2018 May 23rd - Wednesday

While preparing various 'events' that are coming up soon, I've been watching General Assembly on the live link. Some very interesting information in the Reports that go to GA. If you would like to know. more about how the Church of Scotland works and is structured the have a look online at www.gapublications.co.uk

Having said that - given that the Strategic Plan was rejected for not being radical enough in its response to the changing context of today's situation (faith / religion in wider society) then the CofS could all be changing rapidly in the next few years. Interesting times!

2018 May 20th - Sunday

There is a visiting preacher at Ardnamurchan and I led worship at Acharacle - and that was it! It felt very odd having only one service to lead today so the manse heathen and I went out to lunch.

It's quite a busy week ahead and I'm covering the neighbouring parishes (a three way linkage) for pastoral care while their minister is at General Assembly - so an afternoon and evening off is quite welcome (as long as there are no pastoral calls).

2018 May 17th - Thursday

There was a meeting in the morning, and one in the evening. Morning drive and hour to the east and an evening drive an hour to the west - four hours driving. The driving sound like a chore but on days like that it was wonderful - sparkly sea, clear atmosphere so the hills and mountains look amazing and time, time to think and plan and listen to podcasts; food for the soul.

In between as it was another gloriously sunny day some of the afternoon was spent outside reading a little more.

2018 May 16th - Wednesday

The weather was glorious, and actually warm! Amongst other things, I took time to sit outside and catch up on some 'work' reading. Felt very blessed - and now I'm quite red too ...

2018 May 15th - Tuesday

It's been a few days since I posted, sorry.

There are a few regular commitments in the diary eg Sunday worship, but mainly the content of each day varies. Often the day starts with Plan A and ends up with Plan, er, I've lost track!

On Sunday worship at Ardnamurchan was led by a visiting preacher and I led worship at Acharacle. Then, in the afternoon, I tootled off to Kingairloch to lead worship there. It's only an hour away and the views spectacular, especially in good weather.

There is a shortage of ministers and so we try to help out each other when we can. By leading worship at Kingairloch the minister in that parish had only (!!) three services to lead instead of four that day.

The highlight of Monday was a (vaguely) regular visit to the nursery school to tell Bible stories. I was amazed - there were mermaids at the Tower of Babel! The mermaids must have swum up the River Euphrates to help construct the tower - they didn't teach up that at 'minister school'.

Today there was a funeral. Sad times but great to remember and give thanks too.

Now, I'm sitting in the study typing this and watching three deer munching on grass just across the road.

Cheating slightly - this is a photo from five days ago. The light levels were better then. The deer are just as close tonight.

2018 May 11th - Friday

Pre-funeral visit. These visits are always a privilege. It's a time of high emotions, busyness with preparations, bewilderment, and so much more. Yet, in the middle of all this, taking time to sit down and talk about the person who has died (yes, died, let's use that honest terminology) is a chance to remember and relive so much.

Often friends, families and visitors shy away from talking about the deceased. Those who are bereaved are left wanting, desperately, to talk about the deceased, but don't get the chance - because others are worried about how to cope with their own grief, without being able to deal with the grief of the bereaved.

The minister has the unique and privileged task of encouraging the grieving to talk of their loved one and of their loss.

It's not easy to come to terms with grief. It takes time to admit that and to learn to live with it. It's not something to be 'got over' and put tucked away into the past but to adapt to - it's part of you, part of us.

Please do remember the minister is around to talk in the immediate period after the death of a loved one - and in the days, weeks, months to come. We are here to support you for as long as you need. May God bless you with comfort and peace as you mourn, you are not alone.

2018 May 10th - Thursday

Off to Kilchoan again - this time to share in lunch at the Community Centre. It's always interesting when talk centres around some old photos someone had found. In a small community there are very few people who are not related in some way or another!

2018 May 9th - Wednesday

A little bit of desk time in the morning then off to Kilchoan for the afternoon. Classroom assisting at Kilchoan Primary School then a meeting of the Ardnamurchan Kirk Session.

I took the Mobile Manse and enjoyed that!

2018 May 8th

A meeting in the morning then a pastoral visit. The afternoon included dog walking which resulted in a couple more pastoral encounters. In the evening there was a Community Council meeting (then the pub but don't let on the minister was in the pub as that's seen as 'not a good thing to do' even if Jesus set a precedent by enjoying socialising with friends.).

2018 May 7th - Monday

Church lunches are always such a struggle - I had to choose between four different flavours of soup, eat a crispy BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) roll, sample trifle and have tea! Meanwhile, I chatted to lovely people. Only a month until the next one ...

Then a couple of desk jobs - only really two tasks completed but very worthwhile.