Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Alleluias - 1

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!

But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 40

On this Holy Saturday we find ourselves at the church of St John the Evangelist, located in Moray Street, Wick.

St John’s was built in 1870, to a design by Alexander Ross of Inverness. Although it has never had a large congregation, it was an Incumbency on its own until 1963, when it was linked with the Church of St Peter and The Holy Rood, Thurso.

The building itself is especially attractive, with a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The four light transparent windows, are affectionately known as the “I AM” windows, as they depict the events in our Lord’s life when, as we read in St John’s Gospel Jesus proclaimed, “I am the Good Shepherd”, “I am the Resurrection and Life”, “I am the True Vine” and “I am the Bread of Life”.

These windows are by David Gulland, a former member of the Vestry of St John’s, and a recognised expert in glass.

Last June, Bishop Mark made a journey by train to St Peter's, Thurso, and it is interesting to read his account:

'This week I had a trip to the North of the Diocese and for the first time the event occurred at an hour that allowed me to use the train. I was to preach at the memorial service for Mrs Margretta Hadfield, the widow of John Hadfield former Archdeacon of Caithness. I caught the train from Dingwall and settled back to wait for the coffee trolley, guess what, they don’t have one on the early train. The journey is spectacular and deposited me in Thurso in a better frame of mind than when I have had to drive. The train also stops at some amazing places as it zig zags across the country. We stopped at Alness, Invergordon, Fern, Tain, Ardgay, Culrain , Invershin ,Lairg ,Rogart, Golspie, Dunrobin, Brora, Helmsdale, Kildonan, Kinbrace, Forsdinard, Altnabreac, Scotscalder, Georgemas Junction and finally Thurso. This was a total of three hours and nineteen minutes but it only cost £21.60 return, considerably cheaper than a tank of fuel. If only the train timetables were more flexible across the Northern Network I could make much more use of them.

I arrived in Thurso in a heatwave, yes I know what you in the South are thinking, but it is always sunny in the North! I was also very hungry so I sauntered up to the High Street in purple gear to buy a sausage roll and a bun at Johnston’s Bakery, as usual this caused comment, smiles and hellos. The service was good, the church was well filled and many conversations about the old days ensued.

Afterwards I sauntered back up to the station and caught the train South, I immediately fell asleep and woke as we slowed down at Helmsdale. I got up to get some papers from my bag and panicked, my bag was missing!! Now this was serious enough but I had taken the Old Gold Cope from the Cathedral and with it the Episcopal Morse. (This is a stunning gold plated fastening for the cope and in the middle there is a large cairngorm stone, traditionally this style of fastening is reserved for the Diocesan Bishop). I rushed to get the guard, what was I to do? The guard offered to fill in a report, I was just stunned, who on this line would walk off with someone’s bag, and then the guard remarked, “you do remember the train changed direction of travel at Georgemas Junction?” I had been asleep and there at the opposite end of the train, just where I had put it, my bag!! Foolish foolish bishop.'
His words, not mine! The bishop had forgotten that after Thurso the train travels to Wick before starting the journey back to Inverness!

Well that concludes our Lenten Pilgrimage. I could not possibly tell you the title of the new series of posts which will be starting tomorrow - but you have probably guessed!

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 39

On this Good Friday we find ourselves at the church of St Mary the Virgin, located in the Market Street at Ullapool.

St Mary’s congregation began in 1940 when occasional services were conducted in various locations in Ullapool by the Rector of St James’s, Dingwall. In 1968 regular services began in the Village Hall, continuing until 1976 when the then Itinerant Priest of the Diocese took up residence at number 25 Market Street

A small chapel was created within the house, and dedicated, in 1976, to St Mary the Virgin. Within the chapel the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a gift from the church of St Michael and All Saints in Edinburgh.

In 1979 Episcopalians in the Achiltibuie area were gathered together by the Itinerant Priest and services were conducted each month in various locations in the village, including the Village Hall. This continued until 1998 when the area was taken under the wing of the Ullapool congregation.

O sacred head, sore wounded,
defiled and put to scorn;
O kingly head surrounded
with mocking crown of thorn:
What sorrow mars thy grandeur?
Can death thy bloom deflower?
O countenance whose splendour
the hosts of heaven adore!

Thy beauty, long-desirèd,
hath vanished from our sight;
thy power is all expirèd,
and quenched the light of light.
Ah me! for whom thou diest,
hide not so far thy grace:
show me, O Love most highest,
the brightness of thy face.

