No room at the inn?- Sermon for Christmas Eve 2017

Scripture Reading: Luke 2.1-7

No room at the inn?

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

‘…there was no room for them to stay in the inn’.

Those last words of our Bible reading tonight are terrible words. There is no room for a woman, who has travelled a long way, and who is about to give birth. No room for her faithful husband, who has come all from Nazareth with her, because the Emperor Augustus demanded it. No room for the child who is born, not even a place to lay him- just an animal feeding trough. Continue reading

The Word is not a Book- reflection for Service of Lessons and Carols, 24 December 2017

The Prologue to John’s Gospel is one of my favourite Bible passages. Normally, it’s the stories I enjoy most. But this most mysterious of passages is the one which puts the stories into context. For this is how we make sense of the Christmas story, how we make sense of all the stories of the Bible, how we make sense of Christ:

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’.

Continue reading

Funeral Announcement – Dr Neil Turner Bratten

Dr Bratten, 11 Harris Road, Inverness, died at Raigmore Hospital on Monday 18 December 2017.

He was 88 years of age.

Dr Bratten’s funeral will be held on Friday 5 January 2018 at 1.30pm at John Fraser & Son Service Room.

Interment at 2.30pm at Kilvean Cemetery, Kilvean Road, Inverness IV3 8JN.

The funeral Director is John Fraser & Son, 17-19 Chapel Street, Inverness IV1 1NA (01463 233366).

Funeral Announcement – Mrs Nora McKinnon

Mrs Nora McKinnon, 49a Muirfield Road, Inverness, died on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

She was 93 years of age.

Mrs McKinnon’s funeral will be held on Thursday 4 January 2017 at 12 noon at St Stephen’s Church, Southside Road, Inverness IV2 4XA.  Thereafter to Inverness Crematorium, Kilvean Road, Inverness IV3 8JN.

The funeral director is William T Fraser & Son, Culduthel Road, Inverness (01463 243232).

Praising with Mary: Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent 17 December 2017

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-55

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


She has been called Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Church, Madonna. Her image has appeared on some of the most sublime art ever created- but she has also been the inspiration of some terrible kitsch. She has been regarded by some as a model of womanhood and the perfection of motherhood. But she’s also been seen as been seen as a damaging role model for women. There are Christians who have made her the object of devotion: she has inspired popular prayers and beautiful music. And then there are Christians who just seem to ignore her. She is the Mary, and today we can’t ignore her. Because it’s soon going to be Christmas. Continue reading

Death of Mrs Helen Anderson, widow of former minister the Rev Colin Anderson

Congregation members will be sad to hear of the death in Glasgow this week of Helen Anderson, the widow of our previous Minister, the Rev Colin Anderson.

Helen and Colin were at Old High St Stephen’s from 1994 until Colin’s retirement in 2003. Colin died in 2011.

The Very Rev John Miller will conduct Helen’s funeral service at Clydebank Crematorium on Friday 22 December at 2.30pm.

Please contact us if you require further information.

Please remember Helen’s their sons David and Peter and their families in your prayers.

Sunday Bulletin for 10 December 2017

UPCOMING WORSHIP over Christmas and New Year: Click here.

PASTORAL CARE Peter, or the Rev Arthur Sinclair, our Pastoral Assistant, should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.

SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP will meet every Sunday through Advent (considering the section of Woodhouse’s book entitled Prayer), responding to the call at the recent Congregational Retreat to reflect prayerfully on what we may be being asked to do in 2018 and beyond. If anyone would like to join us, even intermittently, contact Andrew Stevenson.

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH AND COMMUNITY CHOIRS present Songs for Christmas. 20/21 December, 7.30pm. St Stephen’s. Tickets £8 (includes refreshments) from Choir members: proceeds to Breast Cancer Care. Ken Cantlay.

FOOD FOR FAMILIES Following yet another successful year of the Food for Families project, Ann and David Sutherland have extended their generosity to provide the mince for the Food for Families project once again. Local suppliers provide other donations. Last year the project provided 3,057 meals, which was a fantastic effort from all the teams involved, and be assured all meals were gratefully received by individuals and families who were in need. We hope to maintain the number of meals delivered this year. Over the six years of providing this service we have all helped to provide 15,709 meals! This year we are making vegetable soup for week commencing 4 December and macaroni for week commencing 8 January. All ingredients are supplied. Contact Christine MacKenzie

CHRISTMAS MEET & EAT Thursday 14 December at 12.30pm at Craigmonie Hotel. To book, contact Val Cantlay. Transport available.

HIGHLAND FOODBANK To try to make Christmas a little more bearable for those who need to use the Foodbank over the festive period you are asked to donate any long life hard goods, tinned items or biscuits during December. These will be very much appreciated by those who find themselves in need over Christmas. Thank you. Bill Guthrie.

