Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

Welcome to Old High St Stephen's Church, Inverness

Month: December 2018

A visitor to our Good Earth: sermon for Christmas Eve 2018

Scripture Readings:

Genesis 1.1-9 (Authorized Version)
recording from Apollo 8 TV broadcast, December 24th, 1968[i]


Luke 2.1-7

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

Our Old Testament reading is from Genesis chapter 1- part of the creation story. We are going hear it in a recording taken from a television broadcast made 50 years ago tonight. We hear the voices of Bill Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman:

That was the astronauts of Apollo 8 speaking in a live television broadcast in Christmas Eve 1968: exactly fifty years ago. They were the first human beings ever to travel to the moon. They did not land on the moon- that happened just a few months later. Their mission was to prepare the way for the subsequent moon landing. They were a practice run- the first to leave the orbit of the earth, the first people ever to see the far side of the moon with their own eyes, the first to go into orbit around the moon.

They were tasked with photographing the moon for possible landing sites. At one point, however, astronaut Bill Anders spotted something else out of one of the windows: ‘Oh my God, look at that picture over there!’ he exclaimed. ‘There’s the earth comin’ up. Wow, is that pretty!’ He had spotted earth rising over the horizon of the moon: a semicircle of colour, its blues and greens contrasting with the uniform greyness of the moon, and the inky blackness of the sky. He took the photograph you are looking at now.

The Apollo 8 astronauts had gone to explore the moon, but Bill Anders’ ‘Earthrise’ picture was the most famous image they brought back. There was nothing in the flight plan about taking such a photograph- if it had been an unmanned mission, a computer would never have thought of taking the picture. It took a human eye to see the beauty of the earth hanging in the sky. They had gone to explore the moon, but came back with a new way of looking at the earth.

The Apollo photographs of the earth gave the emerging environmental movement boost. They show our planet as we had never really seen it before- a small speck of colour in a vast darkness, an oasis of life in a lifeless void. It is all we have. For all our divisions, we all of us share this ‘blue marble’, our island home in space. If we damage or destroy it, then we literally have no future.

For their earlier TV broadcast, the astronauts had been given very little guidance on what they should do or say. So they chose to read from Genesis: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’. The ancient poet of Genesis could never have imagined his words might be read by people orbiting the moon to an audience of millions back on earth. Yet this ancient, majestic words seemed like the right choice for that Christmas Eve, of that turbulent year of 1968. It was the genius of the Hebrews to understand that there could only really be the one God, and that God was the creator of heaven and earth.

In their different ways, the Earthrise picture and the account of creation in Genesis speak to us of the wonder and mystery of creation. For some people, these pictures of the earth in space make us seem quite insignificant in the vast cosmos. Not so the Biblical poets. In Psalm 8, a poet observing the night sky pondered humanity’s place in it all:

When I look at the sky, which you have made,

at the moon and the stars, which you set in their places —

what are human beings, that you think of them;

mere mortals, that you care for them?

Yet you made them inferior only to yourself;

you crowned them with glory and honour.

You appointed them rulers over everything you made;

you placed them over all creation:

sheep and cattle, and the wild animals too;

the birds and the fish

and the creatures in the seas.[2]

Our faith tell us that we do matter. For this planet is God’s gift to us. God calls on us to nurture the earth, to ensure the waters are clean, to ensure that preservation of the multitude of species on which our lives- and that of future generations- will depend. The Bible is not so far from the modern environmental movement as it reminds us of our responsibilities to creation.

Frank Borman, the mission commander, ended the Christmas Eve broadcast from the moon with these words:

[F]rom the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas- and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

Bormann later described seeing the earth rise above the moon as ‘the most beautiful, heart-catching sight of my life’[3]. His far away home planet must, indeed have seemed good.

As Genesis said: God created the heavens and the earth, and God saw that it was good. And God showed again his love for this good earth when a child was born to Mary at Bethlehem. For in the child in the manger, the maker of the earth and the moon and the stars comes to his good earth, comes to be born as one of us, comes to live and die alongside his creatures on this good earth he has made.

