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

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. (

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. (

Holy Saturday, 8.30pm: The Easter Vigil will be led by the Primus, the Most Rev Mark Strange, from his home in Arpafeelie. (

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. (

Full details of how to access the services will be available on the SEC website here. (

The Liturgies for Holy Week will be available to download before each broadcast service here. (

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:

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.



Holy Week and Easter 2020

Palm Sunday 5th April 

8.15am Eucharist, St Maelrubha’s, Lairg*

11.00am Eucharist, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

11.00am Eucharist, St Andrew’s, Tain

6.00pm Eucharist, St Columba’s, Brora

Monday 6th April 

7.00pm Evening Prayer and Reflection, St Andrew’s Tain

Tuesday 7th April 

7.00pm Evening Prayer and Reflection, St Andrew’s, Tain

Wednesday 8th April

10.30am Eucharist, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

7.00pm Stations of the Cross, St Andrew’s, Tain

Maundy Thursday 9th April

11.30am Chrism Mass, Inverness Cathedral

7.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Watch in the Garden, St Andrew’s, Tain

Good Friday 10th April

10.15am Walk of Witness from Bonar Bridge to Ardgay (Start outside Creich Health Centre in Bonar Bridge)

10.00am for 10:30am Walk of Witness in Brora (Start at the Scout and Guide Hall, Brora)

10.30am Walk of Witness to Tain Rose Garden (Start at St Vincent’s RC Church)
11:00am Praise, Prayer, Entertainment and Refreshments, Tain Rose Garden

2.00pm Good Friday Meditations, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

7.00pm Tenebrae and Communion, St Andrew’s, Tain

Holy Saturday 11th April

8.00pm, Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

Easter Day 12th April

8.15am Eucharist, St Maelrubha’s ,Lairg*

11.00am Eucharist, St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch

11.00am Eucharist, St Andrew’s, Tain

Tuesday 28th April 

5.30pm Prayer and Praise for Easter, Kyle of Sutherland Hub, Bonar Bridge

Morning Prayer in Holy Week

During Holy Week Morning Prayer will be said at St Andrew’s Tain at the following times:

Mon-Tues at 10.00am; Wed-Fri at 9.00am; Sat at 10.00am

*meets in Church of Scotland, Lairg by kind permission.

We wish you Christ’s Blessing and Peace

Christians Together @ the Hub – 28th January

We are all God’s children !

Come and join us for a quiet, candle-lit time

of reflection,music and poetry

as we welcome 2020

and pray for hope in troubled times

@ “The Hub”

Tuesday 28thJanuary @ 5.30pm

followed by coming together with a “cuppa”

in the Hub Cafe!

Any church or none,all are welcome

Choral Evensong – 26th January 2020

Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness

You are warmly invited to

Choral Evensong

at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness,

on Sunday, 26th January, at 5.30 pm.

During this service Bishop Mark will install the new Diocesan Registrar

Mr John Smart.

WJM Inverness

Clergy may robe if they wish.

Refreshments will be served afterwards

RSVP: Diocesan Office 01463 237503 or

As part of the service choirs and singers from around the Diocese are invited to join the Cathedral choir to sing Evensong.

Guest singers will rehearse from 3pm in the Chapter House and then be joined by the Cathedral Choir at 4pm in the Cathedral to rehearse ahead of the service at 5.30pm.

The music for the day will be:

  • Brewer in D (Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis)
  • King of Glory Bach/Harris (Anthem)
  • The setting/responses will be by Smith.

If you would like, either as a Choir or as an individual, please RSVP with numbers and whether SATorB and if you have access to copies of the music.  This is to ensure that we have sufficient music etc. for everyone singing and to provide refreshments for the singers.

No midweek services over New Year


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.