God’s mission, and ours: Sermon for Trinity Sunday 2016

Scripture Readings: Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

God’s mission, and ours

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

When I was at school, I quite liked science- though I would never pursue it very far, because to do so you need to be good at maths, which I never mastered. But I did like the experiments. Earlier we were talking with the children about the different states of water- that ice and steam are, in fact, water in different states. At school, we once took a balloon full of hydrogen to the bottom of a playing field, put a naked flame to it, and it filled an empty cup with water- almost a magic trick. But the hydrogen had reacted with the oxygen in the atmosphere to make H2O- water. Liquid water, ice and steam are all made of hydrogen and water- different aspects of the same stuff. Light that you can see, infrared light that makes automatic doors work, X-rays, radar, electricity and magnetism, TV and radio waves are also different aspects of the same thing- different wavebands of electromagnetic radiation.

Nowadays, the scientists are trying to bring together all the different strands of knowledge about the universe, searching for the maths that will explain the forces which hold atoms together through to the gravitational forces which hold galaxies together. They all it ‘the theory of everything’- and they are tantalising close to working it all out. Continue reading

Church Accounts for 2015

Copies of the OHSS Annual Trustees Report and Annual Accounts for 2015 are now available from Sandy Cumming, Church Treasurer. Please click the links to download them:

Annual Trustees Report

Annual Accounts

At the Annual Business Meeting held on 17 April at the Old High Church, the main income and expenditure items were presented and explained by Sandy Cumming, our Treasurer. The following Financial Review forms part of the Trustees Annual Report. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Sandy Cumming on 01463 795533 or by emailing sandy.cumming<a>btopenworld.com.

Financial Review for 2015

Offerings fell from £93,246 in 2014 to £89,255 in 2015, a fall of some 4.3 per cent. Tax recovered under Gift Aid decreased from £20,426 in 2014 to £18,808. The reduction in offerings is a serious concern.

The number of members using Freewill Offering Envelopes was 66, and the number of members using bank standing orders was 90. Several successful fund raising events took place throughout the year, contributing a total of £4,932 to Fabric Funds. Two legacies, totalling £3,000 were received.

Income from halls’ letting was £10,048, very similar to the sum raised in 2014.There were several items of property expenditure during the year. The Old High Church roof repairs cost £28,600. Electrical works at the Old High Church amounted to £5,149, and £934 was spent on repairs to the Old High Church Halls roof. An insurance claim for the Old High Church roof repairs generated £5,649. VAT on eligible repairs was reclaimed under the Listed Places of Worship Scheme. The Manse had a room decorated at a cost of £600.

During 2015, efforts were made to redevelop the Old High Halls following an approach from a local charity for office space. Gross expenditure of £6,248 was incurred on the Old High Halls project in 2015, albeit this was offset by a contribution of £4,386 received from the potential tenant.

In preparation for the staging date of 1 April 2016, registration has taken place with a workplace pension scheme called NEST (National Employment Savings Trust).

A major review of the congregation’s financial situation was undertaken in 2014 in two phases – firstly, a comprehensive Financial Appraisal was carried out followed by a Next Steps Action Plan. It is very evident that status quo is unsustainable since income is barely covering annual running costs. As a result, no funds are being added to reserves which have been depleted by some £40,000 in past two years. The Trustees are reviewing whether the current size of congregation can sustain the overheads of two places of worship and halls.

Property Programme Approved by Leadership Team
At its meeting held on 15 May 2016, the Leadership Team approved a programme of necessary property expenditure costing some £9250. At the Manse, the bathroom will be replaced and a new garden shed will be erected. The external doors of St Stephen’s church will be painted. New lighting will be installed in the central area of the Old High church. New radio microphone equipment will be purchased for both places of worship. Various minor maintenance works, such as cleaning gutters and down pipes, will also be undertaken. For further information, please contact Joan Darcy about Manse and St Stephen’s works, and Richard McIntosh or Chrissie Lacey regarding Old High works.