I pray thee, Jesus, own me,
me, Shepherd good, for thine;
who to thy fold hast won me,
and fed with truth divine.
Me guilty, me refuse not,
incline thy face to me,
this comfort that I lose not,
on earth to comfort thee.

In thy most bitter passion
my heart to share doth cry,
with thee for my salvation
upon the cross to die.
Ah, keep my heart thus moved
to stand thy cross beneath,
to mourn thee, well-beloved,
yet thank thee for thy death.

My days are few, O fail not,
with thine immortal power,
to hold me that I quail not
in death's most fearful hour;
that I may fight befriended,
and see in my last strife
to me thine arms extended
upon the cross of life.


As is now my custom on Good Friday, this afternoon I sowed eight tomato seeds* between 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm as I meditated on the words of Our Lord as recorded in the gospels:

"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:23-24)

* This year, I am growing Tomato Apero F1 Hybrid - which has received the RHS Award for Garden Merit.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 38

Today we find ourselves at the church of St Peter and The Holy Rood which is located in Sir George's Street in Thurso.

The Church was built in 1884 to a design by Alexander Ross of Inverness (who was responsible for so many other churches in the Diocese). It was opened for worship one year later. The chancel was not added until 1905. A feature of the Church is the ornately carved reredos behind the High Altar which is believed to be of German origin.

There is a green hill far away,
without a city wall,
where the dear Lord was crucified
who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
what pains he had to bear,
but we believe it was for us
he hung and suffered there.

He died that we might be forgiven,
he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heaven,
saved by his precious blood.

There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin,
he only could unlock the gate
of heaven and let us in.

O dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 37

Today we find ourselves at St Andrew's Church, which is located on Manse Street in Tain.

In 1877 Episcopalians in the area began to hold services in Tain Town Hall.

A year later “an iron church, calculated for 70 people,” was built “at a cost of £179:18:00”. It opened on September 17th, 1878. This temporary church was replaced by the present church, built in 1887 by local craftsmen, using local stone, to a design by Ross and Macbeth of Inverness. The ‘temporary’ iron clad church was moved to Brora in Sutherland and is still in use as an Episcopal Church of this Diocese!

The Rectory, which adjoins the church, was built in 1898 to a design by Alexander Ross.

Much of the woodwork in the church is by Robert Thomson of Yorkshire whose characteristic trade-mark is the mouse. The St Andrew’s ‘mice’ have been described as “running everywhere “, and the very observant spotter will notice seven of them altogether, hiding on the Lectern, the Pulpit, the Altar Rail, and on the woodwork behind the high altar itself. (Similar mice can also be spotted in Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin, and in my own home - where there are six of them altogether!)

The nave altar was designed and carved from American oak in 1995 by Peter Bailey, a retired architect who lives on the Isle of Skye. It was a gift to St Andrew’s from Miss Kathleen Montgomery, Organist of the church, in memory of her parents, Canon William Montgomery (Rector from 1935-47) and Mrs Montgomery.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 36

Today we are at the glorious church of St Anne's on the Main Road of Strathpeffer.

This Church was built as a memorial to the late Anne, Duchess of Sutherland, and dedicated to the Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It is of Gothic style, built of freestone from a local quarry. The ceiling is finished in dressed wood panelling. In addition to twenty-one fine stained glass windows, the complete furnishings of the interior, remarkable for their artistic value and refinement, are gifts from friends and visitors.

A fine organ, a peal of eight bells, an altar of sculptured marble are also memorials to well-known families in the neighbourhood.

The altar and reredos are of sculptured marble and depict the Risen Lord with St John and Our Lady, St Mary, with an Angel on either side. The altar panels show the Annunciation, the Visit of the Magi, and The Holy Family. In 1936 the organ was reconstructed as a memorial to the late Sir Arthur Mackenzie of Coul.

A small stone altar taken from St Mary’s Church, Highfield, Muir of Ord, was rededicated to St Mary and stands in the side aisle.

The silver cross and candlesticks for the Lady Chapel were a gift from Mrs B MacDonald, and the weekday wooden cross was made by Mr Cheyne of Evanton. A replacement wooden cross and candlesticks for weekday use on the high altar were a gift from the late Mrs Woolley and were used by her husband who was a Chaplain in the 1939-45 War, during the North Africa Campaign. He was also awarded the V.C. in the First World War.

Drop, drop, slow tears, and bathe those beauteous feet,
which brought from heaven the news and Prince of Peace.

Cease not, wet eyes, his mercies to entreat;
to cry for vengeance sin doth never cease.

