Sunday Bulletin 4 March 2018

Sunday 11 March 2018: Fourth Sunday of Lent
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High
CHRISTIAN AID are holding a celebratory musical evening in Inverness Cathedral on Tuesday 15 March at 7.30m featuring our own St Stephen’s Choir, Inverness Hand Bells Group and other local choirs. All welcome. Donations to ‘Mothers in Malawi’. Details from Alastair Owens af.owens3<at>
90KG RICE CHALLENGE As part of Fairtrade fortnight (26 February to 11 March), Kilombero Malawian rice will be available for sale over the next few weeks. The proceeds of the sale of 90kg is equivalent to one year of secondary school fees in this sub-Saharan African country. White and Brown rice available £3 per bag. Contact Andy Pyott or Winnie Stafford for more details.
OUR MINISTER As you will know, Peter has been off for a few weeks. At first it was feared there was an issue again with his heart, but he has now been diagnosed as suffering from a bacterial infection in his lung, something which seems to be quite prevalent this winter. He is now on a course of treatment, and hopes to be able return to work before too long. Peter and Katharina would like to thank members of the congregation for their concern and prayers at this time.
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>
SOUTHSIDE NURSING HOME: There will be a short service, led by Isobel Allan, 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 Isobel after the service. We still also seek members willing to lead these services on a rota basis; please contact Janet Robertson, janetnfraser<at>
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP is meeting in St Stephen’s vestry every week during Lent, from Sunday 18 February. A 6-week study programme has been identified, which provides a Biblical focus on migration, and the particular challenge this issue presents us in Europe in our own time. We hope this will prove a thought-provoking theme for reflection and conversation during this special time in the Christian Year. New hearts and minds joining in would be most welcome. For details about the study material please contact Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>
HIGHLAND FOODBANK During the month of March the Foodbank would be grateful for donations of Tins of corned beef, Tins of mince/stew, Cartons of long life juice, Tins of ham (small). Please bring these to Church and leave in the Food boxes provided. Thank you! Bill Guthrie williamguthrie<at>
CRAFT EVENING in St Stephen’s Hall 7.30–9pm on Wednesday 7 March. 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.
PRAYERS DURING LENT AT ST STEPHEN’S Every Friday from 1pm -1.30pm starting Friday 16 February. All welcome. Ruth Martin
OLD HIGH MUSIC on Saturday 17 March at 12 noon. Robin is bringing together, for the first time, 2 groups of musicians whom he conducts. Along with guest soloists, the Ness Sinfonia and the Inverness Singers will perform Schubert’s Mass in G Major, with an accompanying programme of Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and a cello arrangement of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Farewell to Stromness. Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>
OLD HIGH HALLS RENTALS Jim Monro has kindly looked after the Old High hall lets, but wishes to step down from this role. If anyone can take this role on, please get in touch with Linda Philip or Christine Mackenzie.
SPRING/SUMMER OPENING OF THE OLD HIGH CHURCH We are meeting in the church at 2pm on Tuesday 6 March to discuss the programme for 2018. If you can spare a couple of hours a week or on an occasional basis to welcome visitors to the church during the Spring/Summer please come along and find out more. Contact Sheila MacLeod macloshei<at>
GIFT AID AND FREEWILL OFFERING TREASURER VACANCY Sandy Cumming has decided to stand down as Gift Aid and Freewill Offering Treasurer after several years of service. A successor is needed for this important role which enables OHSS to recover some £18000 per annum from HMRC. As well as record keeping, the role involves preparation and submission of two claims per annum. If you are interested, or know someone who might be willing to serve OHSS in this capacity, then please contact Sandy Cumming.
OHSS MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTIONS Willie Morrison urgently requires articles and photos for the March issue. Please submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to willie<at> The deadline is Friday 16th March.
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.
WORD FOR TODAY is available in both vestibules.
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to the Church Administrator at invernesschurch<at> Deadline is Wednesday at 12 noon. Please keep all items as brief as possible, and include contact details (phone and/or email).
VISITING SERVICE FOR THE NORTH OF SCOTLAND The above registered charity is urgently looking for volunteers. Can you give up one hour a week to befriend an older, isolated or lonely person? This can be an all-win situation, as rewarding for the volunteers as it is enjoyable for the recipients. If you are interested, please write to the Visiting Service, 28 Culloden Road, Balloch, Inverness IV2 7HQ or contact Alan Michael alan<at>
BLYTHSWOOD Maintenance Officer required to organise and plan the maintenance of grounds and buildings at Blythswood Deephaven Depot, including undertaking front line repair and replacement. 22.5 hours per week over 3 days between Monday and Friday. Closing date 16 March. Application form/job description from Barbara Grace personnel<at> or
HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS YOUTH FOR CHRIST (HIYFC) are hosting a celebration event on Tuesday 20 March 2018 at Dalneigh & Bona Church of Scotland, St Marys Avenue, Inverness at 6:30-9pm (a light buffet will be provided). HIYFC exists to see every young person in the Highlands and Islands reached relevantly with the Good News of Jesus, and we are delighted to invite you and others in your congregations to come along and hear about some of our work, and also hear about our plans in moving forward! Contact Linda Buchan pdw<at>
WORLD COUNCIL VISIT TO PALESTINE AND ISRAEL (4-14 May 2018) led by Rev Grant Barclay, Giffnock, Orchardhill,. A 10-day pilgrimage to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will take in the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jaffa, and Tiberias, introducing you to the local Christians and partners of the Church of Scotland, as well as visiting some of the major Biblical sites. Guided by a local Palestinian Christian, with support from two local Church of Scotland ministers. Register interest/information from roger<at>

