Three in One

St Columba’s in Brora has been open for Individual Prayer on a Sunday afternoons for many weeks now, but on today (27th September) the Eucharist was once again celebrated in the “Tin Tabernacle”.

It was a lovely occasion, where we marked a Trinity of events. St Columba’s opened for worship after three years of closure due to fire on 28th September 2019, so this weekend marked the first anniversary of resumption of worship.

It was of course our first service since the start of lock-down in March, some six months ago.

Finally, it was the last service of Don Grant’s period of curacy with us and fittingly, he was presented with a painting of Brora beach, to remind him and Silvia of their time with St Columba’s. Thank you Don for what you have done in Brora over the last twelve months and we all wish you well in the next phase of ministry based out of the Cathedral in Inverness.

We weren’t of course able to have a party to celebrate these things but Claudia spend this morning making individual ‘cup-cake’ birthday cakes with a candle in the middle for each member of the congregation – thanks so much Claudia.

Thanks to everyone who helped to prepare the Church, the flowers and provide us with lovely music during the service and of course everyone who was there filling the Church to almost its (COVID) capacity. St Columba’s will now be open for worship each Sunday at 4pm.

Midweek in St Andrew’s from 16th September

From this Wednesday (16th September), the afternoon arrangements will change (as agreed at a Vestry meeting last week).

St Andrew’s will no longer be open from 2pm until 4pm for Individual Prayer.

It will however be open:

  • from 5pm until 5:45pm for Individual Prayer 
  • from 6pm until 6:40pm for a Midweek Eucharist 

Both will be in the main Church and those arriving should come to the main Church door (unless they have mobility issues that make getting up the steps tricky).

I hope that you will find these new arrangements helpful.

Many Blessings
James

Worshipping again in St Andrew’s

Today we celebrated our first post-lockdown Service at St Andrew’s in Tain, five months to the day since our last one.  It was good to be back in each other’s company, even if behind a colourful array of masks.

It was a joyous occasion for the all those who were there this morning, with the sun streaming through the windows, as we lit the Paschal Candle and acknowledged Christ as the ‘Light of the World’.

Almighty God,
you sent your Son to be the light of the world
and to bring to your people the radiance of your glory:
set us aflame with the fire of your love,
and renew us in faith and hope,
that we may shine as a light in the world,
and glorify you in our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Preaching about a text that seems to resonate with so much that’s happening just now, James reminded us that “we have to remember is that as well as being fully God, Jesus was also fully human and what I find so refreshing about his encounter with the Canaanite Woman is that we don’t see a goody goody Jesus, we see a real human being, struggling with the difficult decisions and issues that you and I face every day.”

Although we weren’t able to sing, Jamie provided appropriate music on the organ at a number of points in the Service, including the Hallelujah Chorus to leave by.  By next week it will feel a little less strange sitting scattered around the Church  and doing things in a slightly different way from what we are used to.

A big thanks to everyone who contributed in so many ways.

There will now be a Service in St Andrew’s, Tain at 11am each Sunday in addition to the one in St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch, also at 11am each Sunday.

Joyous Return at St Finnbarr’s

Today we celebrated our first post-lockdown Service at St Finnbarr’s in Dornoch.  It was good to be back in each other’s company, even if behind a colourful array of masks.

It was a joyous occasion for the all those who were there this morning with the sun streaming through the windows, as we lit the Paschal Candle and acknowledged Christ as the ‘Light of the World’.

Almighty God,
you sent your Son to be the light of the world
and to bring to your people the radiance of your glory:
set us aflame with the fire of your love,
and renew us in faith and hope,
that we may shine as a light in the world,
and glorify you in our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It was reassuring to hear Simon tell us that although “Jesus doesn’t calm our storms, he’s certainly there with us, because he’s Lord over everything, including the coronavirus, and he comforts us and encourages us with his words and His holy presence“.; just as he comforted the disciples with his presence when they were frightened by the storm.