Sunday Bulletin 22 May 2016

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 29 May 2016: Proper 4
10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
led by Reader Stewart Robertson
11.15am: Communion at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN please send items to invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline: Wednesday at noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and give a contact phone number and email.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further details and contact information : invernesschurch<at>gmail.com (substitute <at> with @).
OLD HIGH ORGANIST We are delighted to confirm that Robin Versteeg will be the next Organist and Director of Choir at the Old High. Robin and his family are moving from Perthshire, and he hopes to start with us in July. Robin’s try-out for us back in March gave us a sense of what a terrific musician he is. We hope everyone will fully support him as we move on into a new chapter in the Old High’s musical history. More details next the coming weeks, or contact Andrew Stevenson.
CHURCH BAND will play at St Stephen’s on Sunday 5 June for Sundae Sunday. There will be a rehearsal on Thursday 2 June at 7pm. Please contact Pam if you would like to join in. Most instruments very welcome! pam.41<at>tiscali.co.uk
LETTER ON PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CONGREGATION was handed out to all attending last Sunday’s services. If you did not get a copy of this important letter, please pick up a copy from the church doors today. Would elders also take copies to anyone in their district who did not get one? The letter is also available from our webpage: http://oldhighststephens.com/letter-about-the-congregations-future/ . The Session warmly welcomes your comments – please send them to our Session Clerk, at lindajphilip<at>hotmail.com or by post to Linda Philip, c/o St Stephen’s Church, Southside Road, Inverness, IV2 4XA. More information will be given out over the next few weeks.
GIFT FOR HEIDI HERCUS Heidi left us last Sunday, and we will greatly miss her. If you would still like to donate for a gift for Heidi, please contact our Treasurer Sandy Cumming or send a cheque made payable to Old High St Stephen’s to him.
MEET & EAT! There will be a gathering for Lunch on Thursday 26 May at 12.30pm at the Craigmonie Hotel. Everyone is welcome! Please get in touch if you would like to come. Contact Val Cantlay.
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP There will be no group this evening, but it will gather again in St Stephen’s Church at the earlier time of 7pm on Sunday 5th June and then continue fortnightly till early July.
If anyone else would like to join in, or for information about the book, which we are finding really stimulating for discussion, please contact Andrew Stevenson.
OHSS QUIZ SHEETS available from today at the church doors. Questions on Old Inverness. £1 each, proceeds in aid of Fabric Fund. The winning entry will be drawn on 8 June and winner will receive a £5 gift voucher. Further information Margaret McAleer..
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING £804 was raised at the very successful coffee morning last Saturday. Thank you to all those who contributed with donations of plants and baking, helped on the day, and came to offer their support on Saturday morning. Jennifer Morrison jennifer<at>kenilweb.com.
CHRISTIAN AID COLLECTION AT OLD HIGH CONCERT raised £400 exactly last Saturday morning at the concert given by the Inverness Choral as part of the Old High Concert Series. I have written to Gordon Tocher to thank him and the choir for giving of their time, and also for helping us support this year’s Appeal. Andrew Stevenson.
WORD FOR TODAY. The new issue of Word for Today, a daily prayer guide, is available in both churches.
OHSS JUNE MAGAZINE Editor Willie Morrison requires articles and photos for the June issue. Submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to willie<at>kenilweb.com. Deadline Friday 10 June.
ANNUAL ACCOUNTS 2015: if you are interested in reading a copy of the OHSS Annual Accounts 2015, then please contact Sandy Cumming sandy.cumming<at>btopenworld.com. They will also shortly be available on our website.
DEPUTE SESSION CLERK Following Margaret Sutherland’s accident, Christine Mackenzie is now acting Depute Session Clerk. We thank Christine for taking this on, and continue to hold Margaret in our prayers.
OTHER NEWS
TALK BY THE VERY REV JOHN CHALMERS, PRINCIPAL CLERK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY on Saturday 11 June at 7pm at Ness Bank Church Hall, about his year as Moderator (2015-16). Refreshments, followed by a deeper discussion and reflection on where we are today as the National Church. If you have a question for the evening please contact Rev Fiona Smith as soon as possible. Fsmith<at>churchofscotland.org.uk
HIGHLAND FOODBANK Blythswood Care – for May they are looking for tinned mince, cream crackers and tinned corned beef. They are also looking for volunteers for a couple of hours, for a supermarket collection on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd July at Tesco Extra, Inshes. Contact: Lorna Dempster adrienne.dempster<at>blythswood.org.
LET’S GET ON WITH IT TOGETHER (LGOWIT) is hosting free lunch events in Inverness, aimed at anyone living with a long term condition. Dates and venues: Tuesday 24 May in Hilton Church; Thursday 26 May in Smithton Free Church; Tuesday 31 March in Trinity Church- all 12 noon to 2pm. Contact Roy Anderson: lgowitroy<at>highlandtsi.org.uk.
NYA 2016 (The Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly) Friday 19 to Monday 22nd August at Gartmore House, near Stirling. Annual residential event is for young adults aged between 17 and 25. Tickets on a first come first served basis and need to be booked by 18th July- financial help is available. If you know anyone who would like to go, please contact Peter.
CROWN CHURCH are seeking a new secretary. The standard working week is 14 hours, though with the possibility of extra hours. Pay, depending on skills and experience, £18-20K pro rata. More details from the Minister, the Rev Peter Donald: PDonald<at>churchofscotland.org.uk.

