Reflection for the centenary of the outbreak of World War One

Reflection for World War One commemoration, 3 August 2014, Old High Church

Rev Peter W Nimmo, minister of Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness

from The Glimmering Landscape, Charles L Warr

Throughout that glorious summer of 1914 the Suffragettes became noisier and noisier, smashing windows, breaking up meetings, chaining themselves to railing and pouring acid down pillar boxes.

The crisis of Ulster darkened and deepened. Sir Edward Carson and Galloper Smith were still addressing impassioned crowds and the impassioned crowds were becoming more and more impassioned. “Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right,” shouted Galloper Smith, quoting Lord Randolph Churchill, who had said it first some thirty-odd years before. The whole situation was becoming very alarming, for people were beginning to whisper that it looked like civil war.

So with all that going on, the murder of an Austrian archduke towards the end of June at some place called Sarajevo in the Balkans could hardly be expected to interest us much. Where was Sarajevo anyway, and what was an Austrian archduke but a figure of Ruritanian fun?

But a month later the country was thoroughly startled. On 28th July Sir Edward Grey made a statement of sensational gravity in the House of Commons. Austria, he said, had rejected the reply by Serbia to an ultimatum demanding satisfaction for the assassination at Sarajevo. So anyone could see that international trouble of the utmost seriousness was swiftly boiling up.

The next few days were days of utter bewilderment. Events moved with confusing rapidity. Sombre shadows were obviously falling over Europe.
It was shocking, stupefying and incredible that we, who had been nurtured on the optimistic visions of Lord Tennyson, should be on the brink of a general European War.

But by the fourth of August, though not one European ruler and hardly one European statesman wanted it to happen, the shocking, stupefying and incredible thing in fact had happened. The great Powers of Europe had stumbled and blundered into a fight to the death, and the long grey ships of the British Fleet, fortunately assembled at Spithead for the King’s Review, put silently out to sea.

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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


Sermon for Kohima anniversary service, 4 May 2014: A companion on the way

More information about the Camerons Memorial Area

Press release about this service

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 4 May 2014: Year A, The Third Sunday of Easter

Text: Luke 24:13-35 (read in the KJV)

the quotations are from the NRSV

A companion on the way
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

As I said earlier, it’s a privilege once more to be welcoming members of the Cameron Highlanders Association here to their old regimental church, the Old High Church of Inverness. The congregation of Old High St Stephen’s values the connection we have with you. We are honoured to be custodians of the Cameron Memorial, which we dedicated last year, and to now be taking into our safekeeping further items, including the 1st Battalion colours which the congregation of Glasgow Cathedral have so generously passed into our care.

If you are visiting us today, you join us at a time of year when the Church is still concerning itself with the implications of Easter. The Gospels give various accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, and his appearances to his disciples. One of the most intriguing of these stories is the one we have heard today. It is a strange tale, this story of the walk to Emmaus. But if we listen to this story with imagination, it can perhaps teach us about such things as memories, hope, and the presence of God in difficult times- themes which are very pertinent to today’s service. Continue reading

Sermon for Remembrance Sunday 2013

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 10 November 2013: Year C, Remembrance Sunday
Texts: Micah 4.1-5
Luke 1.67-80
Remembrance and hope

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

Our church buildings, like many church buildings, are full of memorials. At our evening service at St Stephen’s last Sunday, during a quiet moment, I noticed that the stained glass in the chancel was gifted by a Royal Artillery officer. We have memorials to those who died in the World Wars of the twentieth centuries in both of our buildings.  Continue reading

Sermon for 18 August 2013 Cameron Highlanders memorial dedication

Photographs of the new Cameron Highlanders Memorial Area will be online shortly.

The Memorial may be visited when the church is open, usually Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 12 noon and 2-4pm

You may download this sermon as a PDF file here .

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 18 August 2013: Year C, Proper 15
SERMON Texts: Hebrews 11.1 & 11.29-12:2
2 Corinthians 10.1-5
Remembering… for the future
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

 Rev Peter Nimmo (right) and Rev Alasdair MacLennan dedicate Cameron Highlanders' Memorial Area

Rev Peter Nimmo (right) and Rev Alasdair MacLennan dedicate Cameron Highlanders’ Memorial Area

Almost the first time I was in this building, I found, tucked away on the East Stairway, the evocative Martinpuich cross which we have now made the centrepiece of the Cameron Highlanders Memorial Area. We know remarkably little about this object. We have not yet discovered when, or why, it came to this church. But the basic information is painted on the cross:

In memory of officers and men, Sixth Battalion, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, who died in the capture of Martinpuich, Sept. 15th 1916.

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Honouring the ‘Ordinary’: a sermon based on Mark 12.38-44 for Remembrance Sunday

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 11 November 2012: Year B, Remembrance Sunday
Texts: Micah 4.1-5
Mark 12:38-44
Honouring the ‘Ordinary’
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

There are two parts to today’s Gospel reading; two stories, two sets of stories about Jesus which early Church remembered, and placed together to set up a stark contrast. Neither of the stories might seem immediately relevant to our Remembrance theme, but hear me out!

Jesus is in Jerusalem, the capital city, the centre of civil and ecclesiastical power. Continue reading