ST STEPHEN’S GIVING TREE Gifts for Beechwood, Cale House, Manna House, Mackenzie Centre, Hilton Village (Social Work), Porterfield Prisoners’ Children, and Barnardo’s Springboard (toiletries for vulnerable youngsters aged 16 to 20 years). Please wrap your gift and remember to attach the appropriate gift tag for ease of identification and distribution. Please ensure that any remaining gifts are handed in to me no later than Wednesday 13 for distribution by 15 December. Further details from Cliff Sim.

THE OLD HIGH GIVING TREE in the East Corridor. Gifts for homeless people in the area; suggested donations include gloves, socks, scarves, pants or warm hats. A little extra such as a Mars bar or some sweets would be a nice surprise. Gateway have advised that at present 15 ladies and 20 gentlemen are homeless but additional gifts would be appreciated for unexpected situations. Wrapped gifts should be returned by Sunday 17 December. Sheila MacLeod or Diana Fraser

OLD HIGH FLOWER LIST 2018 is now being prepared- there are a few spaces available. To add your name to the list please contact Sally McCubbin.

FUNDRAISING BAKE SALE By popular request Anna Kelly will hold another bake sale as part of her fundraising for her year in Nepal on 17 December after the service at St Stephens. It will have a festive theme with tablet on sale too. She looks forward to seeing you there. Donate at Anna’s JustGiving page: .

CAMERON HOUSE The retiring offerings held in August, September, October and November raised the magnificent sum of £850 for Cameron House. Sincere thanks for such a generous response. Sandy Cumming.

MAGAZINE Distributors can collect bundles today. Jennifer Morrison.

CROSSREACH CATALOGUES available at the church doors. There is a good selection of cards and wrapping paper. Rae Swan.

CROSSREACH OLD STAMPS How to collect and prepare UK and foreign stamps, both current and past issue. Trim to between 4mm and 8mm thickness of border around each stamp. Please do not soak stamps off paper. Separate foreign and UK stamps. Rare stamps and collections can also be of high value, as can coins and postcards that are no longer in circulation. Collection boxes are available in both churches. Alternatively post to CrossReach, Charis House, 47 Milton Road East, Edinburgh EH15 2SR.

GOING FORWARD SURVEY AND CONGREGATIONAL RETREAT We are very sorry that those who attended the Congregational Retreat on 4 November did not get the chance to discuss the Community Survey by Kerrera Wilson and the proposals for outreach projects. As we did promise that that would happen, we propose to hold another, shorter meeting solely for the congregation to give feedback on the proposals. This will take place on the morning of Saturday 20 January 2018- please keep your diary free! The report and proposals are available on our website .

SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to the Church Administrator invernesschurch<a> Pat is on annual leave Tuesday 5 December to Friday 15 December- send any extra items to Peter.


VOCATIONS INFORMATION DAY Saturday 10 February 2018 at The Conforti Institute, Coatbridge. For those with an interest in Ministry of Word and Sacrament, Diaconal Ministry or Readership, and as a much wider exploration of the ministry of the whole people of God; compulsory for potential candidates for ministry. For more information, speak to the Minister.

Christmas and New Year Services

Christmas flyer 2

Do join us for our Christmas services!

Christmas Eve is a Sunday this year, so we will celebrate the last Sunday of Advent with a service of Lessons and Carols at the Old High. Christmas Eve sees evening services at St Stephen’s, and there are our usual services for Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day at St Stephen’s Church.

Download our Christmas flyer here.

Sunday 17 December 2017: The Third Sunday of Advent

10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s

11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High


Sunday 24 December: The Fourth Sunday of Advent

11.15am Service of Lessons and Carols at the Old High Church

(Congregational Service: no services at St Stephen’s on Sunday Morning)

Sunday 24 December: Christmas Eve

6.30pm Christmas Eve All-Age Service at St Stephen’s

11.15am Watchnight Service at St Stephen’s

Monday 25 December: Christmas Day

10am Christmas Day All-Age Service at St Stephen’s

Tuesday 26 December: St Stephen’s Day

10am: St Stephen’s Day service with Communion at St Stephen’s

Sunday 31 December 2017: The First Sunday of Christmas

10am: Morning Worship at St Stephen’s

11.15am: Morning Worship at Old High

both services led by Rev Arthur Sinclair, Pastoral Assistant

Sunday 7 January 2018: Baptism of the Lord

10am: Morning Worship at St Stephen’s

11.15am: Morning Worship at Old High

The Baptist’s Cry: Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent, 10 December 2017

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 40.1-11

Mark 1:1-8

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

This is the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1.1)

And so begins the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel with which we will largely be living with in the coming Christian year. Mark is thought by the scholars to be the earliest Gospel written. It is certainly the shortest. And Mark is always direct and to the point. His style is vigorous, almost breathless, as he tells the story of Christ without very much in the way of elaboration. Continue reading