Sunday Bulletin 24 May 2015

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 31 May 2015: Trinity Sunday
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Holy Communion at Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to Jim Monro: jimjimmonro.com. The deadline for all items is Wednesday at noon.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further information and contact details for any items listed below:
E-mail: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com
COMMUNION SUNDAY IN OLD HIGH We will celebrate the Sacrament at the Old High next Sunday, 31 May. The church will be set up for the Sacrament in the centre pews in front of Communion Table. The elders serving Communion will sit in the first pew. Those who would like to receive from the common cup should take next 4 pews and those who prefer individual glasses should sit in the next 4 pews after them. If you have any questions, please speak to your elders.
CONGREGATIONAL SERVICE There will be an all-age congregational service at St Stephen’s on Sunday 14 June at 10am (no service at Old High). We will be saying goodbye to David Macartney and presenting a long-service certificate to Sunday School teacher Rosemary Cumming, as well as giving prizes to the Sunday School- so please do join us!
DAVID MACARTNEY will shortly be finishing his time with us, and the congregation are invited to donate to his presentation. Please put any donations in an envelope marked for David McCartney and put in the offering bag by 31 May. More details from Peter.
LUNCH CLUB The Lunch Club will meet at 12.30pm on Thursday 28 May at the Craigmonie Hotel Please consider joining us for good food and fellowship. Transport is available. Contact Val Cantlay.
CHURCH MAGAZINE Willie Morrison, editor of the OHSS Magazine, urgently requires articles and photos for the next issue, which is due out in June. Please, please, submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to williekenilweb.com. The deadline is Friday 5th June, as our new production editor Shirley Gold is on holiday the week after and requires copy early.
OLD HIGH HALL The Kirk Session has approved plans for redeveloping the Old High Hall, in association with Birchwood Highlands. There will be a congregational meeting this Tuesday 26 May 7.30pm in the OH hall to discuss the proposals. Full details are included in a sheet at the door, or contact our Session Clerk, Linda Philip lindajphiliphotmail.com.
OLD HIGH MUSIC On Saturday 6th June as 12 noon there is an end of session recital by various young Highland musicians, several of whom are now leaving school here to pursue their music education down south. They will perform solo their pieces for saxophone, flute, cello and violin and then play a number of ensemble pieces by Mozart, Dvorak and Bach. These pupils met up with the Reykjavik Quintet players. Now it is their turn to bring music to us, so we do hope this will be well supported. Further information: Andrew Stevenson stevenson.atabtinternet.com.
COTTON PATCH GOSPEL CHOIR Monday 22nd June at 7.30pm in St Stephen’s Church. Tickets on sale now £8 per head. Please contact Joan Darcy or you can pick up tickets at Crown Church Office on a Tue to Friday from 9.30- 12am.
Sign up for concerts information by email: ohssmusic@gmail.com
OTHER NEWS
HILTON FOODBANK There is a vacancy for a volunteer at the Foodbank Centre in Inverness, covering the opening times of the Centre each Monday (11am-1pm). Anyone interested should contact Lorna Dempster on 07875 332696 or email at lorna.dempsterblythswood.org Volunteers should have good listening skills and an empathy for those needing to use Foodbank.
OLIVE GROVE Shortly we will have some spaces in our friendly afternoon teams, and can offer 2, 3 or 4 hour slots. We appreciate volunteers need flexibility, and we are good at providing cover from our supply list when you need a day off. Mostly we are looking for waiting staff, but if you are interested in cooking or baking we would like to hear from you also. Please drop in to have any questions answered, and leave your name and telephone number.
NATIONAL YOUTH ASSEMBLY is a platform for young adults to voice their opinions and actively participate in decision making within the Church of Scotland. Dates: 5pm on Friday, 14 August to 5pm on Monday, 17 August 2014 Venue: Gartmore House, Stirlingshire. For further details including travel and accommodation contact Suzi Farrant, Young People and Young Adult’s Development Worker email sfarrantchurchofscotland.org.uk
BEFRIENDING SERVICE is urgently looking for more volunteers. Befrienders Highland, established in 1993, is a voluntary organisation and charity that provides a free 1-1 befriending service for people across the Highlands and Argyll and Bute who experience mental ill health and feel lonely and isolated, either socially and/or geographically. Our new Befriending Dementia service is also available for people living in the Highlands. Volunteers are trained and are only required to give up one or two hours a week. They also have contact with a Co-ordinator within Befrienders Highland for ongoing support. Anyone interested contact the Administrator adminbefriendershighland.org.uk
ADVANCE NOTICES
FUNDRAISING EVENTS There will be a Whist Evening on Saturday 4 July in Old High Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 including refreshments. It is hoped to hold a Silent Auction in September and a Coffee Morning with a Christmas theme in November. It is hoped that these events will be well supported as they are in aid of OHSS Fabric Fund. If you have other suggestions for events please let us know. Further information from Margaret McAleer Social & Fundraising Action Team.
WANT TO SERVE GOD? “It’s Your Call” Vocations Conference- anyone interested in full-time ministry in the church, or in the Readership, is required to attend this conference. The conference offers an inspirational keynote speech on the Call to Serve Today, practical information and the opportunity to ask important questions about how God might be calling you. To be held at the Queen’s Cross Parish Church on 27 June 2015. If you would like to talk further about the event, please call Heather French at the Ministries Council.

