Sunday Bulletin 21 January 2018

NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO TOOK PART IN YESTERDAY’S MEETING ABOUT THE GOING FORWARD PROJECT. We will get back to you with the results as soon as possible.
EMAIL CONTACTS We would like to make more use of email to keep in touch with congregation members and friends. We have email addresses for many people in the congregation, but if we do not have yours, would you please notify our Church Administrator, Pat MacLeod: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com
HOLY COMMUNION will be celebrated at the Old High on Sunday 28 January. All welcome at the Lord’s Table. The Retiring Offering will be in aid of Mikeysline a text-for-support helpline which is supported by a volunteer bank of young people over weekends. It provides a valuable service for young people who are too distressed to talk over the phone. The Hive, is a drop-in centre in Academy Street, which is run by the Mikeysline charity and offers advice for anyone over 17 who feels they need help. www.mikeysline.co.uk.
CRAFT EVENING St Stephen’s Hall 7.30–9pm, Wednesday 24 January. Please come along with your craft or if you wish to learn a craft you will be made very welcome. Knitting, crochet, cross stitch, tapestry and card making but other crafts welcome. Refreshments. Margaret McAleer.
OLD HIGH MUSIC the inaugural recital of the 2018 season will take place on Saturday 10 February at 12 noon, when the University of St Andrews Organist Tom Wilkinson will be our soloist. Tom conducted the Kellie Consort concert in the church last July, experienced by many to be one of the highlights of last year’s events. He specialises in performing music from the Baroque period, so his programme will centre around Vivaldi and JS Bach, though Mendelssohn-lovers will also not be disappointed. Tom has a high reputation in the music world of Scotland, so we are keen to have a good audience to show our appreciation for his trip north. Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>btinternet.com
ALASTAIR YOUNGER has now finished as our Interim Moderator and it has been agreed to give a gift to Alastair in recognition of his assistance to our Congregation during that period. To make a contribution, please either send your donation direct to our Treasurer, or put it in an envelope marked ‘Presentation to Alastair Younger’ and put it in the offering bag. The closing date for contributions is Sunday 28 February.
CROSSREACH Latest newsletter and prayer diary (Feb/May) available at church doors. Rae Swan.
PASTORAL CARE Peter, or the Rev Arthur Sinclair, our Pastoral Assistant, should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to the Church Administrator at invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline is Wednesday at 12 noon. Please keep all items as brief as possible, and include contact details (phone and/or email).
OTHER NEWS
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY: ECUMENICAL SERVICE Sunday 21 January at 6pm, at Culduthel Christian Centre, Culduthel Avenue, Inverness IV2 6AS. Inverness Presbytery are helping to organise this service, which we are hoping will be an opportunity for local Christians from our various denominations to worship together and learn from each other. Please come along if you are able to, and witness to the uniting power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jonathan Appleby jon.wyvis<at>gmail.com
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 or visit http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/serve/ministries_council/education_and_support/vocations-information-day
OXFAM INVERNESS invite you to an open day on Saturday 27 January from 10am to 3pm. Come and see what goes on behind the scenes in our busy Oxfam Shop at 11 Lombard Street, Inverness; no need to book, just call in.Our shop is a great place to meet new people, gain new skills, indulge a hobby, and make a difference! Pamela Nolan oxfamshopf6505<at>oxfam.org.uk
BLYTHSWOOD CARE are looking for an innovative and motivated person with excellent people skills for the charity shop in Academy Street, Inverness (closing date 22 January 2018) and a shop warehouse person for the Dingwall shop, who must be fit for heavy manual lifting. 37.5 hours p/w. Job descriptions/application forms from Barbara Grace personnel<at>blythswood.org or www.blythswood.org

‘Come and see!’- Sermon for 14 January 2018

Scripture Readings: Psalm 139.1-18

John 1:43-51

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

Just after I was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, I had an experience which reminded me that in this job, I would be working with all kinds of people. I was asked to appear on a late night TV show on Scottish Television in Glasgow. The show was called Trial by Night (there is one episode available on YouTube– thankfully not the one featuring me!), and it was presented by a former weatherman. The other guests were a member of parliament, and young women in a leopard skin dress. In the hospitality suite beforehand, I asked the lady what she did. She said she was a writer, and so I asked her what she wrote. She told me she wrote pornographic novels for women. Well, I thought, if I’d never been ordained I would probably never have met someone who wrote pornographic novels! Continue reading