Sunday Bulletin 4 June 2017

Sunday 11 June 2017
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15 Morning Worship at the Old High
Services led by Rev Andrew Lyon
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to the Church Administrator invernesschurch<at> Deadline Wednesday at 12noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and give a contact phone number and email.
Details from : invernesschurch<at>
INTERIM MODERATOR The Rev Alastair Younger has been appointed Interim Moderator in the absence of Rev Peter Nimmo due to illness. His contact details are younger873<at>
PASTORAL CARE will be provided by Rev Arthur Sinclair, our Pastoral Assistant arthursinclair<at> while Peter is absent from his duties, due to illness.
SOUTHSIDE NURSING HOME There will be a short service, led by Iain Todd, 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. We still also seek members willing to lead these services on a rota basis; please contact Janet Robertson janetnfraser<at>
CHRISTIAN AID Many thanks to all who helped in any way with, firstly, the Coffee Morning which raised the fine total of £880.95 and secondly, the house to house collection. Also thanks to all who contributed via the envelopes distributed at the Church services and who will contribute at the Old High Communion retiring offering today. Any house to house collections or church collections should be given to Susan MacLeod at St Stephen’s or to Roberta MacKintosh at the Old High today, or to myself at 5 Beaufort Road, after 1 June. The returned envelopes will be counted following the St Stephen’s service on 4 June. Watch the magazine for totals! Thanks again to all. Ken Cantlay ken.cantlay<at>
FRIENDS OF THE OLD HIGH CHURCH The Old High will be open from10am till 4pm on Friday 9 June, St Columba Day. There will be organ music at intervals during the day and a short talk at 1pm about St Columba and his connection to the Old High and Inverness. Refreshments available. For information contact Christina Cameron christinajcameron6<at>
OLD HIGH MUSIC Saturday 10 June at 12 noon will be the opportunity this year to hear a number of advanced music pupils from around Inverness. Some of them will perform pieces they are playing at the Highland Young Musician of the Year Competition the following weekend. We know from recent years how encouraging it can be for these young people to play for an appreciative audience, so we do hope many of you will be able to come along to add support.
Looking ahead to the evening of Wednesday 5 July, the Old High is thrilled to be hosting the Highland Concert being organised as part of the Kellie Consort 2017 Summer Tour The Kellie Consort is made up of outstandingly talented young singers and instrumentalists, with a connection to Scotland, who wish to develop their skills in baroque performance to the highest level. The soloist and coach on this tour is Philip Higham, Principal Cello at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. This charity has to operate on a low budget and therefore has asked whether OHSS can offer one night’s B&B to the 14 musicians after the concert. I have given an undertaking that we will try and organise that, so I’d be most grateful to hear as soon as possible from anyone who could offer such hospitality. Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>
OHSS MAGAZINE Our Editor requires articles and photos for the June issue. Please submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to willie<at> The deadline is Wednesday 14 June as he will be away briefly from the 15th. (01463 792076).
OLD HIGH CHURCH OPENING The Old High will be open for visitors from 1 June to the end of September on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week from 10am-12 noon and 2-4 pm each day. If you are able to help with this please contact Sheila MacLeod macloshei<at> If you can’t help every week we will still need people to help out on an occasional basis to cover in case of illness and holidays and will keep a list of those who can help in this way. In advance thank you for your help and I know that visitors to the City will appreciate being able to see round the Old High Church during their visit. Christine Mackenzie christinemac73<at>