Sunday Bulletin 17 May 2015

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 24 May 2015: Pentecost
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to Jim Monro: jimjimmonro.com. The deadline for all items is Wednesday at noon.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further information and contact details for any items listed below:
E-mail: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com
WORSHIP THIS MORNING is led by our Student Minister, David Macartney.
THE MINISTER is attending the General Assembly this week. For any urgent pastoral matters, please contact your elder, or the Rev Arthur Sinclair.
CHRISTIAN AID Thanks to all who took part in the door-to-door collection. We hope to be able to tell you the total raised next week. The Coffee Morning raised over £900- many thanks to all concerned.
MODERATORS’ CHRISTIAN AID APPEAL FOR NEPAL Many thanks to all who gave generously last Sunday for the Moderators’ Ben Lomond climb for Christian Aid’s appeal for the Nepal earthquake disaster. You can make a donation via the Church of Scotland website www.churchofscotland.org.uk .
MODERATOR OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH ASSEMBLY Our own Rachel Hutchison will speak at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on the afternoon of Thursday, 21 May about the National Youth Assembly, of which she was Moderator this year. It’s customary for the congregation of the Youth Assembly Moderator to attend the Assembly to support them. This is a big day for Rachel, so hopefully many of you will wish to travel down to Edinburgh for the day. We plan to organise either car sharing or travel by train or bus, with everyone meeting up at a pre-arranged location. If you would like to go, whether as a driver or a passenger, please contact our Session Clerk, Linda Philip, ASAP (lindajphiliphotmail.com.
OUT OF AFRICA The retiring offering on 3 May raised £510.60- thank you for your generosity.
COMMUNION SUNDAY IN OLD HIGH We will celebrate the Sacrament at the Old High on Sunday 31 May. The church will be set up for the Sacrament in the centre pews in front of Communion Table. The elders serving Communion will sit in the first pew. Those who would like to receive from the common cup should take next 4 pews and those who prefer individual glasses should sit in the next 4 pews after them. If you have any questions, please speak to your elders.
DAVID MACARTNEY will shortly be finishing his time with us, and the congregation are invited to donate to his presentation. Please put any donations in an envelope marked for David McCartney and put in the offering bag by 31 May. More details from Peter.
CHURCH MAGAZINE Willie Morrison, editor of the OHSS Magazine, urgently requires articles and photos for the next issue, which is due out in June. Please, please, submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to williekenilweb.com. The deadline is Friday 5th June, as our new production editor Shirley Gold is on holiday the week after and requires copy early.
OLD HIGH HALL The Kirk Session has approved plans for redeveloping the Old High Hall, in association with Birchwood Highlands. There will be a congregational meeting on Tuesday 26 May 7.30pm in the OH hall to discuss the proposals. Full details are included in a sheet at the door, or contact our Session Clerk, Linda Philip lindajphiliphotmail.com.
COTTON PATCH GOSPEL CHOIR Monday 22nd June at 7.30pm in St Stephen’s Church. Tickets on sale now £8 per head. Please contact Joan Darcy or you can pick up tickets at Crown Church Office on a Tue to Friday from 9.30- 12am.
ADVANCE NOTICES
FUNDRAISING EVENTS There will be a Whist Evening on Saturday 4 July in Old High Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 including refreshments. It is hoped to hold a Silent Auction in September and a Coffee Morning with a Christmas theme in November. It is hoped that these events will be well supported as they are in aid of OHSS Fabric Fund. If you have other suggestions for events please let us know. Further information from Margaret McAleer Social & Fundraising Action Team.
WANT TO SERVE GOD? “It’s Your Call” Vocations Conference- anyone interested in full-time ministry in the church, or in the Readership, is required to attend this conference. The conference offers an inspirational keynote speech on the Call to Serve Today, practical information and the opportunity to ask important questions about how God might be calling you. To be held at the Queen’s Cross Parish Church on 27 June 2015. If you would like to talk further about the event, please call Heather French at the Ministries Council, or the Minister.
JUMP FOR JOY and SKYDIVE FOR BLYTHSWOOD to help raise funds for Talia Kum which is an after school care centre in Romania. The children who attend this come from some of the poorest households in Jimbolia, Romania, receiving help with homework, a nourishing meal, clothes and a shower. Please consider taking part. DATE IS 13 JUNE 2015. Contact Adrienne Dempster adrienne.dempsterblythswood.org .

