care. For thousands, carols will be their only link with a church. At the same time, sentimentality is perhaps the single most dangerous feature of our Church and culture—and the sentimental air is never thicker than at Christmas. The Incarnation is messy, dirty, and resonates with the crucifixion. We need a new wave of carol writing that can gradually swill out the nonsense and catch the piercing, joy-through-pain refrains of the New Testament.”

These three sessions will try to cut through all of this and explore what we can learn from a variety of Christmas Carols. We will explore where the ideas come from: the Old or New Testament, the Creeds, Theological Doctrine or simply from the imagination of the writers.

This year there will be two parallel Groups with one session at 2pm on each of the Wednesdays 4th, 11th and 18th at James and Anna’s house in Spinningdale and a second session in the evenings at 7pm in St Andrew’s hall.

Carol, Carol and more Carols …

Copyright BBC

A programme that you may be interested tomorrow evening (9th December) is:

Lucy Worsley’s Christmas Carol Odyssey

It is on BBC Four at 9pm.

The blurb on the BBC web site says:

Lucy Worsley reveals that there’s much more to our best-loved carols than meets the eye. She reveals how their stories add up to a special kind of history of Christmas itself. In the ancient past, the wassail, a pagan fertility ritual, gave us door-to-door carol singing. Wassailing was also an integral part of an older midwinter festival that was adopted by Christianity when it came to Britain, and was rebranded as ‘Christmas’.

Religion, however, soon turned its back on carols. They were far too frivolous for the Puritans, who wanted to ban Christmas altogether. In strict Protestant Britain, the carol survived outside the Church and new ones turned up in some surprising places. Lucy visits the British Library, where she discovers an 18th-century children’s book that contains a little memory game called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmas carols could also be politically dangerous and subversive. 

Eventually, the Church of England couldn’t resist the power of the carol, and finally opened its doors to all of them, thanks to a chance pairing of words and music in Hark the Herald Angels Sing. In the 20th century, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s passion for English folk music took him to the villages of Surrey.

Finally, in the snowy Austrian Alps, Lucy discovers the simple story of a young parish priest with a poem in search of a tune. When he found one, the result was Silent Night. During the First World War, this simple carol would become a hymn for peace during the famous Christmas truce of 1914. Silent Night also reminds us that carols are, and have always been, ‘popular music’, music for the people, fulfilling an enduring need to celebrate and sing together at Christmas.

Copyright BBC