I will follow, but… Sermon for 30 June 2013 (Proper 8)

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 30 June 2013: Year C, Proper 8

SERMON
Texts: Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Luke 9:51-62

I will follow, but…
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

The beginning of our Gospel reading is one of the great turning points of Jesus’ ministry. Luke tells us, ‘As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made us his mind and out on his way to Jerusalem’ (Luke 9.51). That can be translated also as ‘he fixed his face firmly to go to Jerusalem’ (Barclay, DSB Luke, p129), which hints at a grim determination behind this decision, the determination of man who knows what is right, decides to do what is right, but is well aware that doing what is right will lead to conflict and suffering. Continue reading

Old High Hall- proposed Elderly Care Centre

You may have heard of a proposal to use the Old High Hall for a resource centre for the elderly. It is thought that a place where older people can meet in the city centre will fill an important need for Inverness, as we continue to face a greater number of elderly persons in the community.

The Kirk Session is examining a proposal from Friendship Services, a local charity who also operate the Dunbar Centre across the road from the Old High. Friendship Services are now undertaking a feasibility study, to be carried out by the University of the Highlands and Islands, into whether there is a need for such an elderly care facility. Over the next few months they will be distributing questionnaires and holding meetings for older people in order to find out about their needs and wants. We have agreed to help them be in touch with older people within our own congregation. However we have not yet agreed to use Old High Hall for this purpose.

The Old High Hall is well used by the community, but less so by the congregation. It requires considerable investment to bring it up to modern standards. If the elderly care proposal goes ahead it will likely attract funds which could be used to modernize the hall, we would receive a rent for its use, and it would provide an important service to the community.

However the Session is a long way off from deciding that to agree to the use of the hall for this purpose. We are still digesting the results of Future Focus, and we may well develop other plans for the use of the hall in future. Friendship Services know that the Kirk Session might well decide to do something else with the hall which would mean it could not be used by them.

So, the proposal is at a very early stage, and no decisions have yet been taken. The feasibility study going ahead over the summer does not imply that the Session has made a final decision about using the Old High Hall in this way. We do not know whether there is a need for an elderly centre in the city centre, nor whether the Old High Hall is suitable or could be adapted for such a sure, nor whether we would wish the hall used for this purpose. There are many questions still to be answered!

The Session will keep the congregation informed whenever there are new developments. If you would like to know more, please contact the Minister.

Poet Kenneth Steven is Old High Summer Evening Guest Speaker on 30 June

Poet Kenneth Steven will speak at the Old High Church summer evening service on 30 June 2013 at 7.30pm.

Kenneth Steven, writer, author of children’s books and poet, is published by St Andrew’s Press, and his poetry regularly appears in Life and Work, the magazine of the Church of Scotland.

Over the past 20 years, Kenneth Steven has become one of the country’s most popular poets. Drawing on a quiet Celtic spirituality and a love of wild Scotland, his engaging poetry offers us something beautiful, evocative, moving and captivating. He is also a highly successful broadcaster, featuring regularly on national radio. His BBC Radio 4 documentary on the island of St Kilda won him a prestigious Sony Award.

You can see a video of Kenneth Steven speaking and reciting some of his poetry here.

Kenneth Steven will speak following the evening service at the Old High at 7.30pm on Sunday 30 June. After his talk there will be tea and cake and a short question and answer session.

For more details, please leave a comment!

Lunchtime concert at the Old High, 22 June: Aurora String Quartet

The Aurora String Quartet will play in the historic Old High Church on Saturday 22 June, 12 noon to 1pm.

Programme:

Franz Schubert: Quartett-Satz D703
Ross Edwards: Ecstatic Dance for two violins
Maurice Ravel: String Quartet

Entry by donation to the Highland Hospice and the Archie Foundation.

We look forward to hearing them in the historic surroundings of the Old High Church.

Please leave a comment if you would like more information.

‘Are you the king or aren’t you?’- a sermon about Naboth’s Vineyard- 16 June 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 16 June 2013: Year C, Proper 6- Father’s Day
SERMON
Texts: Galatians 2.15-16 and 20-21
1 Kings 21.1-21a
‘Are you the king or aren’t you?’
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

What a great and terrible story is today’s Old Testament tale. King Ahab covets a nice property near his palace- he wants a vegetable garden (perhaps a vegetable garden was a status symbol for kings back then). Naboth has a vineyard on the site, and Ahab offers him good money for it, or even a swap to another vineyard. But these are not the best of times in Israel. Continue reading

UHI Principal James Fraser: The Church & Universities- Faith in a University Community

(Our next Old High Summer Evening Service will feature poet Kenneth Steven. Click here for more details.)