Sunday Bulletin 10 May 2015

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 10 May 2015: The Seventh Sunday of Easter
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to Jim Monro: jim@jimmonro.com. The deadline for all items is Wednesday at noon.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further information and contact details for any items listed below:
E-mail: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK Many thanks to all who attended or helped out with our coffee morning yesterday. There are Christian Aid envelopes in this bulletin- please do fill yours up and bring it along next Sunday.
CHRISTIAN AID DOOR TO DOOR COLLECTION is happening this week. I have taken up the job of organising our Door to Door Collection. Last year’s total was among the highest in the Presbytery and I would hope that we would manage to maintain that position. There are areas of our Parish still to be covered. Please contact Ken Cantlay ken.cantlay@btinternet.com to get an area.
MODERATORS’ CHRISTIAN AID APPEAL FOR NEPAL The Rt Rev John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly, and Rachel Hutcheson, Moderator of the National Youth Assembly climbed Ben Lomond last Sunday in aid of Christian Aid’s appeal for the Nepal earthquake disaster. We have a retiring offering for them today, or you can make a donation via the Church of Scotland website www.churchofscotland.org.uk .
MODERATOR OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH ASSEMBLY Our own Rachel Hutchison will speak at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on the afternoon of Thursday, 21 May about the National Youth Assembly, of which she was Moderator this year. It’s customary for the congregation of the Youth Assembly Moderator to attend the Assembly to support them. This is a big day for Rachel, so hopefully many of you will wish to travel down to Edinburgh for the day. We plan to organise either car sharing or travel by train or bus, with everyone meeting up at a pre-arranged location. If you would like to go, whether as a driver or a passenger, please contact our Session Clerk, Linda Philip, ASAP lindajphiliphotmail.com .
DAVID McCARTNEY will shortly be finishing his time with us, and the congregation are invited to donate to his presentation. Please put any donations in an envelope marked for David McCartney and put in the offering bag before 31 May. More details from Peter
CHURCH MAGAZINE Willie Morrison, editor of the OHSS Magazine, urgently requires articles and photos for the next issue, which is due out in June. Please, please, submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to williekenilweb.com. The deadline is Friday 5th June, as our new production editor Shirley Gold is on holiday the week after and requires copy early.
TEA & CHAT The monthly gathering arranged by the Pastoral Care Team for tea & chat is on Thursday 14 May at St Stephen’s Hall from 2pm. Do come along to enjoy fellowship over a cup of tea. See you there! Further information: Val Cantlay.
OLD HIGH HALL The Kirk Session has approved plans for redeveloping the Old High Hall, in association with Birchwood Highlands. There will be a congregational meeting on Tuesday 26 May 7.30pm in the OH hall to discuss the proposals. Full details are included in an insert in this bulletin. For more information, please contact our Session Clerk, Linda Philip lindajphiliphotmail.com
HEALING SERVICE in St Stephen’s at 4 pm today, all welcome. Contact Ruth Martin.
OTHER NEWS
PRAYERS SPACES AT INVERNESS ROYAL ACADEMY Our fourth year of Prayer Spaces in Schools in the IRA, is running the week beginning May 11. This event has had a positive impact each year, exposing every 1st and 2nd year pupil to Christian prayer in an interactive and meaningful way. We need volunteers to cover each 50 minute slot that a class comes to the space. More from Jonathan Fraser jonathan<at>hiltonchurch.org.uk or speak to our own minister who is also a chaplain at IRA.
ADVANCE NOTICES
FUNDRAISING EVENTS There will be a Whist Evening on Saturday 4 July in Old High Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 including refreshments. It is hoped to hold a Silent Auction in September and a Coffee Morning with a Christmas theme in November. It is hoped that these events will be well supported as they are in aid of OHSS Fabric Fund. If you have other suggestions for events please let us know. Further information from Margaret McAleer Social & Fundraising Action Team.
WANT TO SERVE GOD? “It’s Your Call” Vocations Conference- anyone interested in full-time ministry in the church, or in the Readership, is required to attend this conference. The conference offers an inspirational keynote speech on the Call to Serve Today, practical information and the opportunity to ask important questions about how God might be calling you. To be held at the Queen’s Cross Parish Church on 27 June 2015. If you would like to talk further about the event, please call Heather French at the Ministries Council, or the Minister.
JUMP FOR JOY and SKYDIVE FOR BLYTHSWOOD to help raise funds for Talia Kum which is an after school care centre in Romania. The children who attend this come from some of the poorest households in Jimbolia, Romania, receiving help with homework, a nourishing meal, clothes and a shower. Please consider taking part. DATE IS 13 JUNE 2015. Contact Adrienne Dempster adrienne.dempsterblythswood.org

Sermon for Christian Aid Week by Rev Dr Craig Gardiner

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
10 May 2015, Christian Aid Sunday
SERMON
Scripture Readings: 1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

A sermon from Christian Aid by Rev Dr Craig Gardiner, a member of Christian Aid’s worship collective. Born in the North of Ireland, he is Tutor in Christian Doctrine at South Wales Baptist College, a member of the Iona Community

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

Today’s gospel reading follows on from Christ’s image of the vine and the branches- and here Jesus tells the disciples to remain in him, to abide in his love. It’s all part of John’s long account of Jesus at the Last Supper- these words are, in effect, a part of his farewell speech to those who have followed him for years and to whom he will entrust his unfolding purposes on earth. Final words often have an urgency to them and so, too, here. Jesus reminds the disciples that he has chosen them to carry on and bear fruit that will last. Central to those purposes will be the costly ways in which they learn to abide in Christ: ‘greater love has no one than they lay down their lives for each other’- the disciples must learn to live in faith, inspire hope and show such sacrificial love.

The idea of abiding has associations of homemaking: our abode is often the safe space in which our body, mind and spirit are strengthened, a sanctuary against the ravages of a broken world and our own wounded soul. Such a home might become a place where our hearts turn in upon themselves, seeking comfort and self-interest, but not with Jesus. Abiding in Christ means our home is open and turned outwards to love and embrace others. Our motivations are transformed from revenge, greed and safety. Instead, we choose to abide in compassion and solidarity with the poorest and weakest neighbours of the world. But as we seek to do so, we discover a stubborn and global injustice- wherever any people are excluded and exploited, it is the women of that society who will suffer most.

Worldwide, women are estimated to spend 40 billion hours collecting water every year. Compared to men, they can spend more than 10 times the amount of time doing unpaid care work. In these respects, it’s certainly true that poverty has a woman’s face. In many communities, the cost of being a woman is paid from birth- girls are denied a proper education and are soon put to menial work.

Deprived of an education, they must then rely on men for their survival, men who often deliver the horrifying reality where one-third of the world’s women have been beaten or sexually abused. There is simply no way to remain in the love of Jesus and ignore such facts.