AFTERNOON TEA AT ST STEPHEN’S £326 was raised. Grateful thanks to those who supported this event. Sadly not well attended but those who came were very appreciative of the effort to make this a proper afternoon tea. Many thanks to all who contributed and helped on the day. Margaret McAleer margaretmcaleer<at>
FIRE DRILL We propose to hold a fire drill next month (weather permitting) and we hereby attach a plan of St Stephen’s church and hall. St Stephen’s – Please note there are 4 fire exit doors on the plan and we ask you to familiarise yourself with them all. Old High: There are two exit doors, the east and west door. Linda Philip .
BARNABAS PERFORMANCE The choirs of St Stephen’s, Old High, Crown and Ness Bank are to join forces for a performance of Barnabas, a semi- staged cantata on the evening of Sunday 17 September in St Stephen’s Church. Roger Jones, the composer, and his team from Christian Music Ministries (CMM) are touring Scotland in September performing the musical in a variety of churches. The large choir will sing the chorus sections of the work whilst the team from Birmingham will provide the vocal solos, dialogue and instrumental accompaniment. It will be a ‘night off’ for Robin, Pam and Alyn. The choirs are soon to be meeting to learn the light-hearted music. If you would like to join the choir for this project please get in touch with Pam at pam.41<at> We hope that many of you will come along to the performance to support your choirs and enjoy the music. You can find further information about Christian Music Ministries at Pam McCulloch.
HIGHLAND FOODBANK During the months of May and June the Foodbank would welcome donations of: Tins of potatoes, Crackers/ Oatcakes, Jars of Pasta sauce, Tins of Corned Beef. ‘Bags for Life’ are also very well received for packing the goods when they are given out. Please bring these items to Church and they will be taken to the Foodbank. Blythswood are very grateful for our support. Contact Bill Guthrie: williamwguthrie<at> The Foodbank Centres in Hilton and Madras Street have vacancies for volunteers (a couple of hours every week/fortnight). Contact Lorna Dempster lorna.dempster<at>
WORD FOR TODAY New copies of the daily readings Word for Today are now available in both churches. Ruth Martin.
CROSSREACH newsletter and prayer diary (June – Sept) are available at church doors. Contact Rae Swan
Thy Kingdom Come- Inverness Prayer Space and Joint Churches Celebration This is an initiative facilitating global prayer between Ascension and Pentecost (25 May to 4 June). Churches across the Inverness area are delighted to be hosting a physical prayer room, open 24 hours a day, at CYC Centre,12 Bank Street, Inverness IV1 1QR. Sign up for your hour slot to pray at Come on your own, with a spouse or group of friends to pray during that hour, whether 3pm or 3am to continue an unbroken prayer chain. On Sunday 4 June, from 6pm to 7.30pm, there will be a joint churches celebration at Inverness Cathedral. Details from Rev Trevor Hunt inverness<at>
WATOTO CHILDREN’S CHOIR are putting on two concerts at the Inverness Cathedral on Tuesday 6 June at 1.30pm and again at 7pm. Admission free. Details from Cathedral Office.
HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS YOUTH FOR CHRIST BIG FRIENDS GATHERING Monday 12 June, Barn Church Culloden, 6:30-8:30pm. An evening of fellowship about the work of HIYFC in schools and in the community, with the opportunity to ask questions and pray together for the young people of our area. Light buffet. Contact: Linda Buchan pdw<at>
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND VOCATIONS CONFERENCE 2017 Saturday 17 June 2017. Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline. This 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. £15 booking fee. Details and and to register: Ministries Council, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN. vocation<at> Spaces are limited – booking is essential. You must attend this if you are interested in full-time ministry in the Church.
NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST SCOTLAND 7-9am Tuesday 20 June Culduthel Christian Centre. Details