Going Forward Survey: Congregational Retreat

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Congregational Retreat, Saturday 20 January, 10.30am- 12.30pm at St Stephen’s

(Sandwich lunch to follow)

In early 2017, we commissioned a survey of our parish to try to identify needs in the communities we serve which we might be able to meet as a congregation. The Going Forward Survey was completed in August by Kerrera Wilson. We will be discussing the proposals at a Congregational Retreat on Saturday 20 January 2018, at an event led by the Minister.

Download a copy of the full Survey Report PDF image

 

 

PDF imageDownload the Report’s recommendations.

 

 

The suggestions made by the report include the following:

1 Employ a full-time community worker or associate minister for missional purposes.

2 Possible developments of St Stephen’s halls as a facility for older people.

3 Set up Messy Church for families with young children.

4 Explore the option of using OH halls on Academy Street as a dry bar or drop in centre thus supporting homeless people and the local business nearby.

5 Exploring a situation of working jointly in co-operation with another church(s).

For more information about the Going Forward survey and report, please contact us.

Sunday Bulletin 7 January 2018

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 14 January 2018: Second Sunday after the Epiphany
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
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 http://oldhighststephens.com/going-forward-survey-report/. If you would like paper copies, please contact our Church Administrator. Linda Philip, Session Clerk.
EMAIL CONTACTS We would like to make more use of email to keep in touch with congregation members and friends. We have email addresses for many people in the congregation, but if we do not have yours, would you please notify our Church Administrator, Pat MacLeod: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com
PASTORAL CARE Peter, or the Rev Arthur Sinclair, our Pastoral Assistant, should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.
SOUTHSIDE NURSING HOME There will be a short service, led by Malcolm Macrae, at Southside Nursing Home immediately after this morning’s service at St Stephen’s. If you are able to assist with the singing, your assistance would be much appreciated. Please speak to Malcolm after the service. We still also seek members willing to lead these services on a rota basis; please contact Janet Robertson janetnfraser<at>btinternet.com.
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP will be reading sections of Psalm 119 together this Sunday 7 January at 7pm at St Stephen’s, as explored in pages 147-168 of Woodhouse’s book. On Sunday 21 January we shall read the much-loved Psalm 23 and on 4 February Psalm 27. Thereafter we shall be starting with a new book to guide us through Lent. All welcome. Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>btinternet.com
CRAFT EVENING in St Stephen’s Hall 7.30–9pm on Wednesday 10 January. Please come along with your craft or if you wish to learn a craft you will be made very welcome. At present there is knitting, crochet, cross stitch, tapestry and card making but we would welcome any other craft. Refreshments provided. Enquiries from Margaret McAleer.
FOOD FOR FAMILIES Following yet another successful year of the Food for Families project, I am delighted to let you know that Ann and David Sutherland have extended their generosity to provide the mince for the Food for Families project once again this year. Some other 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! Many thanks to those who have already cooked and we have another date for cooking macaroni for week commencing 8th January. All the ingredients are supplied and if you would like to help please contact Christine Mackenzie christinemac73<at>hotmail.com
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to the Church Administrator at invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline is Wednesday at 12 noon. Please keep all items as brief as possible, and include contact details (phone and/or email).
OTHER NEWS
THE HIGHLANDS SUPPORT REFUGEES (THSR) is a local charity currently operating out of Conon Bridge in need of both donations and money to fund the dispatching of aid. Since starting 3 years ago, we have sent thousands of boxes of aid to refugees across Europe and beyond. We are 100% volunteer effort, stretching from Moray to Shetland, and all towns and villages in between and also help refugees in Syria, Lebanon and across Europe. We collect donations of clothing, toiletries, baby bottles/nappies, pans, sleeping bags, socks and shoes, pack them into labelled boxes and transport them to the refugees most in need. We raise funds to pay for the transport too. Some of our volunteers have helped, and continue to support, refugees on the ground in Greece, France and Macedonia. In addition to sending aid, we work with local communities resettling refugees, and engage with local schools, churches and clubs, helping to educate people on the refugee crisis particularly in Alness, Kinlochleven and Inverness. If you are able to help this Christmas contact James Shewan, Secretary at jemshewan<at>gmail.com. Website: https://thehighlandssupportrefugees.com/
BLYTHSWOOD CARE are looking for an experienced Accounts Assistant (37.5 hours per week). Duties include purchase and sales ledgers, bank reconciliation, payroll cover and general administrative tasks. Knowledge of Sage is preferable. Closing date 17 January 2018. Job description/application form from Barbara Grace personnel<at>blythswood.org
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY: ECUMENICAL SERVICE Sunday 21 January at 6pm, at Culduthel Christian Centre, Culduthel Avenue, Inverness IV2 6AS. Inverness Presbytery are helping to organise this service, which we are hoping will be an opportunity for local Christians from our various denominations to worship together and learn from each other. Please come along if you are able to, and witness to the uniting power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jonathan Appleby jon.wyvis<at>gmail.com
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 or visit http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/serve/ministries_council/education_and_support/vocations-information-day

