On Monday I was up at Spean Bridge for a meeting about a joint project with the neighbouring presbytery. About three hours on the road in total for a meeting of 2 1/2 hours, so it was worthwhile.
Yesterday started with another meeting. The neighbouring minister and myself are joint chaplains of the High School and we take assemblies each term - what do you do for an assembly just before Christmas that is on the day immediately after a General Election ... Well, we're going to mix the two and hope that it works!
Pastoral visits after that and sitting in on Acharacle Community Council in the evening. Oh, don't tell anyone, but we went to the pub after that.
Today, I've done some baking for a carol service this evening and we hosted Acharacle nursery for Little Christmas. The nursery come into the church building where they hear the Christmas story, told with the help of lovely little wooden figures, and then they go into the chalet to draw and play for a little while. It's lovely. I'll add photos once I've taken a cake out of the oven - excuse me ...
It was Sunday when I last blogged, I think. Breakfast here in the manse went well. Those there munched their way through rolls with bacon sausages, jam, marmalade, croissants while drinking orange juice, teas and coffees. Sadly for me, the left overs were all cleared away and in the freezer before lunchtime! Thanks to the 'staff' for all his hard work. Two services of worship went well and then we were out socially in the evening.
Yesterday was Monday. There was a funeral early afternoon, and in the evening the manse heathen and I went to Acharacle Primary School Nativity and Panto.
While the funeral was sad, the lady was given a lovely send off my her family and friends - the church building was well overflowing! She was well known to most folk of the peninsula.
The Nativity and Panto were sweet and mad as appropriate. How the children remember all those lines! The costumes were superb and the stage set wonderfully imaginative. Thank you for a great evening. The mince pies were delicious.
Took a slight breather this morning and started writing our Christmas cards - I think they may arrive in the New Year. This afternoon I was in one of the classes in the primary school telling the Christmas story. After various challenging questions we made individual stables and a giant one for the class. The teacher will send a photo of the giant stable and I'll post it but here's my template below.
Tonight we're out socially. Meantime, back to writing Christmas cards ...
Friday's primary school assembly was fun - told the story of Christmas using Bob Holman's interactive version, which included wolves howling!
The primary school is small so there may only be about 40 - 50 kids there but we all know each other and they're not afraid to ask questions. So they did! They asked loads abut the traditions of giving presents and where did Christmas trees fit in? You never know what questions children have but it's great interaction!
This morning I caught up with one of the office bearers. A few ideas were bounced around and we have a couple of ideas to follow up. And, this afternoon there was a pastoral visit in preparation for a funeral.
Now I'm finishing preparing worship for tomorrow and then ...
... decorate the Christmas tree - yeah! It's got to be finished by tomorrow morning when the manse heathen and I host the congregation, at Acharacle, to breakfast before worship.
When there's a lot on, it's difficult to sleep without waking regularly and wondering if all the jobs are done!
Today, there is Breakfast and Advent fun at Kilchoan, worship at Acharacle and the Peninsula Carols at Strontian this evening.
At previous Breakfasts we've had bingo in some format or another. This year we'll be giving it a miss: I struggle with Bingo!
The first year, I got it completely wrong and everyone had the same words on their sheet - last year someone else did it and all was well. How hard can it be!!! I have played Bingo before, admittedly it was a long time ago, and it's easy to find on-line ... but, good grief, the 'simple' things are hard sometimes. (I suspect there's a sermon in there somewhere, I must make a note.)
Anyway, perhaps I'll see you later?
Tuesday! Tuesday! Already!
Saturday morning at the Rotary Christmas Festival was fun. Chatting to adults and children is always interesting. After being 'dragged' around the stalls, the children like to have something just for them.
Saturday afternoon and evening were the continuation of prep for Sunday worship.
Sunday worship was at Acharacle first then down the peninsula to Kilchoan for worship there in the afternoon. It was communion Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent and the first Sunday in December. I'm never quite sure which definition means it is communion - first in December or first in Advent, I think it's December but it was easy this year!
On Monday morning I nipped out and picked up the manse mutt from kennels - she'd been there since I was away last week and wouldn't have had time for her over the weekend. Now she's home and asleep on the desk ( yes, really ) while I work.
Church lunches at Acharacle in the village hall and there was, as usual, a welcoming atmosphere, soup, bacon rolls, teas, coffees, biscuits and cake - thank you so much V for the wonderful Christmas cake!
Admin and prep for the rest of the day and today I'm off to Fort William for Presbytery this afternoon. There's a meeting of the village hall committee this evening and then bed.
Yesterday afternoon, we went off to Kilchoan in the mobile manse and stayed overnight. We = manse mutt and myself.
Good chats with various people and a lovely walk on the beach while being closely supervised by a nosey seal. Also did some reading and research for Sunday's sermon.
A month ago I was on holiday - and that seems like a long way back! Next week, I'm taking a couple of days off and away as that seems to be the only way to have a proper rest. I love being a minister but sometimes it empties you out. Next month will be busier.
What's been happening?
Aside from Sundays and the usual admin - a wedding, school and pastoral visits, Messy Church, coffee mornings, church lunches, session, presbytery, village hall, local development ad community council meetings, Remembrance and a special Time for Reflection.
Now it's planning for next month. There is absolutely no guarantee that there will be time for ay reflection but I'll try to put up a rough diary of what's been happening.
Meantime, I'll off to Kilchoan later today, in the camper van and with the manse mutt. I'll be taking the Posada (thanks to those who made the sheep!) and some Advent calendars into the Primary School so those items are ready for December.
Messy Church planning meeting this morning - getting ideas for Advent! Then a meeting about the future of the church building at Kilchoan. Promises to be an interesting day!