Sunday Bulletin 16 April 2017

Sunday 23 April 2017
10am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am Morning Worship at the Old High
Both services led by Rev Doug McRoberts
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to the Church Administrator invernesschurch<at> Deadline Wednesday at 12noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and give a contact phone number and email.
Further details : invernesschurch<at>
INTERIM MODERATOR The Rev Alastair Younger has been appointed Interim Moderator in the absence of Rev Peter Nimmo due to illness. His contact details are younger873<at>
PASTORAL CARE will be provided by Rev Arthur Sinclair, our Pastoral Assistant arthursinclair<at> while Peter is absent from his duties, due to illness.
MINISTER Peter now has a date for his second medical procedure. It will be this coming Wednesday at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. We are hoping this will be a success and that he will be back to work before long. Peter and Katharina would like to thank the congregation for their prayers and concern.
ST STEPHEN’S DOOR DUTY ROTA We have a couple of gaps in this year’s rota for May, and need volunteers to help welcome people to church. This is a great help in the church and a good way to meet more people. If you or someone you know would be willing to do this for a couple of Sundays in May, it would be greatly appreciated. As well as greeting people, some of our welcomers help with serving tea and counting the offering; but you don’t have to do these things. Contact Deborah Macrae dmmacrae<at>
THE SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP will meet in St Stephen’s Vestry tonight at 7pm, so we can complete our celebration of Easter together, by starting to explore a new section in the book entitled ‘Hope’. Thereafter we shall meet fortnightly, on Sundays 30 April, and 14 and 28 May. We would welcome anyone to join with us, even for the summer months. Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>
OLD HIGH MUSIC The next recital will be at 12 noon on Saturday 22 April, when there will be a chance to hear an acclaimed young pianist who has already performed in venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall. Maciej Granat will play a Bach Sonata, work by Saint-Saens and then tell us about and perform a beautiful composition of his own. For those of you who attended the piano recital in the last series, you will recall how exciting it is to be able to hear and watch a pianist from closeby. One of the pieces is written for left hand only and is an extraordinary demonstration of the versatility of the piano and the technique of a top-class musician. Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>
AFTERNOON COMMUNION SERVICE There will be a short service with Communion on Saturday 29 April at 2.30pm in St Stephen’s Church. This is open to all, but is particularly suitable for those who are unable to attend the regular morning Communion services. Elders will give further information and can arrange transport. Tea will be served after the service. Contact Val Cantlay val.cantlay<at> (Will elders, please, collect information sheets from Linda or Christine)
HIGHLAND FOODBANK During March and April the Foodbank would appreciate the following items – Tinned potatoes, Crackers/Oatcakes, Tinned ham (small), Soap/Shower gel  Contact Val Cantlay val.cantlay<at>
OHSS SPRING WALK, Farigaig Forest, on Sunday 7 May 2017. Meet 2pm in the car park for the walk. There are 3 different walks at the forest ranging from a 20 minute steep walk to a viewpoint over Loch Ness, a 1¾ mile loop, or the Farigaig trail 3¼ mile. Proposed times are as above for the intermediate loop. However, you can start earlier if you want a longer walk. Walking shoes and poles recommended. You can also just come for the cup of tea/coffee at the lovely Waterfall café for 3.15pm. Please let me know if you need a lift or if you want to share a car. Hope to see you there. Deborah Macrae.
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING The annual coffee morning will be held on Saturday 13 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 jennifer<at>
SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP GROUP Would you like company to perhaps attend the theatre/cinema/coffee/day trips? It is hoped to form a Social Friendship Group but obviously depends on uptake. This would be a way of meeting and getting to know people. If you would like further information please contact Margaret McAleer (Social & Fundraising Action Team).
AURICULAS FOR SALE (in aid of Christian Aid) Margaret Young has a box of mature auricula plants, almost in flower, surplus to her requirements. It would be more sensible to sell them now rather than waiting until the Christian Aid Coffee Morning. Suggested price £5. kenmag20<at> if interested.
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND VOCATIONS CONFERENCE 2017 on Saturday 17 June 2017 at The Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline.This 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. £15 booking fee. For further details and to register contact Ministries Council, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN. vocation<at> Spaces are limited – booking is essential.
INVERNESS SCIENCE FESTIVAL Crown Church is taking part in Inverness Science Festival Week (Saturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May) and will be open between 10am and 4pm (2pm and 4pm on Sunday) for an exhibition which is open to the public ‘The God Dimension: Do faith and science need each other?’ On Tuesday 2 May at 8pm, there will be a lecture, open to anyone, given by Rev Dr Alistair Donald, Chaplain to Heriot-Watt University, entitled ‘Is it OK to believe?’. For programme details contact Eileen Ardern eileenardern<at>
LGOWIT VOLUNTEER TRAINERS We are currently looking for more volunteer trainers to help lead Self Management training courses in each area.To this end a Volunteer Trainer course has been organised over four days 24/25 May and 19/20 July. If you know of anyone who may be interested please let them know and encourage them to take up this exciting opportunity. Further details and a job description from Roy Anderson LGOWITRoy<at>