James M Fraser is Principal & Vice Chancellor of the University of the Highlands & Islands. He gave this talk as part of the summer evening series at the Old High Church on 9 June 2013.

The Church & Universities– Faith in a University Community

Thank you for inviting me to talk here tonight.

What I am going to say might be titled The Church & Universities –Faith in a University Community. Continue reading

Proposed Cameron Highlanders Memorial Area

Memorial area illustration

The Old High Church was the regimental church of the former Cameron Highlanders Regiment. The Church houses their colours, various memorials, and rolls of honour (memorial books).

We are planning to bring together various memorials of the Cameron Highlanders into a new space within the Church. This Memorial Area will be located along the wall nearest the river.

The centrepiece will be the Martinpuich Cross, which will be relocated from the west stairwell. The Cameron Highlanders’ roll of honour books, war memorial plaques and other historic artefacts from around the church will also be moved to the area.

The memorial area will be created by removing some pews below the balcony, near the pulpit. It will be separated from the main body of the church by a wooden partition topped by a frosted glass screen featuring a striking design by Gordon Harvey. Click the link below to download the design (NB this is a large PDF file which may take some time to load. You have have to turn it 90 degrees to view on your computer. The design is liable to change):

Gordon Harvey’s design for memorial area

As well as a space for remembering, we hope the memorial area will also become an

The Martinpuich Cross, currently hidden away on the east stairwell

The Martinpuich Cross, currently hidden away on the east stairwell

exhibition space and an informal gathering place within the church.

Plans are now on display within the Old High (currently open 10am to 12 noon most weekdays), and in the transept of St Stephen’s.

It is hoped that the work can be completed by 18 August, when the Cameron Highlanders Association- who have raised funds for the memorials space- will join us at Sunday worship during the weekend of their annual gathering. 2013 marks  the 220th Anniversary  of the raising of the 79th Regiment or Cameron Volunteers by Major Allan Cameron of Erracht.

You can also see the plans online by clicking the graphic above.

You can make comments or ask questions using the comments box below.

Sermon for the dedication of the Cameron Highlanders Memorial Area

Sermon for the anniversary of the Battle of Kohima

The following information has been provided by Angus Fairrie of the Cameron Highlanders Association, whose members have raised the funds for this project.

THE REGIMENTAL CHURCH OF THE QUEEN’S OWN CAMERON HIGHLANDERS

Under the Army Reforms of 1881 the County of Inverness formed the major part of the Regimental District of The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, while the Regimental Depot and Headquarters were established at Cameron Barracks. There was no church in the barracks, and so the Old High Church in Inverness became the Regimental Church of the Cameron Highlanders.

During World War I the Cameron Highlanders expanded to fourteen battalions. At the end of the Great War the Service battalions of the New Army were each presented with a King’s Colour to mark their war service. When these battalions were disbanded, the King’s Colours of the 6th and 7th Service Battalions of the Cameron Highlanders were laid up in the Old High Church. After the Depot of the Cameron Highlanders closed in 1960, the Colours of the 3rd Militia Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders, which had been used by the Depot, were also laid up in the Old High Church. They have recently been restored and re-hung.

Other interesting items relating to the Cameron Highlanders include the Celtic Cross erected by the 6th Service Battalion during the Battle of the Somme when it had played a distinguished part in the attack on the village of Martinpuich. The Cross, to which the names of those killed were attached on metal tags, was recovered at the end of the war and brought back to the Old High Church.

The Rolls of Honour of the Cameron Highlanders, which are copies of those in the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle, are also displayed. Other memorial plaques from the Depot were presented after the amalgamation of the Cameron Highlanders with the Seaforth Highlanders in 1961 to form the Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons).

The present Minister and congregation of Old High St Stephen’s have decided that the Colours of the Cameron Highlanders, and the other items, should be brought together to form a fitting memorial to those who have given their lives in the service of their country and their Regiment in both World Wars, and in other conflicts.

