After the referendum- time to reflect this Sunday

Reconciliation ServiceJoin us this Sunday at Stephen’s as we watch and discuss the service of reconciliation which took place at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, on the Sunday following the Scottish independence referendum.

The ‘service reflecting shared values and common purpose’ was the idea of the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev John Chalmers, who also preached the sermon at the service.

During his sermon, the Moderator said,

Post referendum there are those who are elated or at least relieved, and there are those who are desperately disappointed, “gutted” – is the description that I have frequently heard. Feelings like these will take time to heal and I want no one to think that I think that there is a quick fix or an easy “dusting down”. For some, this referendum has been about national identity; for us all it has been about self-identity and that is about as close to the soul as it gets. So recovery and healing is a soul searching matter and for me, that is a deeply spiritual matter – so no quick fix. Instead, it will take a force of magnanimity and graciousness to restore equilibrium to both nation and individuals.

On Sunday night at St Stephen’s. we will be watching highlights of the service, and having some discussion about whether there is a need for reconciliation after the referendum, and where country goes from here.

More about the St Giles’ service here.

The discussion at St Stephen’s will follow a short evening communion service, to which anyone is welcome.

The service begins at 7pm, and the film and discussion starts at 7.30pm. People are welcome to come to either or both events.

The Moderator will be hosting a nationwide discussion on 5 November  about the aftermath of the referendum, ‘Scotland’s Future Now’. The venue in Inverness will be Crown Church. More details to follow.

Respectful dialogue on independence

Indref logoOn Wednesday 3 September, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will host a ‘respectful dialogue’ on the Scottish Independence Referendum.

The event in Glasgow will be live streamed on the internet, and shown at local venues across the country.

The Inverness event will be at Crown Church, Kingsmills Road, starting at 7pm. Car parking will be available in the adjoining Crown School playground. Everyone is welcome to join us.

The Rev Peter W Nimmo, minister of Old High St Stephen’s and a member of the Church and Society Council of the General Assembly, will chair the Inverness event.

Our thanks to the Rev Peter Donald for the use of Crown Church.

Let us know you are coming at our Facebook events page!

The Church of Scotland is officially neutral on the referendum.

Read the press release for local media.

Below is the event leaflet.

You can also download a copy of it.

Indyref dialogue leaflet 1                                   Indyref dialogue leaflet 2

Commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War

WW1 Inverness mobilization

Across the country and around the world, events are taking place to recall the events of the outbreak of the First World War.

In Inverness,  civic service to remember the outbreak of the First World War will take place at the Old High Church, Church Street, at 2pm on Monday 4 August. Everyone is welcome to the service.

The reflective service will begin with the lighting of a memorial candle by the Provost of Inverness, and will include psalms, hymns, readings and prayers. The Inverness Handbell Ringers will play ‘In Flanders Fields’, music set by composer by Sandra Winter to a poem by John McRae.

Following the service the memorial candle will be taken in procession to St Andrew’s Cathedral, where it will burn until the centenary of the end of the war.

You can download the order of service here.

Read the Minister’s reflection at the service here.

Read an historical account of mobilzation in Inverness in August 1914 here.

WW1 What do we learn from all this logo

 

Faithful Thomas! A sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter 2014

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 27 April 2014: Year A, The Second Sunday of Easter

SERMON
Texts: 1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

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

This week there was controversy as the Prime Minister suggested that we shouldn’t be chary of calling Britain a ‘Christian country’. Perhaps once that wouldn’t have been such a controversial idea- but it seemed to worry some people, who felt moved to write to the papers decrying the idea. Continue reading

Lent Study 2014: Parables and Possessions

Lent courseOur minister will lead a Lent Bible Study this year on the vexed issue of money.

We will be meeting on Wednesdays during Lent, at 7.30pm at St Stephen’s, on the following dates: 12 March, 19 March, 26 March, 2 April, 9 April.

These studies are open to anyone from any church or none.

The Bible says a lot about money. We will be looking at some of the parables of Jesus to consider how we can be in a right relationship to money, and how that can help us be in a right relationship to God.

We will be following the ecumenical Lent Course of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, entitled Parables and Possessions: on economics and a right relationship with money.

The course is inspired by the Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity which reported to the Church of Scotland General Assembly in 2012. There is a link to the full report, and other information, on the Poverty and Economics page of the Church of Scotland website.

