Homelessness and poverty event: Sunday 26 January

PRESS RELEASE FROM: Willie Morrison on behalf of Old High St Stephen’s Church

22 Jan 2014

For further information please contact the Rev Peter Nimmo on 01463 250802

Sunday kirk supper and drama to highlight local poverty

A city centre congregation is to highlight the plight of homeless in Inverness and the Highlands in a novel way, with a supper and a dramatised reading of the New Testament parable of the Prodigal Son.

This move, by Old High St Stephen’s congregation, in conjunction with Inverness Church of Scotland Presbytery, is its contribution to Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, a major national publicity drive to help the poorest in our society, which starts on Saturday.

The week features many memorable events at both local and national levels – from inspiring events featuring young people taking action for a better world, to hearings where people bravely share their experiences of poverty and homelessness.

The Inverness event, which takes place at Old High St Stephen’s Church Halls, Academy Street, on Sunday evening from 6pm, also features talks by and conversations with Dr Paul Monaghan and Alex Gilchrist of Highland Homeless Trust, who will emphasise the constant and increasing cries locally for help in the current financial climate.

Old High St Stephen’s minister the Rev Peter Nimmo said:

It is a chance for us to eat and meet, to worship and to learn first-hand of the issues, and for us, as followers of Jesus, to reflect on how we can use our gifts in response to this need. This invitation to join us and hear of these problems is being extended to folk of all faiths or none. All who are interested are welcome.

Congregation member and leading organiser Iain Todd, who is also a Church of Scotland reader – a trained and experienced lay preacher – remarked:

The aim of the evening is for all faiths or none to come together to listen, and perhaps learn, from two of the many professionals at work in our city with folk who are really struggling with issues of homelessness, poverty and the changes to the benefits system and who often, in their vulnerability and of necessity, find themselves drawn down the pay day loan route with its legal, but punitive interest rates.
Pay day loans are accepted by all as being awful things – and since the UK Government did away with crisis loans, and the new benefit system is paid a month in arrears, desperate folk who have no money are being sucked into the Wonga and Cash Converters of this world who charge horrendous rates.
I have a wee friend who recently told me she had borrowed £200, which will cost her £300 to repay.”

Mr Todd also spoke of an acquaintance who had told him he didn’t believe there was any real poverty in Inverness , and who insisted: “Define poverty for me. I bet they all have big plasma televisions.”

He said credit unions were not the answer for folk in dire poverty, as they were more akin to saving schemes, and would not respond to pleas for immediate cash.

And he concluded: “All are welcome on Sunday evening to listen, learn and maybe respond.”

Footnote: Inverness Food Bank, set up in 2005 at the Free Church Hall in Madras Street , and supported by many local churches and other organisations, now distributes emergency supplies to thousands of needy Highland families each year, and has the unenviable reputation of being one of the busiest of its kind in Britain .

ENDS

Concert: Layla Wind Quintet at the Old High Church, Saturday 1 February at 12 noon

 

 

Catherine O’RourkeThe 2014 season of music at the Old High Church in Inverness starts at noon on Saturday 1 February.

Local musicians the Layla Wind Quintet will play works from Mozart to Amos.

Admission free. Donation this year are in aid of Music Therapy at the Orchard Centre.

The quintet is led by Catherine O’Rourke (above). Catherine is Principal Flautist with the Highland Chamber Orchestra  and the Merlewood Ensemble. She plays flute for and both flute and piano with “Aeolus”.  She teaches flute at Aberdeen University, Aberdeen City Music School and the North East of Scotland Music School. She is employed by Highland Region as a Woodwind Tutor, and provides coaching to the Highland Youth Regional Orchestra and the Highland Schools Wind Band.

Well pleased! Sermon for 12 Januray 2014 (Baptism of the Lord)

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 12 January 2014: Year A, Baptism of the Lord

SERMON
Texts: Isaiah 42:1-9
Matthew 3:13-17

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

Back in October there was lots in the news about a baptism. The christening of Prince George made for lots of pictures in the papers and royal gossip. In an age when fewer and fewer families think about having their children baptised, it’s commendable that the royal family still goes ahead with the ceremony. Today, however, we are remembering another baptism- what would call, in a sense, the first ever Christian baptism. It was a very different event than the private service in the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace, presided over by a bishop and an archbishop, and attended by royalty. Today we are thinking about a ritual carried out by a man in animal skins, baptising a carpenter, in a muddy river in front of a large crowd.

John the BaptistFor me, John the Baptist frames the New Year. We meet him in Advent, preaching repentance and God’s judgement. But he says he’s not the main man. For he speaks of ‘the one who will come after me’ who, he says, ‘will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’. John makes the one who will come after him sound pretty scary- he says of him: ‘He is much greater than I am. He has his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out’ (Matthew 3.12). Continue reading

I wish it could be Christmas every day: a sermon on John 1 for 5 January 2014

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness

Sunday 5 January 2014: Year A, Second Sunday of Christmas

SERMON 

So the decorations will soon be down. The last farewells have been made to family and friends who came to visit. We are beginning to return to work, to normality, when we once again can remember what day of the week it is. There may be some few reminders of Christmas left. In our house, still we’re eating Christmas pudding this week, bought cheap after the New Year because on Christmas Eve I bought too much brandy butter, and it seems a shame to put it to waste! But what other reminders of Christmas will you take with you into the coming year? Continue reading