Angus Fairrie
Convener of The Cameron Highlanders Association

Lunchtime concerts at the Old High Church, summer 2013

Accordion, strings, woodwind and the historic Old High Willis Organ feature in a series of lunchtime concerts at the Old High Church, beginning on Saturday 15 June

One of the conditions of the grants from The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Common Good Fund was to set up recitals and concerts in the Old High following the restoration of the organ.

After a quiet year in 2012 a short programme of recitals has been arranged for this year. It is hoped that over the winter a full programme will be organised and published for 2014.

This summer’s recitals are:

Saturday 15 June at 12.30pm: James Ross and Robert Wallace – Clarinet and Button Accordion

 

 

 

 

 

Old High-1Saturday 22 June: Aurora String Quartet

Programme:

Franz Schubert: Quartett-Satz D703
Ross EdwardsEcstatic Dance for two violins
Maurice Ravel: String Quartet

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 21 September: Merlewood Ensemble

Catherine O’Rourke (flute), Margot Cruft (oboe), Isabel Paterson (violin), Alistair Nelson (viola), Imke Henderson (‘cello),  Gordon Tocher (keyboard)

Having been established for over 10 years, performing successful concerts throughout the Scottish Highlands, from Skye to Banff, the Merlewood Ensemble play  chamber music concerts by classically trained musicians who live in the Highlands. A versatile 6 – piece chamber group, performing a varied repertoire of music for strings, woodwind, voice  and keyboard including solos, duets, trios, quartets and full ensemble.

Richard SteeleSaturday 12 October: Recital on the historic Willis Organ with Richard Steele MA BMus FRCO FRAM GRSM HonRCM.

Richard Steele studied organ at the Royal Academy of Music, took a London University BMus and then gained a PGCE at Cambridge University. He is the son-in-law of one of our elders, Diana Fraser.

All recitals at 12 noon, except for the first (at 12.30) and will last one hour.

Donations welcome for The Highland Hospice and The Archie Foundation Raigmore Childrens Ward Appeal.

Faith- not of human origin? A sermon for Proper 5, 9 June 2013

Widow of NainOld High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 9 June 2013: Year C, Proper 5

SERMON
Texts: Galatians 1.11-24
Luke 7.11-17

Faith- not of human origin?

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

‘Jesus gave him back to his mother’.

‘His mother’ was a widow. When she had been a little girl, she was her father’s daughter. Her father was the undisputed head of the household. His wife and children were completely reliant on him, for only he could own property, and what happened to whatever money came into the house, was his decision Continue reading

UHI Principal to speak at Old High Church on St Columba’s Day

James Fraser, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands will speak at the Old High Church this Sunday, 9 June at 7.30pm.

A member of the Free Church of Scotland, Mr Fraser will reflect on faith in an academic setting, and what role the churches can have in caring for students as the new UHI campus is built in Inverness.

The event, which is open to all begins with worship for St Columba’s Day (this year is the 1450th anniversary of Columba’s arrival on Iona).

After Mr Fraser’s talk there will be refreshments and a question and answer session.

Highlander James Fraser attended Plockton High School in Ross-shire. He gained an MA (Hons) in Mental Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh in 1971 and went on to become a lecturer in English and Liberal Studies at Inverness Technical College, now Inverness College UHI.

In 1977 he took up an administrative post in the Academic Registry of the University of Stirling, gaining promotion in 1980 to assistant registrar. He graduated with an M.Ed from the University of Stirling in 1983.

In 1987 he was appointed secretary of Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh, now Queen Margaret University. From 1972 to 1979 James also worked part-time with the Open University as a tutor on some of its arts courses.

He was appointed as secretary to Paisley College of Technology in 1989. Paisley was granted university status in 1992 and James remained as university secretary until 2002 when he joined UHI Millennium Institute, forerunner to our university, as secretary. In 2007 he became UHI deputy principal and secretary.

He took over as UHI principal in 2009 and became vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands in February 2011.

The other guest speakers at the Old High this summer are:
30 June 2013: Kenneth Steven, writer, author and poet
21 July 2013: Rev John L. Bell, Iona Community member, hymnwriter, lecturer, broadcaster on ‘the strange silence of Biblical women’.
11 August 2013: Rev Martin Johnstone, Priority Areas Secretary of the Church of Scotland and Chief Executive of Faith in Community Scotland