Yet hatred and war divide humanity the inhabitants of this good earth. In our rivalries, we forget that we have this in common- we all have to share this third planet from the sun. We have the capacity to destroy life, either instantly in a nuclear exchange or an accident; or slowly, as we continue to destroy forests and the oceans and allow species which took millions of years to evolve to go out of existence in decades. We have used the technology which sent men to the moon to investigate the land, sea and atmosphere of the earth ever more carefully. Satellites can show us shrinking ice caps, rising sea levels, and climate change which threatens us all, yet we are loathed to do anything about it.

And yet, somehow I am not entirely pessimistic, for unto us a child is born. A child who is born in very humble circumstance, to an ordinary peasant woman and her carpenter husband. A child whose message would inspire many people to a love their neighbours, and to care for the world around them. And yet a child who is also forgotten, or pushed to one side- they had no room for him at the inn.

Science and technology can teach us a lot about our planet and the universe which contains it. But faith tells us that this seemingly insignificant planet of ours once received a visit from beyond, from one whom we can be inspired to put our trust, for his life and death tells us that the Creator God loves us.

As we’ve heard, the Bible begins with the words, ‘In the beginning, God…’ The Gospel of John, attempting to explain who Jesus is, begins with the words which reflect the start of Genesis:

In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.

The Word, through whom the heavens and earth was made, has come to us in the child of Bethlehem. Perhaps the Word has also visited other planets, to bring to life forms we can’t imagine the good news. For it is good news, for this good earth, and for all its people: we are not forgotten, we are not unimportant, for the Son of God the creator has walked among us. And, as John’s Gospel says, he is

‘the light [which] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out’.

Ascription of Praise

Glory to God in highest heaven,

and on earth peace to all in whom God delights!

Amen.

Luke 2.14 (alt)

Biblical references from the Good News Bible, unless otherwise stated

© 2018 Peter W Nimmo

Notes


[1] https://youtu.be/t3LIvb1Nzak

[2] Psalm 8.3-8

[3] Barbree, Jay. Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Apollo Moon Landings (p. 221). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.

Sunday Bulletin 23 December 2018

WORSHIP THIS WEEK

Sunday 30 December 2018: The First Sunday after Christmas

10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s

11:15am Morning Worship at the Old High

Both Services led by Rev Alastair Younger

NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION

For contact details contact the Church Administrator

WARMTH FOR THE HOMELESS Gary Ross, who has been joining us for worship at Old High on an extended visit from Texas, has provided suitcases at both our buildings. If you have any warm clothing, in good condition, which you would like to donate, please put them in the suitcase next Sunday and the following Sunday, and Gary will deliver it to the Gateway in Church Street, who will provide the items to the local homeless community. Gary Ross.

CHRISTMAS SERVICES There will be an All-Age Christmas Eve service at 6.30pm in St Stephen’s. This will be a chance to welcome back children and young people who are connected to our congregation. Several of them have agreed to help lead this simple, short service, welcoming the return of the Christ child to our midst. It will be lovely to have all the generations in our church gathered around at this special moment. Andrew Stevenson

All our Christmas and New Year Services are listed on the back page. If you come to our All-Age Service at 10.30am on Christmas Day, bring our favourite Christmas presents along to show us! Also, please note the Congregational Service at Old High on the first Sunday after the New Year.

PASTORAL CARE Peter, or your Elder, should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.

MINISTER’S HOLDAY COVER from 26 December 2018 to 2 January 2019 (inclusive dates) will be provided by Rev Alastair Younger. Alastair should also be advised of anyone ill at home or in hospital during that period.

CHRISTMAS OFFERINGS Our offerings over the Festive Period are for Gateway Highland (formerly Highland Homeless Trust). Please give generously.

