Sunday Bulletin 22 October 2017

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 29 October 2017: 21st Sunday after Pentecost
10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s led by Rev Arthur Sinclair
11.15 Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Old High led by the Minister
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
OUR MINISTER is on a phased return to work and undertaking limited duties. The Rev Alastair Younger continues as our INTERIM MODERATOR. PASTORAL CARE continues to be provided by Rev Arthur Sinclair, our Pastoral Assistant, who should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.
CRAFT EVENING in St Stephen’s Hall 7.30–9pm on Wednesday 25 September. 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.
MEET & EAT Lunch is on Thursday 26 October at 12.30pm at the Craigmonie Hotel. Transport is available. Contact Val Cantlay.
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP tonight at 7pm at St Stephen’s. Continuing our exploration of “Life in the Psalms” by Patrick Woodhouse. All welcome at these discussions! Andrew Stevenson stevenson.ata<at>btinternet.com
FROM SALON TO DRAWING ROOM Saturday 28 October, 7pm, Old High Church Hall. Join Robin Versteeg and friends for an evening of French and Scottish Chamber Music, raising funds of the Friends of the Old High Church. Tickets £12.50 including wine & canapes. Tickets & info from Christina Cameron christinajcameron6<at>gmail.com and Linda Philip lindajphilip<at>hotmail.com.
HOLY COMMUNION will be celebrated at the Old High on Sunday 29 October. All are welcome at the Lord’s Table. The Retiring Offering for Cameron House.
OHSS AUTUMN WALK on Sunday 29 October. A straightforward short circular walk from the old fishing village of Avoch. The walk visits Ormond Castle – once an important medieval stronghold but later completely destroyed by Oliver Cromwell. Today the green mound offers excellent views back to the village and across the bay. Meet at St Stephen’s church for car share at 1.30pm, or 2pm at parking on the seafront at the southern end of Avoch. Cuppa at Munro’s nurseries at Bogallan at 3.30 pm. Contact Deborah Macrae for further details.
ST STEPHEN’S BAKE SALE I am holding a bake sale after church on Sunday 29 October after the service. This is part of my fundraising for my year overseas with the charity Project Trust, for which I have to raise £6,000. I plan to go to Nepal in August 2018 to teach English to children in a remote area. I would be really pleased if you would join me and my family for coffee and cake. Anna Kelly.
OLD HIGH MUSIC Saturday 11 November at 12 noon a performance of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in B-flat and Elgar’s Violin Sonata by Simon Evans, accompanied by Robin Versteeg. After a season featuring a lot of organ and choral music, the recitals in November and December are dedicated to violin repertoire, so we look forward to seeing all our string enthusiasts! More details from Andrew Stevenson or stevenson.ata<at>btinternet.com
BLYTHSWOOD SHOE BOX APPEAL Leaflets are available at church doors. Filled boxes to be returned by 3 November. Academy Street shop will accept. Thanks. Rae Swan.
CROSSREACH £1 COIN BOXES The Church of Scotland social care agency has produced money boxes to collect old £1 coins which go out of circulation today. If you have any of these coins around the house please bring them to Church and donate them to this worthwhile cause. Val Cantlay val.cantlay<at>btinternet.com.
THE LEPROSY MISSION COFFEE MORNING held recently in Free North raised £1,800, up on last year! Thanks to all those who supported the OHSS stall and came. Ruth Martin
OTHER NEWS
‘BACK TO CHURCH SUNDAY’ ROADSHOW on Wednesday 25 October 2017 from 1-3pm at Inshes Church, Inshes Retail Park, Sir Walter Scott Drive, Inverness. The purpose of the Roadshow is to provide ideas and inspiration for church members to develop a culture of inviting people to come to church, in advance of the National Weekend of Invitation in June 2018. The event is free but registration is required at https://www.resourcingmission.org.uk/weekend-invitation-roadshows-23-26-October or contact Linda Philip
FAITH, BELIEF AND MENTAL HEALTH A Day for reflection and connection Thursday 30 November 2017, 10.30am-3.30pm, Inshes Church, Inverness. Speakers: Rev Iain Macritchie Mental Health Care Chaplain; Rev Fiona Smith on Faith Communities & Mental Health Care; Michael Perera Mental Health Services Manager. Light lunch provided. To attend, contact Raigmore Chaplaincy:  lorna.sculthorpe-goode<at>nhs.net
SUNDAY BULLETIN ITEMS should be sent to the Church Administrator invernesschurch<at>gmail.com

Belonging and believing: sermon for Sunday 22 October 2017: Proper 24 (Year A, RCL)

Scripture Readings: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Matthew 22:15-22

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

Joseph Andrew Crisci, whom we baptised today, has a Scottish mother, and an Italian father, but he was born and will grow up in Spain. He is also, as his mother reminded me the other day, a citizen of Europe. And today we baptised him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Scottish, Italian, Spanish, European, Christian- Joseph is a young man who already has many different identities.

We all of us have different, overlapping, identities. But some people feel threatened by the notion of different identities. They say that you cannot have one identity, but also claim to have another. When that happens, the results can be horrific.