Children of the Spirit: a sermon for Pentecost 2016

Scripture Readings: Acts 2:1-13

Romans 8:14-17

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

Last Sunday, when we heard about the Ascension of Jesus, I said that the early Christians had a strong sense of the continuing presence of Christ among them. In his last conversation with his followers, Luke has the risen Christ tell them, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. John [the Baptist] baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’[1].

In our reading for today, we hear what happened when the day arrive. On the Jewish festival of Pentecost, the Spirit arrives with power, colour and noise. Luke describes it in colourful language- a noise from the sky, tongues of fire touching each person, and an excitement that sends the believers out onto the streets to preach to people of every nation. The believers are so lively, so full of joy, so uninhibited about taking their message to the streets, that some people think they are drunk! Continue reading

Sermon for Christian Aid Week by Rev Dr Craig Gardiner

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
10 May 2015, Christian Aid Sunday
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

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.

Life in its fullness- for everyone! A sermon for Christian Aid Week 2014

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 11 May 2014: Year A, Christian Aid Sunday

Texts: Psalm 23
John 10:1-10

Life in its fullness- for everyone!
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Someone told me a tale recently of a young girl from Glasgow sent to stay on holiday on some Hebridean island. The island aunt and uncle were strict Sabbatarians, and after church in the morning there was not a lot to do, for she’d been told that she ought to stay in and quietly read an improving book. She certainly wasn’t go out and to play and disturb the island’s Sabbath calm. But she asked her aunt if she could be allowed to at least go out to take a quiet walk to the bottom of the garden. Continue reading

Christian Aid Week 2014

J2450-CAW-120x90-banner-gifThis week members of our congregation are collecting round the streets of our parish for Christian Aid.

On Saturday, they already raised lots of money at a coffee morning for Christian Aid.

To find out more about Christian Aid week, visit the Christian Aid Week website. You can also make a donation to Christian Aid there.

Here’s the film about Colombia which we watched at St Stephen’s today.


Here’s a film about work with refugees in South Sudan, mentioned in the sermon on Christian Aid Sunday.


Here the text of the leaflet our collectors are taking with them.

For a growing number of people across the world, the horror of war is a part of daily life.
Right now, fuelled by the devastating violence in both Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the numbers of people driven from their homes by war is on the rise. It stands at 42 million people- an appalling statistic and a stain on the conscience of humanity. We can’t turn our backs. We must act now.
Could you provide the gift of hope?
£15 could provide blankets for refugee children to protect them from bitter night-time temperatures.
£40 could provide enough good quality and nutritious food for two refugee children for a month.
£150 could help provide specialist emotional support for a child deeply traumatised by the horror of war that they’ve witnessed or experienced.
The money we raise during Christian Aid week goes to partners helping those displaced by war. They help people regardless of their religion.
Last year, 20,000 churches across the country helped raise £12m for Christian Aid Week.
This week, hundreds of people from Inverness churches are once more collecting for Christian Aid because we know their partners do so much to help those in need.
Thank you for supporting Christian Aid, and helping the victims of war.
Rev Peter W Nimmo, Minister of Old High St Stephen’s Parish Church

Christmas offerings for Syria Crisis appeal

Since the conflict in Syria began in March 2011, more than 100,000 people have been killed, over 2.2 million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries and at least another five million people have been displaced inside Syria.

The number of vulnerable people is increasing as the humanitarian crisis deepens.

Christian Aid are working through partners in Lebanon and Iraq to respond to the growing Syrian refugee crisis.

All our offerings at our Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day services will go to Christian Aid’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

Click here to find out more about Christian Aid’s work with Syrian refugees and to donate direct to Christian Aid.

Click here for details of our Christmas services.

‘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
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