OLD HIGH TEA AND COFFEE There will be tea/coffee after the service in the Old High today. All welcome. Christine Mackenzie

FOOD FOR FAMILIES PROJECT providing meals to individuals and families who are in need. We hope to maintain the number of meals delivered this year. This year we will cook mince and tatties. All ingredients are provided, and I have put us down for cooking w/c 7 January with all meals being delivered by Friday 11 January. The process will be the same as before with the ingredients being delivered for cooking and the cooked meals being picked up by Gateway. The meals will be frozen prior to delivery to local schools, community centres and to families who have been referred from agencies such as Social Work, NHS Highland, Councillors, local community groups and local churches. If you wish to participate please contact Christine MacKenzie

HIGHLAND FOOD BANK (HFB) Lorna Dempster has written thanking the congregations of Old High St Stephen’s for their Harvest donations to the food bank which amounted to a magnificent 182 kgs of food. She has said that HFB and the thousands who are helped each year greatly appreciate the generosity. For December and January they would be very grateful to receive jars of coffee, packets of oatcakes, tins of corned beef, cartons of long life fruit juice, tins of ham. Many thanks for your continuing support. Margaret Neville

SUNDAY BULLETIN Please send items for this sheet to our Church Administrator: Mrs Pat MacLeod (079 342 85924) invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline Wednesday at 12 noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and include contact details and/or e-mail.

INVERNESS STREET PASTORS Next Prayer Support meetings (both at The Hub, Castle Street Baptist Church), Saturday 15 December 10.00 am Coffee, 10.15 -12.30 – focus on Christmas patrols (especially for those unable to come into town at night to pray). We also plan to include short prayer walk in the centre at around 11.15pm. Saturday 22 December 9.00 pm – 1.30 am (or for any part of this time that you can manage) supporting the City Centre patrol. Marilyn Armstrong, Inverness Prayer Coordinator

VOCATIONS INFORMATION DAY on Saturday 9 February at St John’s Episcopal Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh. The day includes an inspirational keynote speech on the Call to Serve Today, practical information and the opportunity to ask important questions about how God might be calling you. We’d like to encourage you to think of anyone you might want to make aware of this opportunity.  It is an engaging day, with the opportunity to mix with many at the same stage of exploration, and to hear about the different forms of ministry service in the Church of Scotland. The Vocations Information Day remains the first step in the Discernment Process for anyone wanting to explore the recognised ministries of the Church.  Please help us encourage others to explore their call to service further. Spaces are limited – booking essential. To register, contact Ministries Council, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN 6

Winter 2018 Church Magazine

You can download a copy of our latest magazine here

Sunday Bulletin 16 December 2018


NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE FOR ADULTS & CHILDREN OFALL AGES A congregation-led serviceat St Stephen’s on Monday 24 December 2018 at 6.30 pm. Do comealong and bring family and friends for a short, informal service with carols,lessons and simple activities for the children. We have an urgent need still for sheep, donkeys, stars,shepherds and angels – on loan for the occasion! Contact Malcolm MacRae or Andrew Stevenson for information.

All our Christmas and New Year Services are listed on the back page. If you come to our All-Age Service at 10.30am on Christmas Day, bring our favourite Christmas presents along to show us! Also, please note the Congregational Service at Old High on the first Sunday after the New Year.

PASTORAL CARE Peter, or your Elder, should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.

MINISTER’SHOLDAY COVER from 26 December 2018 to 2 January 2019 (inclusive dates) willbe provided by Rev Alastair Younger. Alastair should also be advised of anyone ill at home or in hospital during that period.

EMAIL NEWSLETTER Lastweek we sent out the first of an occasional newssheet to those of you who haveprovided us with e-mail addresses. If you would like to receive the newsletter,and any future ones, and you have not already done so, please contact Pat at invernesschurch<at>gmail.com.

OHSS CHURCH MAGAZINE isavailable for distributors to uplift today.Jennifer Morrison.

SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP this evening (16 December),when we shall discuss the final 2 chapters of Philip Yansey’s book. AndrewStevenson.

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH AND COMMUNITY CHOIRS Christmas Concerts at 7.30m on Wednesday 19 andThursday 20 December 2018. This year’s proceeds will go to the Birnie CentreToddler Group and Mikeysline. Tickets from Susan MacLeod.