There is no way to remain in the love of Jesus and fail to respond to people like Adi Abduba.

Adi was one of the poorest of the poor. A widow with no education, no livestock and eight hungry children, she was without status in her community. But for all that, she believed that her life ought to be better. Through a Christian Aid Partner organisation- HUNDEE- Adi was given a cow that opened up a world of possibilities. With that cow, Adi got milk, churned butter, made a little money and saved enough to build a small shop by her home. As 1 John 5:5 affirms, everyone born of God will overcome the world, and Adi, through her hard work, has indeed prevailed over the prejudice and injustice that flourished all around her.

With a little love from Christian Aid supporters, she has not only found a new hope for herself, but inspires such hope in others, too. She says: ‘When I think about my situation and some of my friends, how the livestock are giving birth and our lives are improving, I feel so happy I could cry.’ The words of Psalm 98 might well be the song of Adi’s heart as she milks and churns, as she saves and dreams of a better tomorrow, ‘sing to the Lord a new song for he has done marvellous things…the Lord has made Heaven’s salvation known upon the earth’.

So, too, might Loko Jarso join in that song of praise: she, too, might ‘shout for joy and make music to the Lord’. She might do one day… but not today… for this song is not yet the rhythm of her heart. But it could be: if this Christian Aid Week, churches in Britain and Ireland live faith, inspire hope and abide in love, then her songs might yet be transformed from deep lament to hymns of praise.

For now, four times a week, in a remote corner of Ethiopia, Loko still makes a dangerous, back-breaking eight-hour trip to gather firewood, which she sells to keep her family alive. Loko walks alone, her thin plastic shoes punctured by thorns, afraid she could be attacked by hyenas at any moment. It’s a task she dreads, but she steels herself to do it because if she doesn’t her children will starve. Yet with each burdened step, she keeps faith and prays to God: ‘Change my life and lead us out of this.’

For now, collecting wood is the only means Loko has of earning money. On the days when she is not out collecting, she’s at the market looking for buyers. It’s the only way she can afford to give her children even one small meal of boiled maize each day. There’s no safety net for Loko. No one else will step in if she falls ill or injures herself. As a woman living alone and without livestock, she is shunned, isolated and ignored. ‘What makes being alone difficult is not having the respect of your community,’ she says.

With so little, Loko’s faith in God refuses to give up hope. She dreams of owning a cow. The milk would keep her children strong; the money saved could help her establish a business. Just £5 would allow her to start selling tea and coffee. With £150, she could buy a cow like Adi’s. Such simple actions can and ought to transform her life from songs of lament into hymns of praise.

Adi and Loko are examples of the way in which, with Christian Aid’s support, churches in Britain and Ireland might abide in love, live our faith and inspire hope. Christian Aid is also teaching women like Adi and Loko about literacy and maths, and how to adapt to climate change by growing more resilient crops. It’s also encouraging men to rise above gender prejudice and include women in the decisions that affect them both. Surely this is nothing but the coming of the Holy Spirit, as in Acts 10? As with the Gentiles back then, and as with many women today, those who have previously been excluded from society and denied the blessings of God are now to be gathered into a new community, a gospel people, a family in which we are brothers and sisters to Loko and Adi.

Whether we abide in this family through our giving, our actions or our prayers, whether we collect from house to house, do a sponsored event or get involved in our worship, the challenge is to exceed the £12m raised last year during Christian Aid Week. That challenge is one for us to meet today with our donations as we support our church collection.

Imagine how, with such resources deployed, other lives might be transformed, imagine how the rivers might echo the Psalmist and clap their hands, imagine the mountains singing for joy as creation bears witness to the Lord’s salvation, moving through women like Adi and Loko.

Imagine the joy in Heaven when justice is done upon the earth. Imagine the joy in Jesus’ face, imagine that joy in your heart and mine: for living our faith, inspiring hope and abiding in the love of Christ is not simply what will make Adi and Loko sing for joy; Jesus assures us that it is what will make our own joy complete.
In truth, we do not need to imagine much of this at all.

We have already heard the stories. We know that such Kingdom transformations are already happening. God is already at work, so come and share in the joy.
Come and join in the work of the Kingdom. This Christian Aid Week,
let us live the faith, inspire with hope and show God’s love for the world.

Ascription of Praise

Now to God
who is able through the power
which is at work among us
to do immeasurably more
than all we can ask or conceive,
to God be the glory
in the church and in Christ Jesus
from generation to generation for evermore, Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (REB)

© 2015 Christian Aid

Organist sought for Highland’s best organ (readvertised)

We are currently re-advertising for the post of organist and choir director for the Old High Church.

Here is the advert and the job description for the post.

ORGANIST AND CHOIR DIRECTOR AT OLD HIGH CHURCH, INVERNESS

We are looking for someone to play the finest organ in the Highlands

Old High St Stephen’s congregation are seeking an organist and choir director for the Old High Church, Inverness.

The Old High is the original parish church of the city of Inverness. We have a fine Willis organ, beautifully restored in 2010, which is often used for concerts (our new organist can help develop this aspect of our music).

We have a small but enthusiastic choir. Our worship is formal, but music is a blend of old and new.

Our vision for worship at the Old High is to further develop our tradition of formal worship whilst being open to fresh ideas.

If you would like to know more, our minister would be happy to speak to you: The Rev Peter W Nimmo 01463 250 802 peternimmo@minister.com

ORGANIST AND CHOIR DIRECTOR
The Old High Church, Church Street, Inverness
Job Description

Old High St Stephen’s is a congregation of the Church of Scotland with two places of worship: the Old High in the city centre and St Stephen’s in Southside Road. They have shared a minister since 1975, but have been an united congregation for more than ten years under a single Kirk Session, using historic churches as places of worship.