Why wasn’t Jesus baptised as an infant?

Peter writes:

Someone asked a good question after my sermon today on the Baptism of Jesus:

Why wasn’t Jesus baptised as an infant?

Jesus, of course, was Jewish. There was (and is) no baptism ceremony for children in the Jewish tradition. There is interesting archaeology at the site of the Qumran Community, an unorthodox sect which flourished around Jesus’ time who created the Dead Sea Scrolls. Their ‘monastery’ apparently had baths for ritual purposes- some kind of purification ritual, the details of which are now lost to us. It has been speculated that John the Baptist was a member of, or was influenced by, the Qumran Community. And it may be that other religious sects of the day had something like the ritual of baptism. Apparently there was also something like a ritual of baptism for Gentiles converting to Judaism. And there are many references to rituals of washing in the Old Testament.

But it is from John the Baptiser that Christianity picked up the practice. Matthew 28.19 has Jesus instituting the sacrament by commanding his followers to carry it out, but he doesn’t seem to have baptised anyone himself. St Paul makes the earliest mention of baptism in the Christian church (Romans 6.4; 1 Corinthians 6.11), but he’s writing about the significance of a rite which already existed in the church. In the Acts of the Apostles there are stories of people converting to Christianity and being baptised, such as the story of the Ethiopian eunuch at Acts 8.26-40.

Obviously the first converts to Christianity were adults. Acts 16.33 mentions Paul’s jailer, and how ‘he and all his family were baptised at once’, which might have included his children (see also Mark 10.13-16). Certainly Christians practised the baptism of their own children early on in church history.

The ceremony in Judaism by which male children were (and are) dedicated as members of the Covenant people was circumcision of male infants at eight days old (still, of course, practices and known nowadays as the Bris). Jesus’ circumcision is mentioned in Luke 2.12, where he is also formally named. In many ways, this is the equivalent to Christian infant baptism, a ceremony of dedicating children to God and naming them, aspects which we have brought into the Christian baptismal ceremony for children.

With water and the Spirit: Sermon for 11 January 2017

Texts: Genesis 1:1-5
Mark 1:1-11

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

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I hope you all left your Christmas decorations up until yesterday! Yesterday was Twelfth Night, the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas. So Christmas is now officially over. And now, having celebrated the birth of our Saviour, the Church moves- very quickly- to think about what this all means for us.

So, on this first Sunday of the New Year, we hear about a new beginning in our Gospel reading. Our Gospel passage takes us back to Advent first- reminding us of the strange figure of John the Baptist, calling on the people to repent. But surprisingly, we find ourselves encountering the adult Jesus today, as he come to experience the baptism which his cousin John offers. But what is this about? Why has Jesus come for baptism? And what does it mean for us? Continue reading