MEET & EAT LUNCH Christmas Lunch will be served atour monthly gathering on Thursday 20 December at 12.30 at the Craigmonie Hotel.All welcome. For further information please contact Val Cantlay

OLD HIGH TEA AND COFFEE Therewill be tea/coffee after the service in the Old High on Sunday 23 December. All welcome. Christine Mackenzie

FOOD FOR FAMILIES PROJECT providing meals to individuals and families who are inneed. We hope to maintain the number of meals delivered this year. This year wewill cook mince and tatties. All ingredients are provided, and I have put usdown for cooking w/c 7 January with all meals being delivered by Friday 11 January. The process will be the same as before with the ingredients beingdelivered for cooking and the cooked meals being picked up by Gateway. The meals will be frozen prior to delivery to local schools, community centres andto families who have been referred from agencies such as Social Work, NHS Highland, Councillors, local community groups and local churches. If you wishto participate please contact Christine MacKenzie

HIGHLANDFOOD BANK (HFB) Lorna Dempster has written thanking the congregations ofOld High St Stephen’s for their Harvest donations to the food bank whichamounted to a magnificent 182 kgs of food. She has said that HFB and thethousands who are helped each year greatly appreciate the generosity. ForDecember and January they would be very grateful to receive jars of coffee,packets of oatcakes, tins of corned beef, cartons of long life fruit juice, tins of ham. Many thanks for your continuing support. Margaret Neville

GIVING TREES Thanks to all who have contributed. You can still hand in your present today at Old High.

CROSSREACH Prayer diary October 2018 to January 2019,Newsletter, and Christmas catalogue now available at church doors. Rae Swan.

SUNDAY BULLETIN Please send items for this sheet to our Church Administrator:Mrs Pat MacLeod (079 342 85924 invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline Wednesday at 12 noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and include contact details and/or e-mail.

WARMTH FOR THE HOMELESS Gary Ross, who has been joining us forworship at Old High on an extended visit from Texas, has provided suitcases atboth our buildings. If you have any warm clothing, in good condition, which youwould like to donate, please put them in the suitcase next Sunday and thefollowing Sunday, and Gary will deliver it to the Gateway in Church Street, who will provide the items to the local homeless community. Gary Ross.

VOCATIONS INFORMATION DAY on Saturday 9 February at St John’s Episcopal Church,Princes Street, Edinburgh. The day includes an inspirational keynote speech onthe Call to Serve Today, practical information and the opportunity to askimportant questions about how God might be calling you. We’d like to encourageyou to think of anyone you might want to make aware of this opportunity.  It is an engaging day, with the opportunityto mix with many at the same stage of exploration, and to hear about thedifferent forms of ministry service in the Church of Scotland. The VocationsInformation Day remains the first step in the Discernment Process for anyonewanting to explore the recognised ministries of the Church.  Please help us encourage others to exploretheir call to service further. Spaces are limited – booking essential. To register, contact Ministries Council, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN

OHSS Blue Cross jpeg

Sunday Bulletin 9 December 2018

WORSHIP THIS WEEK

Sunday 16 December 2018 : The Third Sunday of Advent

10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s

11:15am Morning Worship at the Old High

NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION

For contact details contact the Church Administrator

PASTORAL CARE Peter, or your Elder, should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.

EMAIL NEWSLETTER This week we sent out the first of an occasional newssheet to those of you who have provided us with e-mail addresses. If you would like to receive the newsletter, and any future ones, and you have not already done so, please send your e-mail address to invernesschurch<at>gmail.com.

PALESTINIAN HANDCRAFTS STALL Today (9 December) Iwill be running a stall in St Stephen’s with a selection of Palestinianhandcrafts. These are beautifully made and can make a perfect Christmaspresent. For many Palestinian households the women have become the sole wageearners, and these traditional crafts have become a vital source of income.Details at www.hadeel.org 

OHSS CHURCH MAGAZINE The magazine will be available for distributors to uplift next Sunday (16 December). Jennifer Morrison

SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION GROUP the meeting on 9December has been postponed until 16 December, when we shall discuss the final 2 chapters of Philip Yansey’s book. Andrew Stevenson

ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH AND COMMUNITY CHOIRS Christmas Concerts at 7.30m on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 December 2018. This year’s proceeds will go to the Birnie Centre Toddler Group and Mikeysline. Tickets from Susan MacLeod

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE FOR ADULTS & CHILDREN OF ALL AGES A congregation-led serviceat St Stephen’s on Monday 24 December 2018 at 6.30 pm. Do come along and bring family and friends for a short, informal service with carols, lessons and simple activities for the children. We would be very grateful if you could lend us some ‘props’ for the evening, eg toy sheep, donkeys, stars, angels etc. Contact Malcolm Stevens (230882) or Andrew Stevenson for information. We will also have our usual All-Age Service at 10.30am on Christmas Day: bring our favourite Christmas presents along to show us!