Last week, I visited two small rooms in a house in Amsterdam. An hour’s flying time from Inverness Airport, and during the lifetime of my parents, eight people, including two children, hid in those two rooms in order to save their lives. They had to go into hiding simply because they were Jewish. For in a speech at the Concertgebouw concert hall in 1941, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the Nazi ruler of the German occupied Netherlands, had stated ‘We do not consider the Jews to be members of the Dutch nation. The Jews for us are not Dutch’. That Jews had been part of Dutch society for centuries made no difference whatsoever. Having a Jewish identity was, the Nazis said, incompatible with being Dutch- or, for that matter, Belgian, French, Danish, or German.

Anne frank Continue reading

The fire and the dove- a sermon on the Baptism of Christ

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43.1-7
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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

The gospels tell us almost nothing about the training or education of Jesus. There is a little about his childhood in Luke, but soon we are hearing about the preaching of John the Baptist, in the passage we read today. John was a relative of Jesus, a prophet who preached that the Messiah- the one who would save God’s people- was about to appear. John called people to change their lives, to get ready for God’s saviour to appear among them. Crowds of people went down to the River Jordan to hear John’s preaching. And he would challenge them to respond by being baptised. John would immerse people in the waters of the River Jordan, to symbolise that they had died to their previous life- drowned it, if you like. They rose from the water into a new life, with their sins washed away, as water washes away dirt.

John the BaptistEventually, Jesus himself appeared, and was baptised by John in the river as well- and you can see a picture of it on the front of our order of service. Jesus’ baptism marks the point when Jesus passed from being a purely private figure to becoming a public preacher. This is a day he for which he would have been preparing for years. It is Jesus’ graduation day, his passing out parade. Continue reading

Embraced by love- sermon for 15 November 2015

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
15 November 2015
(The Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost:
Year 2 (Mark), Narrative Lectionary)
SERMON
Scripture Readings: Hosea 11:1-9
Mark 10.13-16
Sermon
Embraced by love
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

We too often think of the books of the Bible as having been written so long ago, they cannot have much to do with us. The prophet Hosea preached almost 2,700 years ago. What can a text that old have to say to us? The introduction in the Good News version of the Bible to Hosea says that he ‘preached in the northern Kingdom of Israel… during the troubled times before the fall of Samaria in 721BC’. He preached in troubled times- times of uncertainty, with wars and rumours of wars abounding. And do we not, also, live in troubled times? Continue reading

At the Table- a sermon on Holy Communion, 20 September 2015

Scripture Readings: John 6.53-59
Mark 14.22-26

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

The BBC recently had a series about Indian railways, featuring the Calcutta station which gets as many passengers in a day as travel on the whole of the British Railway network. India’s railways are busy. So busy, Indians don’t just ride in trains- they ride on top of them, too.

There is a scene in the film Ghandi in which a Christian missionary, a friend of Ghandi’s, is- unusually for a Westerner- riding on top of a train. He finds himself in conversation with a Hindu, who is very suspicious of this Christian. The Hindu can’t understand Christianity, for he’s heard that Christians are the people who eat their God. Continue reading

Getting Wet: a sermon for Sunday 11 January 2015 (The Baptism of the Lord)

SERMON

Text: Matthew 3.1-17

Getting wet

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

Surely one of the worst things that could possibly happen to someone is to be arrested for a crime you haven’t committed. Bad enough that you might spend years in jail. Worse, however, to be branded a criminal, to be told you are guilty when you know you are not guilty. It’d be terrible to be criminalised by mistake. And who would choose to be treated like a criminal?

By NickGibson3900 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By NickGibson3900 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Continue reading

God at Work: sermon on Acts 9.1-20 John 21.1-19- 28 April 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 28 April 2013

SERMON
Texts: Acts 9.1-20
John 21.1-19

God at work

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

There’s an American phrase to describe what it’s like when the unexpected happens. They say that something comes at you ‘from left field‘. It’s a baseball term- I think it means that the ball suddenly comes from somewhere you didn’t expect- but if there are any baseball fans who can put me right you can speak to me afterwards. Often we fear the unexpected. We are usually don’t like things come from ‘left field’, because too often the unexpected event is unpleasant- and accident, for example. But the unexpected, even if we are not prepared for it, is not always unpleasant. When the unexpected happens, it can shake us out of our comfort zone and change our life for the better. Continue reading

Faith, renewal and service: a sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 21 April 2013: Year C, The Fourth Sunday of Easter

SERMON
Texts: John 10:22-30
Acts 9:36-43

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

On this joyous Sunday, we’re celebrating eight people who have chosen to associate themselves with the work of the church, and to follow Jesus wherever that might lead them. Ian, Martin, Alana, Alexandra, Ashleigh, Louise, Kirsty and John have been meeting together with a number of other enquirers and members of the congregation in our Christian Basics course over the last few months. This year I tried to freshen up my new member’s course, adding new material and activities to it. But what really made a difference was the participation of existing members of the congregation. Continue reading