2019 July 16th - Tuesday

A little time at the desk and admin this morning then, this afternoon, I'll be off to Kilchoan in the mobile manse. Once there, I'll walk the dog and have some dinner before going to visit the screen machine! There are three films being shown today and the one I'll watch is Rocketman, the film about Elton John.

Tomorrow, there is a Produce Market at the Community Centre in Kilchoan and Scone Teas at Diorlinn House.

Do stop me if you'd like a chat!

On Friday this week is the Kilchoan Show and Sports Day but I won't be able to go along - it's the first time I've missed it! I hope the weather is reasonable and that everyone has a fun day!

July 8th Monday - Brexit talk

How did it go yesterday - talking about Brexit? Actually, very well. I've paraphrased what happened.

Asked a few questions of the person who had suggested the topic, then the congregation - why that topic, what came to mind?

Answers included the nature of democracy, how to make informed decisions, an unwelcome event and the uncertainty and animosity generated by different points of view and the impact, break up, of relationships.

Started with looking back at reasons for European Union / EEC / etc. We may be living in uncertain times but we cannot think how it was between the two World Wars when one generation knew the toll another war would take in the next generation, their own children. Acknowledged the determination for an end to conflict.

We thought about some of these and related topics.

The nature of democracy being politics / government and how in Deuteronomy 17:18-19 those who are in authority are ultimately answerable to God. If leaders read foundational and core text of Ten Commandments (common to the major religious denominations) each day and used these as the basis for decision making, what a difference that would make to politics and points of view.

Breakup of relationships. Joshua 22:16 how sometimes conflict can be avoided through negotiation but sometimes it’s inevitable Acts 5:29. God can, however, work through each and good can come out of bad. Perhaps this is seen in the coming together into the EU / EEC / etc after the World Wars.

We thought about different points of view, different perspectives and of being inward and outward looking. How Moses in Ex 4:12-13 first looked inwards to relying on his own strengths and how he'd not have been much good to God but then relying on God made such a difference to the welfare of the Israelites; the greater good. Relying on God made the difference.
Responsibility. As voters, it was up to us to read and investigate before casting our votes. How many actually looked at the literature that came through the door? Perhaps we didn’t do enough ourselves? One member of the congregation reminded us that no one really knew what would happen next, either way!

Mentioned this country is one of the few to commit to giving Foreign Aid which, despite its occasional misuse, is used to try to build infra-structure elsewhere to lessen the desire for economic migration. Helping others to improve their lot is a Biblical imperative.
Finished with need to think with compassion. Whatever anyone thinks of PM’s strategy I, personally, had to have compassion on her: the toll on her personally was immense. There is a need to pray for leaders and that they have wisdom to find way forward.

Hymns picked by the musicians fitted really well and they were thanked. All from Church Hymnary 4
112 - God whose Almighty word
122 - Let all the world in every corner sing
154 - O Lord my God
63 - All people that on earth do dwell
153 - Great is Thy faithfulness

The next topics - Busy-ness and Artificial Intelligence. It's going to be interesting! Have you got one you'd like to suggest - let me know (I'll probably regret asking.).

If anyone would like to let me know their suggested hymns please do so!

June 10th - Day Pilgrimage to Eigg

The Western Grouping of Lochaber Church of Scotland Parishes went to the island of Eigg for a Day Pilgrimage.  What an amazing day - wonderful worship, cool company, fab food and wow weather!

June 4th - Education Changes

Presbytery has an Education Working Group that has recently been active in voicing concerns about changes by Highland Council to class room assistants.  Teachers are hard enough pressed without reducing their support.  Here are copies of the letters sent and received.  Presbytery is not convinced cutting back in early years is such a good idea but that it causes problems further down the line.  This thinking has been backed up by recent research carried out in England around the Sure Start programme.  

There's a story about people watching other people being swept down a river and a huge rescue attempt going on.  Eventually, someone thought to look upstream for the cause of the problem.  That's what early years support and Sure Start does - it looks upstream to the source of the problem and addresses those issues to stop a disaster later on.  Such a shame the various authorities have not taken heed of the research!  It's not rocket science!!!

What can be done by people of faith?  Voice concern to whichever authority backs the programmes.  Be pro-active in helping local schools, even if it means filling in paperwork of PVG or similar (it may be a hassle but it's not complicated), so that you are able to help.  Get to know your community and volunteer with programmes that seek to help others, get to know the families around you and offer to help them.  

2019 May 4th - Saturday

Back from holiday.  It was lovely to be able to take time away and just relax and refresh. 

Thank you to all who looked after worship - it's good to know that others want to be involved in leading worship, both traditional Sunday worship and Messy Church.  That involvement and participation is what faith is all about.

In business terms, that's the difference between shore-holders and stake-holders.  (From a comment I heard on a podcast about something else!)  This thought needs expanded a bit ...

God bless!

2019 April 22nd - Easter Monday

Beautiful weather and the scenery looked stunning!

Kilchoan for the church coffee morning supporting Embrace the Middle East then to Acharacle to help offer refreshments for an Easter egg hunt and then record and interview for Messy Church.

The first photo is on Maclean's Nose and Mingary Castle at Kilchoan and the second is of people needing a cool drink while on the egg hunt at Acharacle.

2019 April 19th - Good Friday

Each congregation had the opportunity to share a Passover / Seder type 'meal'.  We tasted bitter herbs to remember the bitter times the Israelites had in Egypt, salt water to symbolise their tears, haroseth, a sweet paste that looks like the mud they were forced to use to make bricks for Pharaoh, lamb to remember the Passover, flat bread to remember the hurry in which they left Egypt and then wine to symbolise the promised land where they would be settle for long enough for vines to grow and wine to be produced.

We then thought about how Jesus had shared a meal like this just before he was arrested, tried and crucified.  There was a short reflection and the service ended there - leading into the quiet of Saturday ...

2019 April 11th - Thursday

Another lovely sunny day here - that's four days in a row!!!

I'm staying on the peninsula today and heading down to Kilchoan. Lunch with the local Lunch Bunch then joining the craft group. These two sessions are great to catch up with what's happening and also to enjoy knitting (that's 'my' craft).

I'll be taking the dog so perhaps we'll go for a beach walk afterwards. Let's hope she doesn't repeat her cool down session of jumping into the muckiest of puddles and lying there for a minute - just before getting back into the car ....

(As I was typing, a goldfinch wandered along the outside window sill - how beautiful they are!)

2019 April 10th - Wednesday

Spean Brige today for a project that is being developed jointly by Lochaber and Abernethy presbyteries.

My journey there and back was the shortest of those there - for me, three hours travelling time and 100 miles altogether.

2019 April 9th - Tuesday

What's happening today?

Acharacle teas and coffees this morning then mainly desk for preparation time and catching up.  A cuppa with a friend then Spanish conversation class this evening.

Why Spanish when this is an area with a Gaelic heritage?  It's because I enjoy Spanish and it's useful when I volunteer on the Vine Trust Forth Amazon in Peru.  I can now order a coffee with milk and no sugar - especially useful in the morning!

Have a good day!