FOOD FOR FAMILIES PROJECT Following another successful year, I am delighted that the project will go ahead once again this year. Last year we provided 2,500 meals, which was a fantastic effort from all the teams involved, and be assured all meals were gratefully received by individuals and families who were in need. We hope to maintain the number of meals delivered this year. Over the last seven years we have all helped to provide 18,200 meals! This year we will cook mince and tatties. All ingredients are provided, and I have put us down for cooking w/c 3 December and w/c 7 January with all meals being delivered by Friday 11 January. The process will be the same as before with the ingredients being delivered for cooking and the cooked meals being picked up by Gateway. The meals will be frozen prior to delivery to local schools, community centres and to families who have been referred from agencies such as Social Work, NHS Highland, Councillors, local community groups and local churches. If you wish to participate please contact Christine MacKenzie

HIGHLAND FOOD BANK (HFB) Lorna Dempster has written thanking the congregations of Old High St Stephen’s for their Harvest donations to the food bank which amounted to a magnificent 182 kgs of food. She has said that HFB and the thousands who are helped each year greatly appreciate the generosity. For December and January they would be very grateful to receive jars of coffee, packets of oatcakes, tins of corned beef, cartons of long life fruit juice, tins of ham. Many thanks for your continuing support. Margaret Neville

GIVINGTREES are now at both churches, so we ask for a thought to be given to those who sadlymay not get any sort of small gift at Christmas. This can mean a lot!:

WORSHIP TIMES Please note there was a misprint last week in Month of Sundays, our lists of services for December. Our services for Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day are at 10.30am. You can download the Month of Sundays from our website.

St Stephen’s Gifts will be distributed to Beechwood, Cale House, Manna House, Mackenzie Centre, Hilton Village (Social Work) and Porterfield Prisoners’ Children. Please wrap your gift and remember to attach the appropriate gift tag for ease of identification and distribution. Please ensure that any remaining gifts are given to me no later than Friday 14 December. Further details Cliff Sim (225481).

Old High (in the East Corridor). We will be providing gifts for homeless people, and any of the following would be appreciated – gloves, hats, scarves, socks, underwear or toiletries. A little extra such as a Mars bar or some sweets would be a nice surprise. Gateway advise that at present there are 12 ladies and 28 men who are homeless. Additional gifts would be appreciated for unexpected situations. Wrapped gifts should be returned by Sunday 16 December. Further information from Sheila MacLeod or Liz McKimmie.

HEALING SERVICE Christian Fellowship of Healing (Highlands) will hold a healing service at St Stephen’s today (9 December) at 4pm to which all are welcome. Contact David Martin (232 457).

CROSSREACH Prayer diary October 2018 to January 2019, Newsletter, and Christmas catalogue now available at church doors. Rae Swan

SUNDAY BULLETIN Please send items for this sheet to our Church Administrator: Mrs Pat MacLeod (079 342 85924 invernesschurch@gmail.com. Deadline Wednesday at 12 noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and include contact details and/or e-mail.

OTHER NEWS

REASONS FORHOPE AT CHRISTMAS Seminar today (9 December) at CulduthelChristian Centre, Culduthel Avenue IV2 6AS. An opportunity to be equipped for living out and sharing ourfaith at Christmas. Two AfternoonSeminars 4.30-5.30pm (Chris Dowling and Alasdair Macleod).  Main Session 6–7.15pm ‘The perfectgift’ (Andy Bannister). To bookcontact Jenny Sinclair or online at culduthelchristiancentre.churchsuite.co.uk.

