Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

Welcome to Old High St Stephen's Church, Inverness

Month: May 2016

God's mission, and ours: Sermon for Trinity Sunday 2016

Scripture Readings: Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

God’s mission, and ours

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

When I was at school, I quite liked science- though I would never pursue it very far, because to do so you need to be good at maths, which I never mastered. But I did like the experiments. Earlier we were talking with the children about the different states of water- that ice and steam are, in fact, water in different states. At school, we once took a balloon full of hydrogen to the bottom of a playing field, put a naked flame to it, and it filled an empty cup with water- almost a magic trick. But the hydrogen had reacted with the oxygen in the atmosphere to make H2O- water. Liquid water, ice and steam are all made of hydrogen and water- different aspects of the same stuff. Light that you can see, infrared light that makes automatic doors work, X-rays, radar, electricity and magnetism, TV and radio waves are also different aspects of the same thing- different wavebands of electromagnetic radiation.
Nowadays, the scientists are trying to bring together all the different strands of knowledge about the universe, searching for the maths that will explain the forces which hold atoms together through to the gravitational forces which hold galaxies together. They all it ‘the theory of everything’- and they are tantalising close to working it all out.

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Church Accounts for 2015

Copies of the OHSS Annual Trustees Report and Annual Accounts for 2015 are now available from Sandy Cumming, Church Treasurer. Please click the links to download them:
Annual Trustees Report
Annual Accounts
At the Annual Business Meeting held on 17 April at the Old High Church, the main income and expenditure items were presented and explained by Sandy Cumming, our Treasurer. The following Financial Review forms part of the Trustees Annual Report. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Sandy Cumming on 01463 795533 or by emailing sandy.cumming<a>btopenworld.com.
Financial Review for 2015
Offerings fell from £93,246 in 2014 to £89,255 in 2015, a fall of some 4.3 per cent. Tax recovered under Gift Aid decreased from £20,426 in 2014 to £18,808. The reduction in offerings is a serious concern.
The number of members using Freewill Offering Envelopes was 66, and the number of members using bank standing orders was 90. Several successful fund raising events took place throughout the year, contributing a total of £4,932 to Fabric Funds. Two legacies, totalling £3,000 were received.
Income from halls’ letting was £10,048, very similar to the sum raised in 2014.There were several items of property expenditure during the year. The Old High Church roof repairs cost £28,600. Electrical works at the Old High Church amounted to £5,149, and £934 was spent on repairs to the Old High Church Halls roof. An insurance claim for the Old High Church roof repairs generated £5,649. VAT on eligible repairs was reclaimed under the Listed Places of Worship Scheme. The Manse had a room decorated at a cost of £600.
During 2015, efforts were made to redevelop the Old High Halls following an approach from a local charity for office space. Gross expenditure of £6,248 was incurred on the Old High Halls project in 2015, albeit this was offset by a contribution of £4,386 received from the potential tenant.
In preparation for the staging date of 1 April 2016, registration has taken place with a workplace pension scheme called NEST (National Employment Savings Trust).
A major review of the congregation’s financial situation was undertaken in 2014 in two phases – firstly, a comprehensive Financial Appraisal was carried out followed by a Next Steps Action Plan. It is very evident that status quo is unsustainable since income is barely covering annual running costs. As a result, no funds are being added to reserves which have been depleted by some £40,000 in past two years. The Trustees are reviewing whether the current size of congregation can sustain the overheads of two places of worship and halls.
Property Programme Approved by Leadership Team
At its meeting held on 15 May 2016, the Leadership Team approved a programme of necessary property expenditure costing some £9250. At the Manse, the bathroom will be replaced and a new garden shed will be erected. The external doors of St Stephen’s church will be painted. New lighting will be installed in the central area of the Old High church. New radio microphone equipment will be purchased for both places of worship. Various minor maintenance works, such as cleaning gutters and down pipes, will also be undertaken. For further information, please contact Joan Darcy about Manse and St Stephen’s works, and Richard McIntosh or Chrissie Lacey regarding Old High works.

Children of the Spirit: a sermon for Pentecost 2016

Scripture Readings: Acts 2:1-13

Romans 8:14-17

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Last Sunday, when we heard about the Ascension of Jesus, I said that the early Christians had a strong sense of the continuing presence of Christ among them. In his last conversation with his followers, Luke has the risen Christ tell them, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. John [the Baptist] baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’[1].
In our reading for today, we hear what happened when the day arrive. On the Jewish festival of Pentecost, the Spirit arrives with power, colour and noise. Luke describes it in colourful language- a noise from the sky, tongues of fire touching each person, and an excitement that sends the believers out onto the streets to preach to people of every nation. The believers are so lively, so full of joy, so uninhibited about taking their message to the streets, that some people think they are drunk!

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Letter about the congregation's future

Sunday 8 May 2016 this letter regarding future plans for the congregation, was distributed to the congregation.
The Kirk Session warmly welcomes your comments. Please send them to our Session Clerk, Linda Philip, at lindajphilip<a>hotmail.com or by post to Linda Philip, c/o St Stephen’s Church, Southside Road, Inverness, IV2 4XA.

Power and encouragement: a sermon for Ascension Sunday

Scripture Readings: Acts 1: 1-11

Ephesians 1:15-23

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

In the dim and distant past, when I was applying to train to become a minister, I asked a clergyman I knew well to write one of the references I was going to need. He read my application, and wrote me a reference (which must have been good enough!). But he made a comment that haunted me. He had read what I said about my personal faith in the application, and said to me, ‘There’s a lot about God in there. But you didn’t say what Jesus meant to you. Who is Jesus for you, Peter?’ That’s a question I’ve tried to live with ever since: ‘Who is Jesus for me?’ Ever since, I’ve tried to measure my Christian life and my ministry against my answers to that question.

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Meanderings or meanings? Sermon for 1 May 2016, The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 16.6-15
Revelation 21:10 and 21.22-22:5
Meanderings- or meanings?

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Travels1Few us of nowadays agree with Robert Louis Stevenson, who wandered the mountains of France on a donkey and wrote a book about it, and thought that ‘it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive’ . We mostly just want to arrive, to do whatever it is we want to do at the end of our journey. If we get stuck in snow on the A9 we probably won’t enjoy the scenery very much. The shops, amusement arcades and cafes of an airport terminal quickly lose their charm if we have to wait for hours for a plane. For we are usually in a hurry nowadays.

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