Sunday Bulletin 15 May 2016

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 22 May 2016: Trinity Sunday
General Assembly Sunday
10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am: Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN please send items to invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline: Wednesday at noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and give a contact phone number and email.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further details and contact information : invernesschurch<at>gmail.com (replace <at> with @).
A LETTER REGARDING PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CONGREGATION was handed out to all attending last Sunday’s services. If you did not get a copy of this important letter, please pick up a copy from the church doors today. Would elders also take copies to anyone in their district who did not get one? The letter is also available from our webpage: http://oldhighststephens.com/letter-about-the-congregations-future/ . The Session warmly welcomes your comments – please send them to our Session Clerk, at lindajphilip<at>hotmail.com or by post to Linda Philip, c/o St Stephen’s Church, Southside Road, Inverness, IV2 4XA.
GIFT FOR HEIDI HERCUS Heidi will be leaving us shortly, and we will greatly miss her. If you would like to donate for a gift for Heidi, please bring cash or a cheque made payable to Old High St Stephen’s in an envelope and put it in the offering next week. Or send a cheque to our Treasurer Sandy Cumming.
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK COLLECTION Collectors Please pick up your envelopes from Katharina Nimmo at St Stephen’s and from Roberta Macintosh at the Old High Church. Further information from Katharina Nimmo katharina.nimmo<at>btinternet.com.
DONATE TO CHRISTIAN AID We will have Christian Aid envelopes today for anyone who wants to donate, but who does not have envelopes delivered to their doors. More on Christian Aid at http://www.caweek.org/
CHRISTIAN AID WALK Help in forming a local group to accompany CA staff on the last day of their Great Glen Way walk from Drumnadrochit to Inverness next Saturday 21st May, part of the campaign Another Way: Journey to a Just World. Some may do the whole distance (18 miles) but others may want to join in on the way eg at Abriachan, Blackfold, Craig Dunain, the canal bank or even just at the Islands. It’s not about sponsorship (though that is not ruled out) but about awareness. If you are interested, please contact David Crippin for details.
CANCELLATION OF PENTECOST SONGS OF PRAISE The celebration of the church’s birthday which was planned this evening at 6.30pm at Inverness Cathedral has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.
HIGHLAND FOODBANK Blythswood Care have written a letter of thanks for our donations to date. For May, they are looking for tinned mince, cream crackers and tinned corned beef. They are also looking for volunteers for a couple of hours, for a supermarket collection on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd July at Tesco Extra, Inshes. Contact: Lorna Dempster or adrienne.dempster<at>blythswood.org.
WORD FOR TODAY. The new issue of Word for Today, a daily prayer guide, is available in both churches.
OHSS JUNE MAGAZINE Editor Willie Morrison requires articles and photos for the June issue. Submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to willie<at>kenilweb.com. Deadline Friday 10 June.
ST STEPHEN’S GRASS CUTTING ROTA If you are unable to cut the grass, please contact Bill Guthrie so other arrangements can be made. And if you’re able, he’d also like to hear from you!
OTHER NEWS
LET’S GET ON WITH IT TOGETHER (LGOWIT) is hosting free lunch events in Inverness, aimed at anyone living with a long term condition. As well as promoting the benefits of self-management and the work of the Project, the events are intended to launch two new support groups in Hilton and Merkinch, and boost one recently started in Smithton. Dates and venues: Tuesday 24 May in Hilton Church; Thursday 26 May in Smithton Free Church; Tuesday 31 March in Trinity Church- all 12 noon to 2pm. Contact Roy Anderson: lgowitroy<at>highlandtsi.org.uk.
NEW SCOTTISH HYMN BANDS ALBUM LAUNCH on Friday 27 May 2016 at 7.30pm at Smithton Culloden Church, Murray Road, Inverness IV2 7YU. New Scottish Hymns Band write new worship songs for the church. Tickets £10/£8 www.newscottishhymns.com/events
NYA 2016 (The Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly) Friday 19 to Monday 22nd August at Gartmore House, near Stirling. Annual residential event is for young adults aged between 17 and 25. Tickets on a first come first served basis and need to be booked by 18th July- financial help is available. If you know anyone who would like to go, please contact Peter.