In your deep floods drown all my faults and fears;
nor let his eye see sin, but through my tears.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 35

Today we are visiting St Paul's Church in Croachy, Strathnairn.

The congregation in Strathnairn has existed since 1688 and been in continuous existence since the Revolution, though for a long time people were compelled to worship in private dwellings during those troublous times.

A church erected at Knocknacroishaig in 1817, was burnt down in 1859. It was rebuilt by the personal efforts and workmanship of its incumbent, Archdeacon Duncan Mackenzie, affectionately known throughout the area as “Parson Duncan”. After the destruction of the church at Knocknacroishaig open air services were held under nearby Brin Rock. During his time in Strathnairn Parson Duncan farmed at Tullich to supplement his stipend.

The present church was built in 1868 on the site of the old church. The rose window, with scenes from the Life of Christ, is in memory of Parson Duncan, the Reverend Duncan Mackenzie, Archdeacon of Moray and Ross. Parson Duncan’s spurs, and some other artefacts belonging to him, are preserved in the vestry.

From 1919 onwards, St Paul’s was without its own resident priest. During this time monthly services were provided by retired priests, by the Bishop, and by Diocesan Chaplains. This all changed on Christmas Eve 1986, when the Provost of the Cathedral was instituted as Honorary Priest-in-Charge, bringing to an end a 67 year vacancy! From then onwards services were provided on a weekly basis by the clergy of the Cathedral.

History was again made in Strathnairn in 1991 when Canon Mallin took up residence in the village and was installed by the Bishop as “Resident Priest”. St Paul’s rejoiced at having it’s own resident priest again after seventy-two years!

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes Hosanna cry;
O Saviour meek, pursue Thy road
With palms and scattered garments strewed.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die!
O Christ! Thy triumph now begin
Over captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
The wingèd squadrons of the sky
Look down with sad and wondering eyes
To see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;
The Father, on His sapphire throne,
Expects His own anointed Son.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain,
Then take, O God, Thy power, and reign.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

6th Sunday of Lent (Palm Sunday)

Today we celebrate that day when Jesus entered Jerusalem to suffer, die, and rise again for us.

All glory, laud and honour,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Blessed One.


The company of angels
Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply.


The people of the Hebrews
With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.


To Thee, before Thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.


Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.


Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 34

Today we are visiting the church of St John the Baptist at Rothiemurchus, Inverdruie.

St John’s began its life in what was known locally as the ‘Tin Tabernacle’ on a site near the present church. The new church was founded by John Peter Grant, 11th Laird of Rothiemurchus (1860-1927), and designed by Sir Ninian Comper, whose work can be seen elsewhere in the Diocese (in St Michael and All Angels, Inverness, in particular).

The foundation stone was laid in 1913 but building was delayed due to the Great War (1914-18). After the war funds were insufficient to complete the church to its original design and Sir Ninian modified his plans to produce the beautiful little church we see today.

Sir Ninian insisted that there should be no stained glass windows ‘lest they should interfere with the glory of the surrounding trees’, The building was completed in 1930.

The narrow wooden pews were gifts from members of the congregation and friends from far and wide. The Church organ, installed in 1982, is dedicated to the memory of Lady Mary Grant, wife of the founder of St John’s, and of Canon F G Barrett-Ayres, Priest-in-Charge, 1937-45, and his wife, Agnes. The Baldachino (the canopy above the altar) and Altar Frontal were renewed in the same year.

Lift high the cross,
the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore
his sacred Name.

Come, brethren, follow where our Captain trod,
our King victorious, Christ the Son of God. Refrain

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. Refrain

Each newborn soldier of the Crucified
bears on the brow the seal of him who died. Refrain

This is the sign which Satan's legions fear
and angels veil their faces to revere. Refrain

Saved by this Cross whereon their Lord was slain,
the sons of Adam their lost home regain. Refrain

From north and south, from east and west they raise
in growing unison their songs of praise. Refrain

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee. Refrain

Let every race and every language tell
of him who saves our souls from death and hell. Refrain

From farthest regions let their homage bring,
and on his Cross adore their Saviour King. Refrain

Set up thy throne, that earth's despair may cease
beneath the shadow of its healing peace. Refrain

For thy blest Cross which doth for all atone
creation's praises rise before thy throne. Refrain

Friday, 22 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 33

Today we are visiting St Maelrubha's Church in Poolewe.

The old Parish of Gairloch was the last in the Diocese of Ross to lose its Episcopalian priest after the Revolution of 1688, when the Reverend R MacKenzie died in 1710.

