General Assembly 2017

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the highest decision making body of the institution of the Church. Each year representatives of the Church meet together to approve, or not, reports and 'deliverances' on policy. The Assembly lasts a week, not because it takes a week for the Assembly to come to any decision (contrary to popular opinion) but because of the breadth and scope of the decisions to be make.

The Session Clerk from Acharacle and the Minister are at Assembly this year and will be putting up a few posts on the week.

Saturday 20th May. - The Assembly was opened with pomp and ceremony. The Princess Royal, Princess Anne was in attendance while last year's Moderator (chair of meetings and spokesperson for the church) was succeeded by this year's Moderator (it's an annual appointment). Here's a link to the CofS main website with some of the details. http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news_and_events...

In the afternoon there were seven reports presented from various committees and the session finished earlier than expected as there were no lengthy debates.

Sunday 21st May - Worship at St Giles. This year's Moderator, Rev Dr Derek Browning preached about hope. There was singing from the choir, more pomp and ceremonial. Coming from an area where congregations for worship are usually small, this was an opportunity to be part of something much bigger than we are used to; the High Kirk was so full there really was standing room only (as worship used to be before the invention of pews!). The singing of the congregation reverberated up to the fan vaulting and the people rejoiced in worshipping the God who brings hope to the future.

Here are a couple of photos from the walk up to St Giles (There will be a better photo of St Giles soon) and one of the view we had of proceedings.

General Assembly is not only focussed on decision making and guidance for the future of the Church but also when people get together and celebrate Church life. On Sunday in Princes Street Gardens is Heart and Soul where there are displays of aspects of what the church actually does, as against says, are showcased. We'll be going along and joining in and will post photos when we return. http://www.heartandsoul.org.uk/home

Heart and Soul - this was an interesting afternoon! There were a good number of tents and stalls lining the main pathway through Princes Street gardens - each of which highlighted some aspect of church life. Late in the afternoon worship drew people to the main stand where the Heart and Soul band led worship through music. As you can see the seating was full. Around the edges were flags from many of the CofS's 48 presbyteries.

For most of the rest of the week there were reports presented by the various committees and councils of the CofS. Each committee or council has its own remit and responsibility e.g. the General Trustees look after all legal aspects of the administration of the organisation and Mission & Discipleship help to resource congregations and ministers with materials for worship.

Debates take place in the Assembly Hall which is an integral part of the University of Edinburgh. In the first of these pictures is a view of the Assembly Hall and in the second a board with photographs from those congregations that have participated in the Word of Life Campaign (more details on the Ardnamurchan blog page).


The week was intense but interesting. Having a vote in the decision making process of the Church of Scotland is a big responsibility and can be challenging depending on the issues being decided. Alongside the main sessions there are fringe events and, of course, the social side of being there. It's not often ministers and elders are able to get together in such numbers (each year a different group of representatives from congregations are able to attend) and that lends itself to many a cuppa and or meal.

The Acharacle Session Clerk and the minister came back weary but having had a good time. It's roughly three years until the opportunity to attend will come again - we should have recovered by then.

18th August 2016

Meet Your Msp

During the afternoon, people from all over the peninsula met with Kate Forbes and John Finney - just to get to know each other better. The afternoon was interesting - please follow this link to find out more.https://peninsulachurches.wordpress.com/2016/08/19...

18th June 2016

Response to murder and violence

Murders and violence.Yesterday's tragic event of the murder of MP Jo Cox has stunned the nation; rightly so. Recent tragic events in Orlando stunned many more: rightly so. The refugee crisis, famines, wars, violence stun all people: rightly so. Where is God in all this... ?There is no simple answer - that would be glib.Why do we feel stunned? Why do so many speak out today against violence? Why do so many seek to help refugees? Do these feelings suggest that these events are not right? What is there inside us that prompts these feelings? Ask yourself again, ‘Where is

06th April 2016

Where Does Time Go!

I haven't blogged for ages - and today is not the day to do so again. My apologies for this scarcity of blog entries.I'd simply like to say that I have been involved in new initiatives and regular events which have meant that there hasn't been time to blog. Visiting people is a huge part of ministry and a joy too. I've taken photographs of some of the events and will post them eventually. I've no idea how Jesus fitting in so much to his short ministry - bleated Happy Easter!

25th September 2015

Harvest

Each church has now had their Harvest Thanksgiving service. At each we first thought through the alphabet of what is harvested e.g. a for apples, aubergines, be for barley, bananas and so on - by the time we have finished there were around 100 post-it notes on the walls and furniture of the church or hall (depending on which church worship was taking place). These many post-its were a visual reminder of the abundance of God's giving to us. And we gave thanks.We then thought about how not everyone can share in that abundant giving from God and we welcomed

31st August 2015

Ardgour Horticultural Show

One of the joys of parish ministry is being involved, one way or another, in local shows. After a morning at Kinlochmoidart, see below, I was at Ardgour in the afternoon. Despite the heavy rain the hall was full of locals and visitors mulling around looking at the produce, checking if they'd won prizes, eating teas and home bakes and generally having a good time. Here are some pictures of the afternoon.

31st August 2015

Kinlochmoidart Produce Show

Moidart Produce Show was a riot of colourful displays which were a joy to see after the dismal summer. Crafts were a delight of creativity - and now that I have no superlatives left I'll end with the pictures I took.

02nd February 2015

Winter Twilight

I've been working at my desk in the study - outside was much more interesting...Snowy hills and mountains painted pink by the sunset as the nearly full moon rose through slight hazy clouds and into a clear, clear sky - the first stars are sparkling in the dusk.Words don't do it justice, nor would a photo so you'll just have to imagine the scene. All that would happen even if humanity were not here. All creation reflects the glory of God. Psalm 19The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day

02nd November 2014

Christenings

It's been over two and a half years since I started as minister of these Parishes - and the same length of time since I became a minister. In that time there have been weddings and funerals but no Christenings until last Sunday and today. Just like the buses, nothing then two in quick succession. What a joy! Two happy little baby girls, one at Acharacle and then one at Ardnamurchan. And there is another little girl to be christened in February. While preparing for these services I wondered what the difference is between baptism and christening. There was