2nd May 2020 - lockdown continues

Hi all - It's been a while!  And it's been busy!

Lockdown may be a step back for some, a time to rest, catch up with themselves and, generally, slow down.  But, for me, it's been a time to get to grips with new ways of doing things.  Worship is now a Bible reading, reflection and prayer published each Sunday, pastoral care by phone calls and Messy Church is by bags of ideas given to the families who usually join in and to those that are new to Messy Church.  Meeting are by Zoom or Teams.  Keeping social media updated enjoyable and great to know that so many are accessing faith based activities through the various sites.

I've managed to work at the desk most mornings through until a late lunch time, be active with the manse mutt in the afternoons and spend time relaxing with the manse heathen in the evenings. The recent warm and sunny weather has been a joy and the garden is beginning to look like the garden of Eden and not pre-creation chaos.

I hope you've able to keep in touch as appropriate.  Please remember that if you are lonely or was to chat church is always ready to take time to listen.

God bless!

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!

2019 April 7th - Sunday

At Acharacle today we looked at John 3:16 and 17.

Thanks to 'Spill the Beans' for the idea of teasing out some of the meaning of these verses.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

God - maker of life - Father of Jesus - love - energy - purpose - omniscience - strength - guide - healing - forgiveness - love

World - big - people - animals - plants - water - air - sky - universe - everything

Believe - hope - gamble of God - faith - it's real - trust - truth to you.

Life - living things - animals - sad - stressful - being - risky - lonely - hard - destitute - empty - air - breath - annoying (honest, we're usually a happy bunch!!)

Condemn - punish - put down - mean - judge - criticise - denigrate

Save - help - rescue - restore - to be a light - guide

Enough there for a meditation or two!

2019 April 5th - Friday

This morning, I spoke at an assembly at Ardnamurchan High School. I'm very aware that the Easter holidays will be the last chance for some of the pupils to have down-time and relax before the stress of exams next term.

For some, it's almost the end of their school years. Next term they'll be on study leave and then leaving school.

Please, take a moment of tow to think about the pupils, their families, friends and teachers - all of whom will be trying to encourage and support each other through this challenging time. It might seem like a time of threat but it's an opportunity to step into the future knowing you've done your best.

meanwhile - enjoy the break, be kind to yourselves and balance the work / down-time.

God bless,

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’!