In 1950 regular services began in the Gairloch Hotel. In the 1960’s the congregation moved to the Village Hall at Poolewe. When news came that the hall was to be demolished, a building fund for a new church was launched.

Major and Mrs Buchanan MacDonald made a gift of an old byre and soon work began to reconstruct the building to conform to the traditional design of the old Celtic churches. The Church was dedicated in 1965, the first Scottish Episcopal Church to be built in North-West Scotland since the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. The church is dedicated to St Maelrubha (642-722 AD), one of the most important missionaries of the early church in Wester Ross and the north-west Highlands, particularly in the area around Poolewe.

All the furnishings were donated by various benefactors from throughout the UK and other parts of the world. The font is one of a matching pair of holy water stoups which came from the Catholic Apostolic Church in Glasgow, the other being used by the church in Brora. The sanctuary chair once belonged to Bishop Eden.

One feature is a piece of stone with a distinctive Celtic carving, set into the wall beside the window to the left of the altar. It was found amongst the ruins of the old monastery at Applecross and is thought to be a fragment of the Celtic cross erected as a monument to St Maelrubha.

We sing the praise of him who died,
of him who died upon the cross;
the sinner's hope let men deride;
for this we count the world but loss.

Inscribed upon the cross we see
in shining letters, God is love:
he bears our sins upon the tree:
he brings us mercy from above.

The cross: it takes our guilt away,
it holds the fainting spirit up;
it cheers with hope the gloomy day,
and sweetens every bitter cup.

It makes the coward spirit brave,
and nerves the feeble arm for fight;
it takes its terror from the grave,
and gilds the bed of death with light.

The balm of life, the cure of woe,
the measure and the pledge of love,
the sinner's refuge here below,
the angel's theme in heaven above.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 32

Today we are visiting St Columba's Church in Queen Street, Nairn.

In the early days of Scottish Church life, the Dean’s benefice was that of Nairn, and was dedicated to St.Columba, the dedication of the present Church. 1729 saw the death of the last Episcopalian Incumbent before the Revolution, after which occasional services were held in various locations.

A church dedicated to St. Ninian, was built in 1845 at the corner of Lochloy Road. The congregation persistently refused to accept the authority of the Scottish Bishops and continued as one of the ‘English Episcopal Churches’ in Scotland. In 1853 Bishop Eden appointed the Reverend John Comper to gather together a Scottish Episcopalian congregation in the town. They met in an ‘upper room’ until a Church was built in 1857, dedicated to St. Columba.

The two churches continued separately until 1879 when the schismatic church ceased to exist. In 1870 St. Columba’s Church was extended to its present size, and in 1889 the pipe organ was built.

The interior of the Church is rich in stained glass - the rose window is very special, as are the windows by Sir Ninian Comper, (with his “strawberry signature”) one of which is in memory of his father, who established the congregation.

Rock of ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure,
cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Not the labour of my hands
can fulfill thy law's demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Saviour, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyelids close in death,
when I soar through tracts unknown
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 31

Today we are visiting St Margaret's Church in Lossiemouth.

Services began in Lossiemouth in 1889. The Church was built in 1911 with local stone from nearby Birnie and faced with Hopeman sandstone.

The freestanding stone altar was a gift to the church in 1965, while the wooden pulpit was made at nearby Gordonstoun School. The modern stained glass widows behind the altar, which show St Margaret of Scotland and St Luke the Evangelist, were made in the glass studios at Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin.

St Margarets runs a Sunday Club for pre-school age children and welcomes members of all ages along to join in the stories, crafts and worship. Sunday club participate in the 9.30am service and is held either at the back of the church or in the vestry.

Let us now sing our hymn to the Tune: Margaret.

Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown,
when thou camest to earth for me;
but in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
for thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
there is room in my heart for thee.

Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang,
proclaiming thy royal degree;
but of lowly birth didst thou come to earth,
and in great humility. Refrain

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
in the shade of the forest tree;
but thy couch was the sod, O thou Son of God,
in the deserts of Galilee. Refrain

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
that should set thy children free;
but with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
they bore thee to Calvary. Refrain

When the heavens shall ring, and the angels sing,
at thy coming to victory,
let thy voice call me home, saying "Yet there is room,
there is room at my side for thee." Refrain

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 30

Today we are visiting St Gilbert's Lochinver, which meets at the Assynt Centre in Kirk Road.

The congregation in the Lochinver area first came together in 1979 and has continued to meet each month since.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Joseph - Patron of the Universal Church, and we pray for Pope Francis as he inaugurates his Petrine Ministry in Rome.