VOCATIONS INFORMATION DAY on Saturday 9 February at St John’s Episcopal Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh. The day includes an inspirational keynote speech on the Call to Serve Today, practical information and the opportunity to ask important questions about how God might be calling you. We’d like to encourage you to think of anyone you might want to make aware of this opportunity.  It is an engaging day, with the opportunity to mix with many at the same stage of exploration, and to hear about the different forms of ministry service in the Church of Scotland. The Vocations Information Day remains the first step in the Discernment Process for anyone wanting to explore the recognised ministries of the Church.  Please help us encourage others to explore their call to service further. Spaces are limited – booking essential. To register, contact Ministries Council, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN vocation<at>churchofscotland.org.uk

Signs of the times: sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent 2018

Scripture readings: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Luke 21:25-36

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

In our culture, we expect this build-up to Christmas to be a busy time of preparation, a mad rush of shopping, preparing food, putting up decorations, getting ready for family visits, enjoying the office party and the works night out. And we clergy are as bad as everyone else, and everyone else knows it, which is why we are so often greeted with ‘This will be your busy time of year’.

For many folk, the pre-Christmas season is very enjoyable- choosing presents for loved ones, baking special Advent and Christmas food, putting up a Christmas tree, enjoying a works night out. But for some it is not so easy. For some people, this is the time they get into debt. There are parents worried about how they can afford to give children the Christmas they deserve. For those who are lonely, or anxious, or bereaved, this enforced jollity can be a bit much.

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Sunday Bulletin 2 December 2018

