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.

A strange generosity: sermon for Sunday 21 September 2014

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 21 September 2014: Year A, Proper 20

SERMON

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

Old Testament reading: Exodus 16:1-15

The people of Israel are now in the wilderness. Finding the water undrinkable, they have complained to Moses, and God has made it potable. He has tested their faith: will they accept him by trusting that he will feed and rule them? Now the Israelites grumble once again.

1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim, and on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, they came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai. 2 There in the desert they all complained to Moses and Aaron 3 and said to them, “We wish that the Lord had killed us in Egypt. There we could at least sit down and eat meat and as much other food as we wanted. But you have brought us out into this desert to starve us all to death.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day. In this way I can test them to find out if they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to bring in twice as much as usual and prepare it.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. 7 In the morning you will see the dazzling light of the Lord’s presence. He has heard your complaints against him—yes, against him, because we are only carrying out his instructions.” 8 Then Moses said, “It is the Lord who will give you meat to eat in the evening and as much bread as you want in the morning, because he has heard how much you have complained against him. When you complain against us, you are really complaining against the Lord.”
9 Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole community to come and stand before the Lord, because he has heard their complaints.” 10 As Aaron spoke to the whole community, they turned toward the desert, and suddenly the dazzling light of the Lord appeared in a cloud. 11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them that at twilight they will have meat to eat, and in the morning they will have all the bread they want. Then they will know that I, the Lord, am their God.”
13 In the evening a large flock of quails flew in, enough to cover the camp, and in the morning there was dew all around the camp. 14 When the dew evaporated, there was something thin and flaky on the surface of the desert. It was as delicate as frost. When the Israelites saw it, they didn’t know what it was and asked each other, “What is it?”
Moses said to them, “This is the food that the Lord has given you to eat.

It has been quite a week. A week of conversations- not all about the same subject, but many of them were. A week when we suddenly realised that history was in the making.

When I went into the polling booth and looked at the form, I surprised myself by suddenly being overcome by the immensity of the question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ Continue reading

A national day of prayer on eve of the referendum

The Church of Scotland is supporting an ecumenical initiative to encourage prayer the day before the referendum.

Old High St Stephen’s is making our buildings available to those who want to pray or reflect.

OH smallThis Wednesday the Old High Church will be open for reflection from 10am-4pm

There will be a short prayer service at 12noon.

The Old High will also be open as usual from 10-12 noon and from 2-4pm on Thursday- Referendum Day- and the following day (Friday). 

St Stephen's cropped (2)There will also be prayers at 7.30pm on Wednesday at St Stephen’s, Southside Road.

All are welcome to these events.

Here are details of the ecumenical prayer initiative, which has been commended by the Moderator of the General Assembly.

Choose life!- Sermon for the Kirking of the Council 2014

The Kirking of the Council is an annual community event when members of the Inverness City Committee of Highland Council, and other community representatives, process to the Old High Church to take part in our Sunday worship.

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 14 September 2014: Year A, The Kirking of the Council
SERMON

Texts: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 5:1-11,33-37

Choose life!

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

There’s an story about an English vicar who always seemed to give away his politics by his choices of hymns. If the Tories won an election, the first hymn the following Sunday was something like ‘Now thank we all our God’. If Labour won, it would be ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways’. On one exceptional occasion, the Liberals won the local council election. So it was with great anticipation that his congregation came to church the following Sunday. The first hymn given out was, ‘The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform’. Continue reading

Who needs reconciliation anyhow?: Sermon for Sunday 7 September 2014

A note from the Minister: after completing this sermon I fell ill and was unable to deliver it on Sunday morning. I’m grateful to the Rev Morven Archer who took our services in my place, and who used much of the material below. This is the sermon I would have preached had I been able to. I’m glad to say I’m on the mend, since you ask!

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 7 September 2014: Year A, Proper 18

SERMON
Texts: Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

Who needs reconciliation anyhow?
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

This week the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev John Chalmers, chaired a ‘respectful dialogue’ on the independence referendum. It was held in a Glasgow church, but the rest of us could participate because if was put out live on the Internet. At the Crown Church, we watched the speakers live on a big screen, had own audience comments section, and emailed our thoughts back to Glasgow. It was a fascinating experience, being linked up in that way to others around the country. As I was checking that I could communicate with the person receiving the emails in Glasgow, I suddenly thought of the Eurovision Song Contest- ‘Hello, this is Helsinki, here are the votes of the Finnish jury’. Maybe one day the General Assembly will be replaced by this kind of technology- although perhaps the Assembly will be unlikely to turn into a version of Eurovision. Continue reading

Kirking of the Council 2014

The historic Kirking of the Council service took place at the Old High Church on Sunday 14 September.

Inverness members of the Highland Council were joined by civic leaders for an ecumenical service celebrating public service.

The service this year happened to take place the Sunday before the Scottish independence referendum, and so there was a them of reconciliation in the service.

‘Choose life!’ was the title of the sermon which the Minister, the Rev Peter W Nimmo, preached at the service.

Here’s the Order of Service for the Kirking of the Council.

Here’s a sermon looking forward to the Kirking, from the previous Sunday.

Kirking graphic 2014

 

 

 

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

Imagining Scotland’s Future

Imaging Scotland Future heading

Old High St Stephen’s congregation, the Presbytery of Inverness, and the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland invite you to a community meeting to ‘Imagine Scotland’s Future’.

Explore with your neighbours and friends the values you would like to see in Scotland in the years ahead.

The meeting will help you explore by focusing on 3 questions:

1. What values are most important to you for the Future of Scotland?
2. How can we make Scotland a better place to be?
3. How do we put our aspirations into action?

There will be structured discussion at the end of which we will have produced a values based statement about our vision for the future.

The outcomes of the discussions will be gathered from communities across Scotland in 2013 and published in 2014, in the run-up to the referendum on independence.

The Inverness event will be on Wednesday 23 October, 7.30pm at St Stephen’s Church, Southside Road, Inverness IV2 4XA. Click here for map.

If you are on Facebook, let us know you are coming by signing up on the event page.

More details from the Church and Society Council or leave a comment to contact us.

We have posters for this event which we would like to put up across the city. Download them here, or pick them up from the Church doors or contact us if you need more.

Imagining Scotland’s Future

Imaging Scotland Future logoOld High St Stephen’s congregation, the Presbytery of Inverness, and the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland invite you to a community meeting to ‘Imagine Scotland’s Future’.

Explore with your neighbours and friends the values you would like to see in Scotland in the years ahead.

The meeting will help you explore by focusing on 3 questions:

1. What values are most important to you for the Future of Scotland?
2. How can we make Scotland a better place to be?
3. How do we put our aspirations into action?

There will be structured discussion at the end of which we will have produced a values based statement about our vision for the future.

The outcomes of the discussions will be gathered from communities across Scotland in 2013 and published in 2014, in the run-up to the referendum on independence.

Date: Wednesday 23 October
Time: 7.30pm
Place: St Stephen’s Church, Southside Road, Inverness IV2 4XA

Read more from the Church and Society Council.

Contact: Rev Peter W Nimmo
peternimmo(a) minister.com (replace (a) with @)
Phone 01463 250 802