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

Sunday Bulletin 8 May 2016

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 15 May 2016: Pentecost
Christian Aid Sunday
10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am: Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN please send items to invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline: Wednesday at noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and give a contact phone number and email.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further information and contact details: invernesschurch<at>gmail.com (replace <at> with @ )
GIFT FOR HEIDI HERCUS Heidi will be leaving us shortly, and we will greatly miss her. If you would like to donate for a gift for Heidi, please bring cash or a cheque made payable to Old High St Stephen’s in an envelope and put it in the offering next week. Or send a cheque to our Treasurer Sandy Cumming.
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK COLLECTION Collectors Please pick up your envelopes from Katharina Nimmo at St Stephen’s and from Roberta Macintosh at the Old High Church. Further information from Katharina Nimmo katharina.nimmo<at>btinternet.com)
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING next Saturday 14 May at St Stephen’s, 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 1 and 8 May. Contributions for the coffee morning can be dropped off at St Stephen’s vestry on Friday 13 May at 7.00 pm. The hall will be available the same evening at 7.00 pm for setting up. For further information please contact Jennifer Morrison jennifer<at>kenilweb.com.
After the Coffee, come for the music: OLD HIGH MUSIC Saturday 14th May at 12 noon. Inverness Choral has kindly agreed to do an additional concert as part of our recital series this year. Their programme includes music by Faure, Arensky, Elgar and Rutter. Coffee and chat at the Christian Aid coffee morning at St Stephen’s followed by beautiful music at the Old High will surely make for a special Saturday morning. Donations from this concert will be given to the Christian Aid Appeal. Please note that Church Street will be closed to normal traffic on the morning of 14th May on account of the Inverness Classic Vehicle Show. The multi-storey car park will be operating as usual, and pedestrians can cross Academy Street and access the church by School Lane. However, anyone needing to be dropped off closer to the church should use the Loading Bays in Bank Street and approach from the riverside. Details from Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>btinternet.com.
DONATE TO CHRISTIAN AID We will have Christian Aid envelopes next week for anyone who wants to donate, but who does not have envelopes deliver to their doors. More on Christian Aid at http://www.caweek.org/
PENTECOST SONGS OF PRAISE An ecumenical celebration of the church’s birthday is planned for next Sunday at 6.30pm at Inverness Cathedral. Christians from across Inverness will gather to sing favourite hymns. All welcome! Details from Peter.
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP which met throughout Lent have decided to have two further discussions to mark Pentecost. On Sunday 8 May at 7.30pm in St Stephen’s vestry, we shall read Chapter 40 of Brian Mclaren’s stimulating book “We make the road by walking”. On Sunday 15 May, we will read Chapter 41. We would welcome others joining in- details about reading material from Andrew Stevenson.
HIGHLAND FOODBANK Blythswood Care have written a letter of thanks for our donations to date. For May, they are looking for tinned mince, cream crackers and tinned corned beef. They are also looking for volunteers for a couple of hours, for a supermarket collection on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd July at Tesco Extra, Inshes. Contact: Lorna Dempster adrienne.dempster<at>blythswood.org
HOBBY/CRAFT EVENING Wednesday 11 May in St Stephen’s Church Hall 7.30-9pm and fortnightly thereafter. New Crafters welcome or if you wish to learn a craft please come along. Tea/coffee & biscuits in a very relaxed atmosphere. Further information Margaret McAleer.
WORD FOR TODAY. The new issue of Word for Today, a daily prayer guide, is available in both churches.
OHSS JUNE MAGAZINE Editor Willie Morrison requires articles and photos for the June issue. Submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to willie<at>kenilweb.com or by post. Deadline Friday 10 June.
ST STEPHEN’S GRASS CUTTING ROTA If you are unable to cut the grass, please contact Bill Guthrie so other arrangements can be made. And if you’re able, he’d also like to hear from you!
OTHER NEWS
THE INVISIBLE CHURCH: Learning from the experiences of Churchless Christians. Are you concerned about the health of the Church…discouraged by the decline of many congregations…a Christian, but not a church goer? If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then a new book by Steve Aisthorpe entitled ‘The Invisible Church’ may well be of interest. It is available at a special offer price of £11.99 including p&p until 21 May 2016. Order from Saint Andrew Press ttps://standrewpress.hymnsam.co.uk and Quote GAIC16. The book will be officially launched at the Highland Theological College on Wednesday 1 June at 2.00pm- details to follow later.
HEALING SERVICE run by the Christian Fellowship of Healing, today in St Stephen’s at 4pm. All welcome. Contact Ruth Martin.
NEW SCOTTISH HYMN BANDS ALBUM LAUNCH on Friday 27 May 2016 at 7.30pm at Smithton Culloden Church, Murray Road, Inverness IV2 7YU. New Scottish Hymns Band write new worship songs for the church. Tickets £10/£8 www.newscottishhymns.com/events
NYA 2016 (The Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly) Friday 19 to Monday 22nd August at Gartmore House, near Stirling. Annual residential event is for young adults aged between 17 and 25. Tickets on a first come first served basis and need to be booked by 18th July- financial help is available. If you know anyone who would like to go, please contact Peter.
BLYTHSWOOD’S BIG BIRTHDAY Saturday 25 June, Leisure Centre, Inverness. Come and have fun and help us raise funds for our 50th Anniversary. Join in our Fun Fitness Session which has something to suit all levels of fitness (age 12 and over) OR take part in a race. To register www.blythswood.org and for more information email events<at>blythswood.org.
JAMAICA TALK AT CROWN CHURCH Friday 13 May 2016, 7.30pm, Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, OBE, DSc – ‘A Shared Inheritance: Links between Scotland and Jamaica’. Contact T Mackenzie atmackenzie9<at>gmail.com.