Church services are held every Sunday at 11.15am in the Old High, except for a small number of ‘congregational services’ when only one service is held that morning in one of our buildings. On these Sundays, the two choirs combine to lead the praise.

The Old High Church is on a site that goes back to Celtic times. Although there are some mediaeval parts of the building, today’s distinctive sanctuary dates from the 18th century.

It is a venue for significant civic and community occasions, such as the recent World War I Commemoration, and the annual Kirking of the Council.

The fine two-manual and pedal Willis organ was beautifully restored to its original condition in 2010, and there is a small enthusiastic SATB choir.

Duties would include:
• Leading worship with the organ and the choir at Sunday services and other services set by the Kirk Session.
• Developing the musical life of the choir and congregation, including the introduction of new choir repertoire and hymns.
• Leading regular choir practices.
• Helping to develop the concerts and other musical activities at the Old High.
• Playing for weddings and funerals (if available).
• Developing the important musical link with St Stephen’s.
• It is hoped the successful applicant might participate in the Worship Action Team.

Qualifications should include:
• A sound organ technique.
• Ability to lead a choir and bring out the musical talents of the congregation.
• Knowledge of, and a sympathetic and sensitive approach to, church music, worship and the Christian faith.

There will be a contract of employment based on the Church of Scotland’s standard organist contract.

This post requires PVG clearance.

For more information, please contact:

Rev Peter W Nimmo
Telephone 01463 250 802
Email: peternimmo(a)minister.com (replace (a) with @)

or the secretary to the selection committee, Mrs Margaret Sutherland (Depute Session Clerk), telephone 01463 235 324.

Applications, including a CV and details of two referees, should be sent to Mr Nimmo, either by email or by post to:

Rev Peter W Nimmo
24 Damfield Road
Inverness IV2 3HU

Sunday Bulletin 3 May 2015

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 10 May 2015: The Sixth Sunday of Easter
Christian Aid Sunday
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to Jim Monro: jim@jimmonro.com. The deadline for all items is Wednesday at noon.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further information and contact details for any items listed below:
E-mail: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com
OUT OF AFRICA APPEAL Following the visit two Sundays ago from the Rev Doug MacRoberts, formerly of the Church of Scotland Malta, a number of people said they would like to donate to the project which aids migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean from Africa. There is therefore a retiring offering for the Out of Africa project today.
MODERATORS’ CHRISTIAN AID APPEAL FOR NEPAL The Rt Rev John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly, and Rachel Hutcheson, Moderator of the National Youth Assembly, are leading the effort for the Christian Aid Nepal Earthquake Appeal by climbing Ben Lomond. You can make a donation online by following links from the Church of Scotland website http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/
ANNIVERSARY OF VE DAY On behalf of the city, we will host an ecumenical service of remembrance and thanksgiving to mark the 70th anniversary the end of the Second World War in Europe, at the Old High on Friday 8 May at 2pm. All welcome.
SOUTHSIDE CARE HOME: There will be a short service, led by Malcolm Macrae, at Southside Care Home immediately after this morning’s service at St Stephen’s. If you are able to assist with the singing, please meet in the transept at St Stephen’s after morning service; your assistance would be much appreciated. We still also seek members willing to lead these services on a rota basis; please contact Janet Robertson.
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING will be held on Saturday 9 May in St Stephen’s Hall from 10am to noon. There will be the usual stalls and gardeners are asked to donate from their gardens any divided plants suitably labelled for sale at the plant stall. Tickets will be available at both churches on 26th April and 3rd May. Contributions for the coffee morning can be dropped off at St Stephen’s vestry on Friday 8th May at 7.00 pm The hall will be available the same evening at 8.00 pm for setting up. For further information please contact Jennifer Morrison.
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK is approaching once again and I have taken up the job of organising our Door to Door Collection. Last year’s total was among the highest in the Presbytery and I would hope that we would manage to maintain that position. Some people have already intimated their willingness to collect once again but there are many areas of our Parish still to be covered. Please contact me, Ken Cantlay ken.cantlay@btinternet.com to get an area.
MUSIC IN OLD HIGH On Thursday 7th May at 7.30pm Reykjavik Wind Quintet, who gave a splendid recital in the church in 2000, return to the Old High. Made up of members of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, the group have built up an international reputation, performing in many of the top music venues around the world.. They bring a varied programme, due to last approx. one and a half hours, ranging from Mozart, Beethoven and Rossini to some lesser known pieces by an Icelandic composer. The Quintet offering a pre-concert talk at 5.30pm, explaining the pieces and also speak about their lives as professional musicians. This is aimed primarily at young musicians, especially wind players who are developing their skills, but anyone interested would be most welcome- especially if you could assist our hospitality team with preparing a light snack for players and young people in the Hall at 6.30pm! Please let Andrew Stevenson know.
MUSIC EMAILING LIST For advance notice of all music events in our congregation, please send an email to ohssmusic@gmail.com. Encourage your friends to sign up for this mailing list- it’s a great way to keep up-to-date.
CHURCH MAGAZINE Willie Morrison, editor of the OHSS Magazine, urgently requires articles and photos for the next issue, which is due out in June. Please, please, submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to willie@kenilweb.com. The deadline is Friday 5th June, as our new production editor Shirley Gold is on holiday the week after and requires copy early.
CROSSREACH NEWS and Prayer Diary is now available at church doors.
WORD FOR TODAY new edition available at church doors.
OHSS ANNUAL ACCOUNTS 2014. Copies of the full set of accounts, and a short commentary are available at http://oldhighststephens.com/annual-accounts-now-online/ or on request from Sandy Cumming, Treasurer sandy.cumming@btopenworld.com
ALEX McDERMID Rosa wishes to thank the congregation for their kindness, cards, flowers and expressions of sympathy during Alex’s illness and subsequent passing away.
OTHER NEWS
PRAYERS SPACES AT INVERNESS ROYAL ACADEMY Our fourth year of Prayer Spaces in Schools in the IRA, is running the week beginning May 11. This event has had a positive impact each year, exposing every 1st and 2nd year pupil to Christian prayer in an interactive and meaningful way. The school is keen to have us back as they can see the positive impact prayer has on the school environment and the pupils themselves. We need volunteers to cover each 50 minute slot that a class comes to the space. More from Jonathan Fraser jonathan@hiltonchurch.org.uk or speak to our own minister who is also a chaplain at IRA.