WORSHIP THIS WEEK
Sunday 9 December 2018: Second Sunday of Advent
10 am Morning Worship at St Stephen’s
11:15am Morning Worship at the Old High
NEWS FROM OUR CONGREGATION
Contact Details from our Church Administrator.
PASTORAL CARE Peter, or your Elder, should be informed of anyone ill at home or in hospital.
PALESTINIAN HANDCRAFTS STALL Today and next Sunday (9 December) I will be running a stall in St Stephen’s with a selection of Palestinian handcrafts. These are beautifully made and can make a perfect Christmas present. For many Palestinian households the women have become the sole wage earners, and these traditional crafts have become a vital source of income. Details at www.hadeel.org Andy Pyott
SOUTHSIDE NURSING HOME There will be a short service, led by Isobel Allan, at Southside Nursing Home immediately after this morning’s service at St Stephen’s. If you are able to assist with the singing, or chatting to the residents, this would be much appreciated. Please speak to Isobel after the service. We still also seek members willing to lead these services on a rota basis. Please contact Janet Robertson
ST STEPHEN’S CHURCH AND COMMUNITY CHOIRS Christmas Concerts at 7.30m on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 December 2018. This year’s proceeds will go to the Birnie Centre Toddler Group and Mikeysline. Tickets from Susan MacLeod.
FOOD FOR FAMILIES PROJECT Following another successful year, I am delighted that the project will go ahead once again this year. Last year we provided 2,500 meals, which was a fantastic effort from all the teams involved, and be assured all meals were gratefully received by individuals and families who were in need. We hope to maintain the number of meals delivered this year. Over the last seven years we have all helped to provide 18,200 meals! This year we will cook mince and tatties. All ingredients are provided, and I have put us down for cooking w/c 3 December and w/c 7 January with all meals being delivered by Friday 11 January. The process will be the same as before with the ingredients being delivered for cooking and the cooked meals being picked up by Gateway. The meals will be frozen prior to delivery to local schools, community centres and to families who have been referred from agencies such as Social Work, NHS Highland, Councillors, local community groups and local churches. If you wish to participate please contact Christine MacKenzie
GIVING TREES are now at both churches, so we ask for a thought to be given to those who sadly may not get any sort of small gift at Christmas. This can mean a lot!:
St Stephen’s-Today:. Please choose a label from the Tree and return the red bow for future use. Details of the gifts required are on the labels. Please wrap your gifts, attaching the label for identification and return them NEXT WEEK for subsequent distribution. Gifts are for Beechwood, Cale House, Manna House, Mackenzie Centre, Hilton Village (Social Work) and Porterfield Prisoners’ Children. Info from Cliff Sim.
Old High (in the East Corridor) from TODAY. We will be providing gifts for homeless people, and any of the following would be appreciated – gloves, hats, scarves, socks, underwear or toiletries. A little extra such as a Mars bar or some sweets would be a nice surprise. Gateway advise that at present there are 12 ladies and 28 men who are homeless. Additional gifts would be appreciated for unexpected situations. Wrapped gifts should be returned by Sunday 16 December. Further information from Sheila MacLeod or Liz McKimmie.
OLD HIGH ST STEPHEN’S WINTER WALK AND AFTERNOON TEA today. A short walk, about 30-40 minutes, from Muirtown Locks to Clachnaharry. Cuppa afterwards at the Jammy Piece (JP) cafe at Muirtown Locks. Meet St Stephen’s car park at 2pm for car sharing or at Muirtown Locks beside the JP cafe at 2.15pm, or join us for a cuppa there at 3pm. If the weather is inclement we will still meet for the refreshments. Contact Deborah Macrae or Jennifer Morrison for more details.
WORSHIP TIMES Please note there was a misprint last week in Month of Sundays, our lists of services for December. Our services for Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day are at 10.30am. You can download the Month of Sundays from our website.
CRAFT EVENING St Stephen’s Hall 7.30–9pm, Wednesday 5 December. Crafters and non-crafters welcome (you may wish to learn a craft). Friendly atmosphere and refreshments provided. Margaret McAleer.
HEALING SERVICE Christian Fellowship of Healing (Highlands) will hold a healing service at St Stephen’s next Sunday (9 December) at 4pm to which all are welcome. Contact David Martin.
CROSSREACH Prayer diary October 2018 to January 2019, Newsletter, and Christmas catalogue now available at church doors. Rae Swan.
SUNDAY BULLETIN Please send items for this sheet to our Church Administrator: Mrs Pat MacLeod (079 342 85924 invernesschurch<at>gmail.com. Deadline Wednesday at 12 noon. Please keep items as brief as possible, and include contact details and/or e-mail.
OTHER NEWS
THE INVERNESS SINGERS present CAROLS AT THE CROWN on Wednesday 5 December at 7.30pm in the Crown Church. Programme of of well-loved Christmas songs and congregational carols. Donations to Mikeysline. Parking in the Crown School playground. Admission by programme (adults £8, children/students £4) from the Music Shop, Church Street, Ken and Margaret Young and at the door.
REASONS FOR HOPE AT CHRISTMAS Seminar on Sunday 9 December at Culduthel Christian Centre, Culduthel Avenue IV2 6AS. An opportunity to be equipped for living out and sharing our faith at Christmas. Two Afternoon Seminars 4.30-5.30pm (Chris Dowling and Alasdair Macleod). Main Session 6–7.15pm ‘The perfect gift’ (Andy Bannister). To book contact Jenny Sinclair or online at culduthelchristiancentre.churchsuite.co.uk.
VOCATIONS INFORMATION DAY on Saturday 9 February at St John’s Episcopal Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh. The day includes an inspirational keynote speech on the Call to Serve Today, practical information and the opportunity to ask important questions about how God might be calling you. We’d like to encourage you to think of anyone you might want to make aware of this opportunity. It is an engaging day, with the opportunity to mix with many at the same stage of exploration, and to hear about the different forms of ministry service in the Church of Scotland. The Vocations Information Day remains the first step in the Discernment Process for anyone wanting to explore the recognised ministries of the Church. Please help us encourage others to explore their call to service further. Spaces are limited – booking essential. To register, contact Ministries Council, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN xvocation<at>churchofscotland.org.uk

The time is coming… Sermon for The First Sunday of Advent 2018

Scripture Readings:

Jeremiah 33:14-18

Luke 3.1-20

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

We may be governed currently by people who think that experts aren’t important, but I love to listen to an expert who knows his stuff and can explain it to the rest of us- whether it’s David Attenborough on wildlife or Brian Cox on astronomy, or Neil Oliver on history. And I do love Melvyn Bragg’s Radio 4 show, In Our Time, with the best people in their field (there was an excellent one on Dietrich Bonhoeffer recently).

A few weeks ago I heard an expert give a fascinating talk.

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