Power and encouragement: a sermon for Ascension Sunday

Scripture Readings: Acts 1: 1-11

Ephesians 1:15-23

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

In the dim and distant past, when I was applying to train to become a minister, I asked a clergyman I knew well to write one of the references I was going to need. He read my application, and wrote me a reference (which must have been good enough!). But he made a comment that haunted me. He had read what I said about my personal faith in the application, and said to me, ‘There’s a lot about God in there. But you didn’t say what Jesus meant to you. Who is Jesus for you, Peter?’ That’s a question I’ve tried to live with ever since: ‘Who is Jesus for me?’ Ever since, I’ve tried to measure my Christian life and my ministry against my answers to that question. Continue reading

Sunday Bulletin 1 May 2016

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 8 May 2016: Seventh Sunday of Easter
10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11.15am: Morning Worship at the Old High
SUNDAY BULLETIN please send items to invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline: Wednesday at noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and give a contact phone number and email.
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
For further information and contact details : invernesschurch<at>gmail.com (replace <at> with @).
COFFEE AFTER WORSHIP As it is the first Sunday of the month we will have coffee in church after the service at Old High. Do stay behind and join us!
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.
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK COLLECTION Once again, we will be on the streets of our parish collecting door-to-door for the poorest in our world. This is an important witness to our parish, as well as raising thousands of pounds. As always, the more people who take part, the more we will streets we can cover and the more good we can do. If you can help, or you’d like to know more, please contact Katharina Nimmo katharina.nimmo<at>btinternet.com).
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING will be held on Saturday 14 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 1 and 8 May. Contributions for the coffee morning can be dropped off at St Stephen’s vestry on Friday 13 May at 7.00 pm. The hall will be available the same evening at 7.00 pm for setting up. For further information please contact Jennifer Morrison jennifer<at>kenilweb.com.
After the Coffee, come for the music: OLD HIGH MUSIC Saturday 14th May at 12 noon. Inverness Choral has kindly agreed to do an additional concert as part of our recital series this year. Their programme includes music by Faure, Arensky, Elgar and Rutter. Coffee and chat at the Christian Aid coffee morning at St Stephen’s followed by beautiful music at the Old High will surely make for a special Saturday morning. Donations from this concert will be given to the Christian Aid Appeal. Details from Andrew Stevenson at stevenson.ata<at>btinternet.com.
More on Christian Aid at http://www.caweek.org/
MESSY CHURCH on Saturday 7 May at St Stephen’s from 11am to 2pm. We still need a few volunteers to help with games, and crafts. We are also asking the congregation to help with home baking and crisps. We could use some heavy duty sacks for sack races as well. Thanks! All are welcome. Contact Heidi on
tripleh75<at>hotmail.co.uk
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP The group that met throughout Lent have decided to have two further discussions to mark Pentecost. On Sunday 8 May at 7.30pm in St Stephen’s vestry, we shall read Chapter 40 of Brian Mclaren’s stimulating book “We make the road by walking”. On Sunday 15 May, we will read Chapter 41. We would welcome others joining in – details about reading material from Andrew Stevenson.
HEALING SERVICE There will be a Healing Service next Sunday 8 May in St Stephen’s at 4pm. All welcome. Contact Ruth Martin.
