Final preparations for Messy Church to be ready for this afternoon.
Happy Families - some baking - face painting - story - shepherd's pie then crumble - and I can't remember what else!
Do join us at Shielbridge Hall, Acharacle from 3.30-5.30pm.
After a day off yesterday, the minister has organised worship for the two congregations for tomorrow, and continued with preparation for Messy Church, a funeral and an induction.
This week there have, sadly, been two deaths in the area; in worship tomorrow, we will be giving thanks for their lives and praying for comfort for their family and friends.
Fort William this morning for a Presbytery Business meeting and then back down the road for the minister. Desk time this evening planning and preparing Sunday worship, Monday Messy Church activities, the induction of a minister and a funeral for next week.
The minister is part of a national committee that supports CofS military chaplains. The twice yearly meeting was this afternoon in Edinburgh. Very interesting indeed.
And during the morning the minister met one of those who are effectively the ‘civil service’ of the CofS and discussed issues of continued access to one of the church buildings and what uses could be made of neighbouring land.
Now in Fort William ready for a presbytery meeting the morning.
This morning the minister was supporting the service of worship held at Strontian for the Week of Christian Unity. This afternoon's visit into Acharacle Primary School has been called of as the minister is full of a cold and has to be in Edinburgh tonight for a meeting tomorrow. Meanwhile, some desk time.
All ready to start the Time to Remember quiet worship, this year at Acharacle.
Those who were there lit tea lights for those people and places they were thinking about, and there were candles already lit for those who had died over the last while but whose families could not be with us.
We gave thought to those suffering depression, life changes they didn't ask for, for those who are ill and for so much more. We asked that the light of hope shine in the dark days of any in need.
Monday 4th December at Acharacle
All who came along enjoyed rolls and bacon, soups, and a wonderful Christmas cake donated by Highland Cakes. It was lovely to host so many folks and thank you for the donations to funds.
Posada is off journeying! Please help accommodate Mary, Jospeh and the donkey!
What and why?
During the time of Advent Mary and Joseph would have been making their way to Bethlehem to be registered in a census ordered by the Roman ruler. They’d have had a long journey on foot and would have needed accommodation – can you help? Would your family be willing to offer them one night’s accommodation before they travel to their next stop? There's still time to sign up ...
The journey started from school on Monday 4th and will finish up back at school for a final stop before arriving at church on Christmas Eve where Jesus should be joining them at the Christmas Eve Service (4pm).
Mary and Joseph will be handed from one family or person to the next as on a rota that you can sign, just contact Acharacle Primary School or Rev Fiona (Fiona.firstname.lastname@example.org).
For each host, there is a card telling the story of Christmas, and a prayer for the receiving and the giving family to read, should they wish to. You will pick up the little group from school and deliver it back to the school the next day. The final host will be asked to return the set to school, or bring Mary, Joseph and the donkey to church. And that’s it!
This is one way for us all to remember the Christmas story at the heart of the festive season. I do hope you would like to participate.
Each week, the Presbytery of Lochaber has a Thought for the Week; this week it was the turn on the minister -
For many involved in ministry, this week marks a turning point; our thoughts turn from Remembrance to Advent and preparation for Christmas.
This morning, I sat down at my desk ready to firm up some of the advance planning and switched on the radio - Pudsey!!!! Good grief - it’s Children in Need week, how could I forget?
On Friday (17th) many of us will watch the programme and be touched by the stories we hear. Stories of children, and adults, whose lives are, for many various reasons, difficult. Monies raised are not given directly to children and families but go into supporting them, to give a better quality of life. So often we hear about families where the help given is to allow individuals to cope better with their circumstances.
One story was about a centre that gave twins with special needs individual support, which allowed each child the chance to be themselves and the quieter one finally was able to express their own personality. It wasn’t that the child was suppressed or deliberately held back previously but circumstances hadn’t allowed the family enough dedicated time and space needed for each child individually. Support from Children in Need gave the these with the result they were all able to better develop their relationships with each other.
Support networks are so very important!
At Remembrance many congregations deliberately remember not only those who died but those whose returned and those whose lives were so very altered, and those who were bereaved - effectively, we remember the support networks around each life.
During Advent we remember God who cared so much about giving adequate support to humanity that Jesus was born: Jesus experienced what it was to be fully human and showed how we could live and support each other in all circumstances.
The context of our lives may all be so very different from the time of Jesus, and from the family I heard about on the radio but, surrounding each life are relationships that give a quality of life that is so important to God. God wants each of us to have as good a quality as life as possible, remembering others and their needs too. Each of us is valued by God - and it is for that reason Remembrance is important and for that reason Jesus was born.
God knows the importance of relationships and support. Not only on Friday, let us too live lives that show the importance of relationship and support.
The Session Clerk at Acharacle, Ella Gill, is also on National Committees and here she tells us what she's involved in -
Participating in the work of the national committees is a great privilege and opportunity. It allows for the voice of small rural Presbyteries such as ours to be heard at national level.
Currently I am service on 2 committees:
The Assembly Arrangements Committee, as its name suggests, is responsible for the planning and organisation of the annual General Assembly in May. Included in the remit of this committee is the organisation of the Heart and Soul celebrations which have taken place in Princes Street Gardens on the Sunday of Assembly week for the past few years. We also have responsibility for the maintenance of the Moderator’s flat in Rothesay Terrace, Edinburgh as well as the Assembly building itself. Over the 5 years I have served on this committee I have been involved in the process of trying to make the Assembly proceedings as user friendly as possible in order to encourage greater participation in discussion and decision making.
For 3 years I have also been a member of the Presbytery Planning Task Group to which all Presbyteries must submit their plans on an annual basis. All changes to the configurations of parishes within their bounds must be scrutinised and approved by this committee before being accepted and implemented. The reducing number of available ministers increases the challenging nature of this work.