2019 March 24th - Sunday

The Bible reading today was the story of some friends lowering their disabled friend down to Jesus. So far so good.

We thought a bit about how far the group would have carried their friend, the kind of ground they'd have walked on, how hot it might have been, how on earth they'd have negotiated getting him up the steps to the roof (didn't go into the Health & Safety briefing) before then dismantling the roof to get him through!

As a practical way of understanding the task, at each service a volunteer lay on a blanket and was carried from the back of the worship space to the front. That was ok, but we were indoors, went only a short way and had no difficult terrain nor steps. That soon brought home to us how much that group of friends cared for their disabled friend!

Well done to the volunteers and those who carried them!

Here's a photo of the ceiling in a traditional Middle Eastern house. It shown how complex a construction the ceiling and roof would have been.

2019 March 23rd - Messy Church

Messy Church - On Monday coming Messy Church will be held at Acharacle Shielbridge Hall. It's for all ages, not only children as is often assumed. 

What is it?

Messy Church is all about…

Finding creative ways to explore the Christian message
enjoying celebratory worship. This is done by telling the stories of the Bible as stories! Instead of a sermon there are activities for all ages to help each other enjoy. There is a short prayer. Sometimes there is singing too (as this minister isn't a great singer and can't play a musical instrument, and no-one else is confident enough to take it on, singing doesn't often happen!). 

Although adults can come on their own but children must bring their own adult. We all chat and worship and eat together. Getting to know each other over shared activities has led to relationships and friendships that would otherwise not exist. It's lovely when eg an older person in the village who lives alone is spoken to and known by school age children.

So, who's coming on Monday at 3.30pm for fun, friendship and food - all because God inspires us to gather and enjoy God's love and care for us through each other!

2019 March 13th

A wee update on what's been keeping me occupied.

Last week there were church lunches at Acharacle, a chat about helping deliver some learning about loss and bereavement, an afternoon at Kilchoan Primary School, a Working Group meting about the restoration at Ardnamurchan Church building, pastoral and administrative work, a Community Development meeting at Kilchoan and one about ministry in the Western Grouping of Parishes in Lochaber, a presentation of certificates by the Ardnamurchan Trust to children in the Trust's area - and prep for worship on Sunday past and the Annual Stated meeting of Ardnamurchan Parish Church.

Meanwhile, there was ongoing drainage work at the manse. This is very necessary as the land behind the manse is sodden and floods, threatening to undermine the foundations of the building.

This week has been busy too. Prep for a family funeral which took place in Dundee yesterday (10 hours of travel for those who are interested - catching up on listening to podcasts!) and today getting ready for planning Messy Church and for Sunday coming's Spring Breakfast at Kilchoan.

It does seem, at times, to be all meetings but, as mentioned above, there has been pastoral work too. Last week, at one point while visiting, I ended up watching and chatting about James Martin's UK cooking programme - not a bad way to spend time with a parishioner.

2019 Feb 14th - Thursday

It's been a while since I last posted - I'll try to be better.

Kilchoan for lunch club and join with the craft group.  Walk the dog at Kilchoan too.

Desk time around those.  Planning Sunday worship, a talk on loss & bereavement and thinking about a wedding in a couple of months (the bride and groom live abroad so the time line of organisation is different).  

St Valentine was beaten with clubs, beheaded, buried under cover of darkness, disinterred and we celebrate by eating chocolate - happy Valentine's Day!

2019 Jan 3rd - Amen

Happy New Year!

A new start, again, Amen!

Last Sunday the short talk focussed on the word ‘amen’. (Thanks to a colleague for the inspiration for this! And to the children who recently asked about amen.)

Why do we use the word ‘amen’?

Amen is a way of summing up the prayer that has just ended, let it be so, or, the end.

Mean - If the letters are moved around you get the word ‘mean’ - I mean all I’ve just said. Eg a prayer for peace can be an invitation for peace to come; if I mean this then what responsibility does this put on me to be part of the answer? If I mean what I say, what will I do about it? How has God equipped me to be of use in helping peace to come?