WORD FOR TODAY. The new issue of Word for Today, a daily prayer guide, is available in both churches.
OHSS JUNE MAGAZINE – our editor Willie Morrison requires articles and photos for the June issue. Please submit whatever you can, as early as possible, by e-mail to willie<at>kenilweb.com. The copy deadline is Friday 10 June.
OTHER NEWS
VINE TRUST ANNUAL CEILIDH Saturday 7 May at Crown Church from 7pm. Come along and connect with the wider Vine Trust family, hear the latest updates about our work in Tanzania and Peru, and dance the night away with Full Tilt ceilidh band whilst raising funds for the Trust. Vine Trust is an interdenominational volunteering charity, delivering primary healthcare through our medical ships on the Amazon and Lake Victoria, and through building homes for vulnerable and marginalised communities in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. We have had many participants from Inverness volunteer with us over the years. Why not come along to our ceilidh to find out how your church can get involved? Tickets £5/Adults; £3/ under16s and are available from our online shop or from The Drawing Room. Further information Liz Bowes.
NEW SCOTTISH HYMN BANDS ALBUM LAUNCH on Friday 27 May 2016 at 7.30pm at Smithton Culloden Church, Murray Road, Inverness IV2 7YU. New Scottish Hymns Band write new worship songs for the church, exploring important theology and singing great spiritual truths to inspire a new generation. This event marks the launch of their new album We Shall All Be Changed, which will be available to buy on the night. Tickets £10/£8 www.newscottishhymns.com/events
NYA 2016 (The Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly) Friday 19 to Monday 22nd August at Gartmore House, near Stirling. This annual residential event is for young adults aged between 17 and 25 that have some connection with the Church of Scotland. A chance to get together to worship, learn, discuss and work. Tickets are on a first come first served basis and need to be booked by 18th July- financial help is available. If you know anyone who would like to go, please contact Peter.
BLYTHSWOOD CARE HIGHLAND FOODBANK would be grateful for packets of rice, UHT milk, tinned corned beef and bags for life (new or used). Contact Adrienne Dempster for details of how to donate www.blythswood.org or adrienne.dempster<at>blythswood.org or bring the goods to the church, where there are boxes at the doors.

Meanderings or meanings? Sermon for 1 May 2016, The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 16.6-15
Revelation 21:10 and 21.22-22:5
Meanderings- or meanings?

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

Travels1Few us of nowadays agree with Robert Louis Stevenson, who wandered the mountains of France on a donkey and wrote a book about it, and thought that ‘it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive’ . We mostly just want to arrive, to do whatever it is we want to do at the end of our journey. If we get stuck in snow on the A9 we probably won’t enjoy the scenery very much. The shops, amusement arcades and cafes of an airport terminal quickly lose their charm if we have to wait for hours for a plane. For we are usually in a hurry nowadays. Continue reading

A place for everyone: a sermon for 24 April 2016, the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: John 13:31-35
Acts 11:1-18
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Coloured game menSome people have the idea that the Bible is a rather monolithic book- a book of unchanging rules, set in stone, unassailably infallible, without contradictions. It is, in fact nothing of the sort. It is, rather, a book full of stories about people who change their minds.
Today’s reading from the Book of Acts is a good example. Acts is the second volume of writings by the author of the Gospel of Luke. Its full title, ‘The Acts of the Apostles’ is the story of what the earliest Christians, and their leaders got up to. It’s the story of the beginnings of the Church. Continue reading