Not ashamed? A sermon for 3 May 2015, Easter 5

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
3 May 2015, The Fifth Sunday of Easter
(Year A, Narrative Lectionary)
SERMON
Scripture Readings: Romans 1.1-17 (NIV)
Matthew 9.9-13 (GNB)
Sermon
Not ashamed?

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

What makes you ashamed? In today’s text, Paul says that he is not ashamed of the Gospel- that is, he’s not ashamed of the message he has about Jesus Christ. Shame is a strong word. But what makes you ashamed?

We often don’t normally talk to others about things we feel ashamed about- it’s too hard. If we do speak to someone about such matters, it needs to be someone we trust deeply. But on the other hand, we might talk about things which are done in our name. I’m rather ashamed our government for withdrawing rescue ships from the Mediterranean when refugees were drowning. I’m ashamed we live in a country which is so quick to blame the poor for their problems.

And at times, I’m ashamed of Christianity. I’m ashamed that Christian people can use their faith as a cover to discriminate against gay people or women. I’m ashamed that we don’t seem to be willing to be much more adventurous about finding ways to take the good news of Christ into our world. I’m ashamed that we allow all kinds of injustices to go on in our communities and our nations, and we don’t speak a word about them from the point of view of our faith. I’m ashamed that we are too often smug and complacent, as if the fire of the Spirit had grown dim among us. I’m ashamed that parts of the Christian church has been complicit in the abuse of children.

But when St Paul was writing, he was writing to a young church, a church in the first few decades of its existence. Most of the failings of the church still lay in the future. So Paul isn’t talking about the church and it’s many faults when he is writing to the Christians of Rome. He’s not saying he’s not ashamed of the church- he’s saying he’s not ashamed of the Gospel. And this letter of St Paul to the Romans is one of the first systematic attempts to think through what the Gospel of Jesus is really about.

The Letter to the Romans is one of the key texts of the New Testament, and, indeed, of the entire `two thousand years of Christian tradition. Paul founded many Christian communities around the Roman Empire in the first few decades after the resurrection of Jesus. His letter to the Romans is unusual in that it is a letter in which Paul wrote to a church which he hadn’t founded or visited- as we heard in the dialogue earlier. Quite often Paul’s letters were written in reply to a set of questions from a church. They tend to be quite specific, dealing with just a few matters. But in the letter to the Romans is a letter St Paul attempts something like a systematic account of the content of the Gospel.

First he introduces himself- for he does not know most of these Christians of Rome. He give his credentials as a preacher and church leader, an ‘apostle’- someone authorised by Christ himself to take his message into the world. He greets them, says he hopes to meet them soon, praises them for their faith, assures them he is praying for them. Already gives some hints about what is going to be in this letter- that he will speak to them about the importance of Jesus, what his life, death and resurrection means for them. And it all builds to a climax in the last few verses, where he offers a very personal confession of faith:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed- a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

So Paul says that this Gospel (the Gospel of which he is no ashamed) is the power of God, and that it brings salvation. But when Paul speaks of power, he doesn’t, of course, mean something like electricity or wind power. He’s means a kind of spiritual power. Power that doesn’t move trains or windmills, but changes people.

Let me explain. As it happens, we are in the middle of a power struggle in our country at the moment. We are having a General Election to decide who gets the political power in our nation. In other parts of the world, such power struggles are raw and violent- Syria, Libya, Yemen are places where there are struggles for power which leave people dead, homeless, disabled. Thank God our power struggles are not like that. We ought not to moan too much that all we have to put up with are a few weeks of TV debates!- at least the politicians are only bombarding us with leaflets, and not bombs!

Yet the same thing is at stake in our election as are causing war and violence in other places- the question of who gets power in the land. Power is about being able to do things, to make thing happen, to be able to mould things as you would want them to. Politicians seek power because it lets them do things. It allows them to legitimately boss people around!

Ancient Rome: The Arch of Titus (Wikipedia Commons)

Ancient Rome: The Arch of Titus (Wikipedia Commons)

Paul understood about power. Writing to the Christians of Rome he’d be well aware that they were living at the heart of the most powerful state which had ever existed. Writing to the Romans would be like writing to Washington today.

