Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

Welcome to Old High St Stephen's Church, Inverness

Category: Organ

Old High Organ Recital 8 October 2016

The next of this year’s organ recitals takes place on Saturday 8 October at 12 noon, when Stephen Doughty (Director of Music and Organist at St John’s Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh) is going to perform a programme which will include the Prelude and Fugue in E flat minor by J S Bach, the well-known Organ Sonata No. 4 by Mendelssohn and music by Henry Smart, whom we also know as the composer of a much loved hymn.
Stephen is a highly-regarded musician around Scotland and this promises to be a memorable recital.
Click here to download the programme

Launch of Friends of the Old High Church

The Kirk Session of Old High St Stephen’s have recently set up the new Friends of the Old High Church, which will launch on Tuesday 12 January 2016 at 7.30pm within the Old High Church.
Everyone is welcome to attend
We are delighted with this initiative, and look forward to working very closely with the Friends to develop this building, which is so important to the civic, artistic, spiritual and historical life of our city.
You can read the minister’s comments at the launch here.
Here is the press release which went out about the event.

Lovers of the Highland Capital’s historic heritage are invited to gather at the Old High Church, Inverness, on Tuesday evening, to promote its welfare and conservation for present and future generations.
Enthusiasts have already formed a new organisation to raise funds for the ancient building’s improvement, and to advertise it as a local cultural and tourist destination.
The Grade-A listed church stands on the site where St Columba is said to have converted the Pictish King Brude to Christianity in 565.
The new group, Friends of the Old High Church, is to hold an open meeting to launch itself formally and to welcome those wishing to join, with a talk from the Old High’s historian and author of the informative booklet Tales of the Old High, Ross Martin, musical entertainment including a recital on the church’s magnificent Willis Organ, choral items, a virtuoso demonstration by the Handbell Ringers and refreshments.
Friends of the Old High Church is a separate entity from the congregation, and is inviting membership from members of other churches, religions or heritage enthusiasts with no religious affiliation, besides those who worship within its own walls. The site has hosted a place of worship since the Sixth Century.
The group has received the endorsement of minister the Rev Peter Nimmo and his Kirk Session.
Church elder Christina Cameron, who has led the bid to found the group, and who has been elected its first chairperson, said that the oldest church in Inverness was a vital part of the City’s heritage, but like all historic buildings was very costly to maintain.
“It’s a wonderful building which was for centuries the only place of worship in the town, and a focal point of the community,” she added, “but It’s now like an old lady that needs some tender loving care.
“Our group’s mission is to ensure that the building will be secured for future generations and continue to contribute actively to the spiritual, cultural and social life of the city. This is why we invite all who love the long and varied history of Inverness to join.”
Despite an already busy civic workload, the City’s depute provost, Councillor Jean Slater, has volunteered for the time-consuming task of Friends’ secretary.
The group has set up its own website, separate from, but loosely linked to, the official website of Old High St Stephen’s congregation, which worships in the Old High and in its sister church on Southside Road.
While the congregation is responsible for financing the general maintenance of the church, Friends’ members believe there is much a strong, secular supporters’ group might achieve to enhance it.
One of its early priorities is to keep it open for several hours each day between Easter and autumn, to give the City’s many visitors the opportunity to visit it.
In recent years there have been many visitors from all over the world, but regular opening has sometimes been curtailed by lack of volunteers to welcome and supervise them, despite appeals to congregation members.
Ms Cameron and her colleagues are anxious to ensure that tourists from cruise ships visiting Invergordon, as well as those staying locally, should be aware of the church’s significance, and enjoy easy access to it, particularly in view of proposals to turn nearby Inverness Castle into a tourist attraction.
Rev Nimmo said: “If people would like to be involved in activities like being guides in the church, or in stewarding events organised by the Friends, they’ll be very welcome.”
Among more mundane projects the group might hope in time to fund is much-needed improvement of the building’s toilet facilities – there is at present only one toilet, in the vestry.
Tuesday’s meeting begins at 7.30pm.
Historical note: St Michael’s Mount, the little prominence overlooking the River Ness on which the old High Church stands, may arguably be described as the cradle of Christianity in the Northern Highlands. Here, according to local tradition, the pioneering Irish missionary St Columba first preached in 565, and converted the Pictish King Brude to Christianity. There has been a church on the site since shortly after that date. Much of present building dates largely to 1772, although the tower is between four and six centuries old.

Organist sought for Highland's best organ (readvertised)

We are currently re-advertising for the post of organist and choir director for the Old High Church.
Here is the advert and the job description for the post.


We are looking for someone to play the finest organ in the Highlands

Old High St Stephen’s congregation are seeking an organist and choir director for the Old High Church, Inverness.
The Old High is the original parish church of the city of Inverness. We have a fine Willis organ, beautifully restored in 2010, which is often used for concerts (our new organist can help develop this aspect of our music).
We have a small but enthusiastic choir. Our worship is formal, but music is a blend of old and new.
Our vision for worship at the Old High is to further develop our tradition of formal worship whilst being open to fresh ideas.
If you would like to know more, our minister would be happy to speak to you: The Rev Peter W Nimmo 01463 250 802 peternimmo@minister.com

The Old High Church, Church Street, Inverness
Job Description

Old High St Stephen’s is a congregation of the Church of Scotland with two places of worship: the Old High in the city centre and St Stephen’s in Southside Road. They have shared a minister since 1975, but have been an united congregation for more than ten years under a single Kirk Session, using historic churches as places of worship.
Church services are held every Sunday at 11.15am in the Old High, except for a small number of ‘congregational services’ when only one service is held that morning in one of our buildings. On these Sundays, the two choirs combine to lead the praise.
The Old High Church is on a site that goes back to Celtic times. Although there are some mediaeval parts of the building, today’s distinctive sanctuary dates from the 18th century.
It is a venue for significant civic and community occasions, such as the recent World War I Commemoration, and the annual Kirking of the Council.
The fine two-manual and pedal Willis organ was beautifully restored to its original condition in 2010, and there is a small enthusiastic SATB choir.
Duties would include:
• Leading worship with the organ and the choir at Sunday services and other services set by the Kirk Session.
• Developing the musical life of the choir and congregation, including the introduction of new choir repertoire and hymns.
• Leading regular choir practices.
• Helping to develop the concerts and other musical activities at the Old High.
• Playing for weddings and funerals (if available).
• Developing the important musical link with St Stephen’s.
• It is hoped the successful applicant might participate in the Worship Action Team.
Qualifications should include:
• A sound organ technique.
• Ability to lead a choir and bring out the musical talents of the congregation.
• Knowledge of, and a sympathetic and sensitive approach to, church music, worship and the Christian faith.
There will be a contract of employment based on the Church of Scotland’s standard organist contract.
This post requires PVG clearance.
For more information, please contact:
Rev Peter W Nimmo
Telephone 01463 250 802
Email: peternimmo(a)minister.com (replace (a) with @)
or the secretary to the selection committee, Mrs Margaret Sutherland (Depute Session Clerk), telephone 01463 235 324.
Applications, including a CV and details of two referees, should be sent to Mr Nimmo, either by email or by post to:
Rev Peter W Nimmo
24 Damfield Road
Inverness IV2 3HU

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