Name - it’s way of adding my name to the agreement known as the covenant. The Ten Commandments were a formalised agreement between God and God’s people detailing how the two parties, if you like, were to conduct their relationship. As someone who believes in God and is a follower of Christ, who lived out this relationship, then I have added my name to those who have signed up to this relationship - and I’m expected to take an active part on continuing this covenant.

A’ men - it’s a Scots way of being inclusive. The Bible is for all men ie all humanity for all time. The Bible, amongst other things, is a true record of the covenant mentioned above - of how the relationship between God and God’s people is worked out across the ages. It’s inclusive - ie no matter who are or what we are, God offers us the chance of being included in this wonderful covenant of hope, joy, peace and love.

Not a bad, partial, unpacking of the word ‘amen’!

2018 Dec 26th - Boxing Day

It's been a busy and rewarding few weeks - just Messy Church Christmas party tomorrow then thoughts turn to Sunday worship.  

On Christmas Day there was worship at Acharacle then family time.  It was lovely to slump into the settee and let others do the work (indulgent, I know) of preparing food and handing out presents.  I think I managed to change channels on the TV and that was about all - oh, and walk the dog.

Taking time to simply be with those you love is part of Christmas - it's part of our whole lives too.  God is with us all the time - how often do we stop and simply be with God?  I know I don't do this often enough but I'll continue to try to do so - time with God and time with family.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas - and the blessing of being with God, and those you love, at all times.

2018 Dec 18th - Tuesday

This morning at Strontian then Ardgour Primary Schools.

That's all five primaries across the greater peninsula (Ardnamurchan and Morven) and over 100 children experienced Bubblegum 'n' Fluff!

Thank you for your hospitality and for the fun - Happy Christmas to the pupils and staff.

2018 Dec 16th - Sunday

That's Sunday over - Breakfast at the manse here at Acharacle then worship and tree decorating before heading down to Kilchoan for worship there. This Sunday is often a bit of an odd one - quite close to Christmas but not quite at the stage of many carols during worship.
This evening I was delighted to join a Carol Service at the Free Church - lovely service, thank you.

Our own tree is now up and the lights are twinkling in the corner. The baubles are still to be added but that's easier in daylight.

Tomorrow, Monday - first thing in the morning the nursery school at Acharacle will be having 'Little Christmas' at the church chalet. This is a short version of the Christmas story especially for the children and their adults.
Later in the day I'll be heading along to the Acharacle Primary School nativity and pantomime - oh, yes I will!!!

2018 Dec 4th - Tuesday

Minister's blog 
After a few Peru posts it's time to get back to normal posts. 

I don't quite know where November went but it's gone and now it's Advent. While clergy everywhere are encouraging those of faith to step back and take time to remember what we are going to celebrate at Christmas, clergy themselves are busy preparing regular and extra worship.

I now have a spreadsheet on the desk to help me with planning and preparations this month. I've posters to send out, an on-line church shopping order to put in and a presentation to finalise then off to a Presbytery meeting in Fort William (80 mile round trip and about 3 hours on the road). After that it's Acharacle Village Hall AGM and meeting where I'm the secretary. Oh, I need to get the agenda sorted for that....

Peru blog final entry

Peru blog - 
I realised I'd not ended the Peru blog!

For the last couple of days of the trip we motored back down the Ucayali to Iquitos. We'd been so far up-river that it really did take most of two days!

Was it worthwhile - oh yes! 

Being able to share the God given gifts and talents we all have is part of faith. We do this for others - we are hands-on people of faith. It's not all one way. We were blessed by the smiles and attitudes of those we served. The villages are warm and friendly people. Caring is sharing, as a friend says! 

It's not a duty or for self aggrandisement that those on the ship do this. The desire to help comes from something that connects each of us with each other. (Personally, and as you'd expect, I call that connection God.). The Vine Trust strap line is 'Connecting people to change lives.' So true - no-one comes back from these experiences unchanged.

Please, if you have enjoyed reading this and find yourself called to do more, do look at the Vine Trust website for more information. Thank you for reading to the end. God bless.