Although we weren’t able to sing, Caroline provided appropriate music on the organ at a number of point in the Service.  By next week it will feel a little less strange sitting scattered around the Church  and doing things in a slightly different way from what we are used to.

A big thanks to everyone who contributed in so many ways.

There will now be a Service in St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch at 11am each Sunday.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Sunday is Trinity Sunday, when we give voice to one of the central elements of our understanding of God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit or to put it another way Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life.

This year in ‘lockdown‘, we are missing out on singing some of the wonderful hymns which we use on Trinity Sunday, so Simon and Jamie have collaborated using various forms of technological wizardry to help fill the gap.

or with just the audio:

Stations of the Resurrection

During the 40 days from the Resurrection at Easter until the Ascension, Jesus appeared many times to individuals and groups, as our Eucharistic Prayer for this season puts it so beautifully:

Making himself known in the breaking of the bread,
speaking peace to the fearful disciples,
welcoming weary fishers on the shore,
he renewed the promise of his presence,
and of new birth in the Spirit
who sets the seal of freedom on your sons and daughters.

Using some of the passages describing these events, together with short reflections and prayers and some rather wonderful paintings by the French Artist Tissot, Stations of the Resurrection provides the opportunity to see how Jesus came to the Disciples as they tried to make sense of all that had happened and tried to return to their old lives.  Their dreams had been shattered and they found themselves feeling ineffective and discouraged.  If that is how you are feeling in Lockdown then maybe it will give you renewed hope in the future.

 

 

Watch and Wait and Pray

The Watch in the Garden

Today is Maundy Thursday, when Jesus met with His Disciples and shared a Last Supper with them.  Normally on Maundy Thursday, we meet for a very moving service in one of our Churches and we do a number of things that commemorate that last evening together:

Washing the Disciples’ Feet:

During supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.” (John 13:3-5)

Sharing the Last Supper:

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

Watching, Waiting and Praying at Gethsemane:

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’  … Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36, 40-41)

The first two of these we can only do when we can be together, but the third is something that we can all do at home – watch and wait and pray with Jesus in His anguish.  Normally some of the congregation would gather in St Andrew’s Hall and pray silently in front of the small altar on which the Sacrament is placed, surrounded by greenery and candles.

Tonight, Simon and I will both celebrate the Last Supper alone in one of our Churches, “with the people on our hearts”, but at 9pm, we invite each of you to join us sitting in a suitably prepared space with greenery and candles, to pray quietly for one hour.  Praying for our families, our friends, our neighbours, our governments, those who work in the NHS and in other essential services and particularly those in our land and far away who are anxious, unwell or grieving. Pray also for yourselves.

Provincial On-line Services – Holy Week

A programme of SEC Provincial on-line services are available during Holy Week. The broadcasts will be available on YouTube and facebook, and further details will be published on the provincial website at https://www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship/

The schedule is as follows:

Maundy Thursday, 6pm: The Rt Rev Ian Paton & the Rev Canon Dr Carrie Applegarth celebrate a Eucharist from their home in Perth. (https://www.facebook.com/scottishepiscopalchurch/posts/10157686339013891)

Good Friday, 2.30pm: The service will include the Passion Narrative and the Veneration of the Cross, and will be led by the Rt Rev Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney. (https://www.facebook.com/scottishepiscopalchurch/posts/10157686350378891)

Holy Saturday, 8.30pm: The Easter Vigil will be led by the Primus, the Most Rev Mark Strange, from his home in Arpafeelie. (https://www.facebook.com/scottishepiscopalchurch/posts/10157686356863891)

Easter Sunday, 11am: The Rt Rev Ian Paton & the Rev Canon Dr Carrie Applegath will celebrate the Eucharist in private from St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth. (https://www.facebook.com/scottishepiscopalchurch/posts/10157686361463891)

Full details of how to access the services will be available on the SEC website here. (http://www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship/)

The Liturgies for Holy Week will be available to download before each broadcast service here. (https://bit.ly/SECHolyWeekLiturgies)