Roman power was coercive power. For the Roman Empire was created by conquest and relied on slavery. It as an empire held together by the threat of violence. Earlier Paul had described himself as a ‘slave’ of Jesus Christ. This was a powerful metaphor, for the economy of the Roman Empire was largely supported by slaves. Slaves were people with nothing like what we would call human rights. They could be bought and sold, they could be used at their masters’ whim. And, if they rebelled, they could be put to death. Slavery is the ultimate abuse of power, for it can only operate when one group of people has absolute power over another group. The power of Rome was used to keep people in slavery, and conquered nations in subjection.

Munkácsy Mihály: Ecce Homo! 1844-1900  (Wikipedia Commons)

Munkácsy Mihály: Ecce Homo! 1844-1900 (Wikipedia Commons)

Against the power of Rome, what was the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? After all, Jesus himself was a victim of Roman power. When the Roman governor of Palestine thought that Jesus was a threat to his power, and to Roman power, he had Jesus put to death, as if he had been a runaway slave. Strange, then for Paul to speak of the power of the Gospel of Jesus, who had been put to death by Roman power, to the Christians of Rome, surrounded by magnificent buildings which spoke of the power of Rome.

There is a clue to the nature of the power of Christ in the Gospel story we read. It’s the story of a tax collector named (coincidentally for today’s baptism) Matthew. Tax collectors had power- they could compel you to hand you over money. They were part of the Roman power structure, for the tax collectors of Palestine were collecting taxes from their Jewish compatriots on behalf of the Roman occupiers. They actually worked on something like a franchise, or commission, basis. They got to keep a proportion of what they raised. The more money they could squeeze out of the population, the more they earned. But, as you could imagine, it was an uncomfortable position they held in society. They may have been powerful, but they weren’t exactly popular.

Our Gospel reading speaks of ‘tax collectors and other outcasts’, lumping excise men like Matthew together with others on the edges of society. So I don’t suppose Matthew was a very happy man. Spurned by his neighbours, with a bad conscience that he was a cog in the Roman imperial wheel, perhaps he needed sometime to tell him that God, at any rate, loved him. He’d no doubt heard and Jesus speak already, and he was ready to respond to this man who seemed to have a lot of time for outcasts. How else do we explain the story, which the Gospel writer tells in such terse terms:

Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him.

Matthew sounds like a man who was ready for a new life, ready to leave behind even his job in order to follow Jesus. He got up and followed Jesus, found a new direction for his life, and, indeed, ended up as one of ‘the Twelve’, one of his closest disciples.

We often wonder in the Church what message we have for the world. What words should we used to express the Gospel in today’s language? St Paul said the Gospel is God’s power at the work, bringing salvation to everyone who believes. Matthew’s story is an example of what that means in a person’s life. God’s power is salvation to Matthew- he’s saved from being an outcast, he’s saved from his toll booth, he’s saved from his life of contradictions- earning plenty of money, perhaps, but despised by his Roman employers and hated by his Jewish compatriots.

Yet in order for salvation to come to Matthew, he has to respond. Follow me, says Jesus; and Matthew got up and followed him. So I think that ‘Follow me’ is a good way of putting the Gospel challenge. The church’s job is to say to say to people, on behalf of Jesus, ‘Follow me’. Those are powerful words. For if, like Matthew, we get up and follow, then that can be salvation for us.

We may not think ourselves outcasts, but all of us, like Matthew, are a maze of contradictions. Our neighbours may not know that, but we know that within us there are all sorts of things unresolved. We all, in our most honest moments, have a sense that all is not right. We have things we are ashamed of which we can hardly talk to anyone about. We all of us yearn for acceptance, love and grace.

So here is Jesus bringing the power of God to save us- follow me, he says- and that is a demand, and it will need courage to leave our old selves behind. But it also implies a promise. When Jesus says ‘Follow me’, we know that here is a leader who, unlike any political leader who might call on us to follow them, who will never let us down. The power of the Roman has long since fallen to dust. But the Gospel still has power because those who, like Matthew, hear Jesus saying ‘follow me’ and who get up and follow him find salvation. They know themselves forgiven, and they know the power of God in their lives.

Jesus said to a tax collector in ancient Palestine- a despised lackey of the Roman occupiers- follow me. And by some mysterious power, Matthew found the courage to follow, and it transformed his life. For Jesus broke down barriers. He would go to dinner with outcasts like Matthew, and if the prudish religious leader were scandalized, he didn’t care. ‘I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts’, he says. That is the power of God at work- breaking down barriers, giving hope where there was no hope before.

We baptized another Matthew at St Stephen’s today (the baby grandson of Rosemary and Sandy Cumming). And, as in every baptism, we acted out the power of the Gospel. We spoke of death and resurrection, of a spiritual washing which makes us new, of the possibility that the power of God can bring new life, forgiveness, a new start. We spoke of the Gospel of salvation- salvation which is there for anyone- absolutely anyone- who hears Jesus call to ‘follow me’ and gets up and goes with him.

Ascription of Praise

Now to God
who is able through the power
which is at work among us
to do immeasurably more
than all we can ask or conceive,
to God be the glory
in the church and in Christ Jesus
from generation to generation for evermore, Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (REB)

Biblical references from the Good News Bible, except for Romans 1 citations from the New International Version (unless otherwise stated)
© 2015 Peter W Nimmo

Old High Music – Reykjavik Wind Quintet

The Reykjavik Wind Quintet are performing on Thursday 7 May 2015 at 7.30pm, the latest concert  in this year’s Old High Church music programme.

Rekjavik wind quintet

Click here for the concert programme.

To keep up to date with music events at Old High St Stephen’s, please join our email list. Send an email to ohssmusic<a>gmail.com (replace <a> with @). Your email address will only be used for this purpose, and will never be passed to outside organisations.