Topics include:

  • Temptation (wealth, possessions, consumerism)
  • Betrayal (where do our true values lie?)
  • Forgiveness (Church of Scotland version of the Lord’s Prayer talks about forgiving debts, not sins or trespasses)
  • Ridicule (trauma, prophetic voice, being disregarded)
  • Sacrifice (what do others give up for us, what do we give up for others?)
  • Transformation (Christ’s love active in the world, not only for ourselves but for all humankind).

Here’s an extract from the introduction to the course materials:

The Bible says more about money, economics and making a living than any other subject. It is clear, therefore, that God wants us to be in a right relationship with money and this will aid us in our quest to be in a right relationship with God.

In our daily lives we have to make lots of decisions. Many if not most of these have some dimension of money attached to them, whether the decisions we have to make are to do with our family, our community or our nation. It is vital that we make decisions which will impact for the best on those around us (including ourselves). Experience tells us that we have not always been very good at this.

In recent years, we seem to have turned our backs on some traditional ways of managing our finances in favour of others that are not always in the best interests of ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, and even our planet. Many of us have not hesitated to get into serious debt in order to satisfy our desire for a ‘better’ life. Questions have also been asked about government expenditure decisions.

Living under the kind of financial pressures to which we have subjected ourselves can have very serious effects on our mental health as well as our economic health. A right relationship with money is necessary for healthy personal relationships to prosper.

The season of Lent has sometimes been associated with sacrifice, of giving up a luxury or taking up a new responsibility for a period. In this course you are invited to lay aside any indolence (by which we mean apathy and world-weariness) around the subject of personal economics which is sometimes the result of a sense of helplessness. You are encouraged to be more discerning about those in whom you place your trust.
You are challenged to identify the best interests of your neighbours, especially the weak and marginalised.

The course focuses on a different parable in each session. Each parable is preceded by a Lent reflection.

Each week includes a mixture of materials for reflection, commentary on one of Jesus’ parables, the occasional quote to spark a reaction, some questions and a prayer. There is also a suggestion of something to do as follow-up, a practical action expressing Christian discipleship in the world.

More information from the Minister (01463 250 802; peternimmo[a]minister.com).

The Rev Peter W Nimmo is a member of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, and is currently involved with writing a report on wealth and taxation which will come to the 2015 General Assembly.

Homelessness and poverty event: Sunday 26 January

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

22 Jan 2014

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

Sunday kirk supper and drama to highlight local poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

The danger of not noticing: Sermon for Old High Communion, 27 October 2013

Communion Service at the Old High Church, Inverness
Sunday 27 October 2013
SERMON
Text: Luke 16:19-31

The danger of not noticing
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

In most homes, the dining table is an important piece of furniture. The dining table in our kitchen is special, indeed was already special even before it came to us. We were not long in Carntyne, living in a manse for the first time, in a house which was much larger than any we had lived in before, when Alan and Helen came to me. Continue reading

Hope in disastrous times- sermon for 6 October 2013: Year C, Proper 22

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 6 October 2013: Year C, Proper 22

SERMON
Texts: Lamentations 1:1-6 and 3:19-26
Luke 17:5-10

Hope in disastrous times

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

I have a wonderful memory of the first time I saw the Mediterranean Sea. I opened the blind on a sleeper train window in the south of France, and saw a sea which was a blue colour I thought you could only get in paintings. For most of us, ‘the Med’ is a place of beauty, relaxation, fun. But, like any sea, it is also dangerous. Continue reading

Same-sex relationships and the ministry- some resources

The place of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons continues to be a matter of controversy within many churches worldwide.

In 2010 the Kirk Session (governing body) of Old High St Stephen’s adopted the following statement:

Our interpretation of the Bible is that God’s Grace is inclusive and the life of Jesus emphasized God’s love and openness to the powerless and the marginalized in society. Therefore it would be wrong to discriminate in the Church on the basis of sexual orientation.

This was in response to a request from a Special Commission which was investigating the issue on behalf of the Church of Scotland.

To prepare for our Kirk Session’s discussions, we held adult education events for members of the congregation. Our minister, the Rev Peter W Nimmo wrote a paper for these events, which deals both with the theological and practical issues facing the Church of Scotland. You can read his paper here.

Please visit this page again for more resources on this topic.

If you have any concerns about issues of sexuality, please do not hesitate to contact Peter.