Moderators climb Ben Lomond for Christian Aid

Christian Aid newRachel Hutcheson, National Youth Assembly Moderator (a member of Old High St Stephen’s congregation) and The Rt Rev John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly, has called on the Church to get behind a major fundraising drive for Christian Aid by signing up to their Munro challenge.

On Saturday 2 May, Rachel and Mr Chalmers and will be leading by example by climbing Ben Lomond, and are encouraging folk to sponsor them.

As they prepare for their trek, the two Moderators are calling on congregations across Scotland to reach the summit of 69 other Munros to mark the 70th anniversary of Christian Aid.

Rachel said: “I really hope everyone who is able to will climb with us in order to raise as much money as possible for a charity I am very proud to support. If people are unable to support John and I in person then I’d be very grateful if they could sponsor us.

“I hope and pray that as well as a fundraising activity it will also be a networking opportunity for friends and fellowship.

“I am also determined to beat the Moderator of the General Assembly to the top as I have a score to settle after him beating me at golf at the national youth assembly.”

Mr Chalmers added: “This day out is much more than a fundraiser – it is an opportunity to join me and Rachel on a pilgrimage during which we will contemplate some of the mountains that Christian Aid and others are still trying to climb on their way to creating a world that is just and fair and which gives the poor a chance to climb out of poverty.”

For more details, and to donate, click here.

Sunday Bulletin 19 April 2015

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 26 April 2015: Third Sunday of Easter
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to Jim Monro: jimjimmonro.com. The deadline for all items is Wednesday at noon.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further information and contact details for any items isted below:
E-mail: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com
OHSS ANNUAL ACCOUNTS 2014. The Kirk Session approved the Annual Accounts 2014 on Tuesday 24 March. Copies of the full set of accounts are available at http://oldhighststephens.com/annual-accounts-now-online/ or on request from Sandy Cumming, Treasurer sandy.cummingbtopenworld.com. A short commentary on the Annual Accounts will be prepared. If you would prefer the commentary, then please contact Sandy.
ORGANIST POST AT OLD HIGH Unfortunately Steven Flett has had to inform us of his decision to withdraw from the post he recently accepted as organist and choir director at the Old High. Due to a variety of personal circumstances he has decided that the timing is after all not right for him to be leaving Orkney. He wrote a letter expressing his appreciation for the warm reception he had received and the offers of practical support from a number of people across the whole congregation. Given the enthusiasm and energy he promised to bring, this is a disappointing setback, but we are hopeful that a new candidate will nonetheless emerge over the coming months. More information from Andrew Stevenson, search committee convenor.
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK is approaching once again and I have taken up the job of organising our Door to Door Collection. Last year’s total was among the highest in the Presbytery and I would hope that we would manage to maintain that position. Some people have already intimated their willingness to collect once again but there are many areas of our Parish still to be covered. Please contact Ken Cantlay ken.cantlaybtinternet.com to get an area.
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING The annual Coffee Morning for Christian Aid will be held on Saturday 9 May in St Stephen’s Hall. There will be the usual stalls and gardeners are asked to donate from their gardens any divided plants suitably labelled for sale at the plant stall. For further information please contact Jennifer Morrison.
SEATING AT THE OLD HIGH CHURCH In order to improve the congregation’s singing, and to make newcomers feel more welcome, we are asking those who attend at the Old High to sit in the centre section of the church. Please speak to Peter if you have any questions.
HIGHLAND FOODBANK The Session Clerk has received a request for donations to the Foodbank. The preferred items are: tinned corned beef, tinned mince, tinned ham, tinned potatoes/smash and long life milk. The Foodbank is also keen to receive donations of plastic BAGS FOR LIFE, either new or used ones. Boxes at the Church doors.
INVERNESS HANDBELLS needs one more person to make up our team. If you would like to have a shot and you can read music, why not have a bash? We currently have ONE male member in the team, so male or female would be welcome! We meet on Tuesday nights at 7.30 in the Old High hall. If you’re interested you can have a word with Rena Beaton or Isobel Allan.
MUSIC EMAILING LIST For advance notice of all music events in our congregation, please send an email to ohssmusicgmail.com . Encourage your friends to sign up for this mailing list- it’s a great way to keep up-to-date.
THE COTTON PATCH GOSPEL CHOIR The congregation is hosting the Choir, some 42 members, from North Carolina, who will be singing in St Stephen’s on Monday the 22nd June. In the first instance this is a request for members of the congregation to host some of the members of the choir. It could be for 2 nights but please contact Joan Darcy for more information.
CROSSREACH NEWS and Prayer Diary (Feb – May), is now available at church doors.
WORD FOR TODAY The new issue of Word for Today is available at church doors.
OTHER NEWS
INVERNESS CHURCHES HUSTINGS Danny Alexander (Lib Dems), Mike Robb (Labour), Drew Hendry (SNP), Edward Mountain (Conservative), Donald Boyd (Christian Party) and the Green party will be there to answer your questions. Culduthel Christian Centre, 30 April, 7.30 to 9.30pm. If there are specific burning issues that you wanted raised with the candidates please email them to: InvernessDecides2015@gmail.com
ADVANCE NOTICES
CULTIVATING AN ACTIVE PRAYER LIFE John Thomas will be coming to Inverness, 2nd to 3rd May 2015, to teach a weekend workshop on prayer. The venue is King’s Factory, Smithton, IV2 7WL. Early bird booking (before 22 May) is just £25 per individual. For details contact Heather Gregg heather.gregggooglemail.com