Joseph was an old man,
and an old man was he,
When he wedded Mary,
in the land of Galilee.

Joseph and Mary walked
through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries,
so red as any blood.

Joseph and Mary walked
through an orchard green,
Where was berries and cherries,
as thick as might be seen.

O then bespoke Mary,
so meek and so mild:
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
for I am with child.’

O then bespoke Joseph,
with words most unkind:
‘Let him pluck thee a cherry
that brought thee with child.’

O then bespoke the babe,
within his mother’s womb:
‘Bow down then the tallest tree,
for my mother to have some.’

Then bowed down the highest tree
unto his mother’s hand;
Then she cried, See, Joseph,
I have cherries at command.

O then bespake Joseph:
‘I have done Mary wrong;
But cheer up, my dearest,
and be not cast down.’

Then Mary plucked a cherry,
as red as the blood,
Then Mary went home
with her heavy load.

Happy Feast!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 29

Today we are visiting St Donnan's Church, in Nostie, close to Kyle of Lochalsh.

St Donnan began in 1943 when regular services began at Achnashellach.

In 1947 monthly celebrations in Kyle began. The little Church at Nostie was built in 1963 by its architect, Eric Stevenson - with his own hands, and the help of his family and the congregation. The interior of the church is simple, reflecting its Celtic roots, the main feature being stones, on the east wall of the church, behind the altar, set in patterns representing the Celtic Saints.

The 10.30 Sunday service is followed by coffee. The congregation of this little faithful church without hot water looks forward to the day when they need to bring along 2 thermos flasks of hot water because of visitor numbers!

Today of course we celebrate the Feast of St Patrick (transferred). I have happy memories of the 11 years spent living on the Emerald Isle - and there is only one possible hymn for us all to sing today!

Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, dear saint of our Isle,
On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;
And now thou art high in the mansions above,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

On Erin's green valleys, on Erin's green valleys,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, thy words were once strong
Against Satan's wiles and an infidel throng;
Not less is thy might where in heaven thou art;
O, come to our aid, in our battle take part.

On Erin's green valleys, on Erin's green valleys,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

In the war against sin, in the fight for the faith,
Dear saint, may thy children resist unto death;
May their strength be in meekness, in penance, their prayer,
Their banner the cross which they glory to bear.

On Erin's green valleys, on Erin's green valleys,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,
Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;
And the fire thou hast kindled shall ever burn bright,
Its warmth undiminished, undying its light.

On Erin's green valleys, on Erin's green valleys,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

Ever bless and defend the sweet land of our birth,
Where the shamrock still blooms as when thou wert on earth,
And our hearts shall yet burn, wherever we roam,
For God and Saint Patrick, and our native home.

On Erin's green valleys, on Erin's green valleys,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

5th Sunday of Lent

Today in the gospel we hear about Jesus meeting the woman who had been caught committing adultery.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

To thee, Redeemer, on thy throne of glory:
lift we our weeping eyes in holy pleadings:
listen, O Jesu, to our supplications.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

O thou chief cornerstone, right hand of the Father:
way of salvation, gate of life celestial:
cleanse thou our sinful souls from all defilement.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

God, we implore thee, in thy glory seated:
bow down and hearken to thy weeping children:
pity and pardon all our grievous trespasses.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Sins oft committed, now we lay before thee:
with true contrition, now no more we veil them:
grant us, Redeemer, loving absolution.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Innocent captive, taken unresisting:
falsely accused, and for us sinners sentenced,
save us, we pray thee, Jesu, our Redeemer.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 28

Today we are visitng St Maelrubha's Lairg Mission - which meets in Lairg Parish Church (Church of Scotland).

Lairg is unusual in the northern Highlands, if not unique, in being a sizeable settlement that is not on the coast. One of the reasons that Lairg is slightly larger than other non-coastal Highland villages is its central location within the County of Sutherland. Having four roads which converge in the village, it used to be known as "The Crossroads of the North". In the 19th century, it was provided with a railway station on what is now the Far North Line. This development means that the north west of Sutherland is now easier to access.

As pants the hart for cooling streams
when heated in the chase,
so longs my soul, O God, for thee
and thy refreshing grace.

For thee, my God, the living God,
my thirsty soul doth pine:
O when shall I behold thy face,
thou Majesty divine?

Why restless, why cast down, my soul?
Hope still, and thou shalt sing
the praise of him who is thy God,
thy health's eternal spring.

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 27

Today we are visiting the Courthill Chapel in Kishorn by Loch Kishorn.

The church was the private Chapel of Courthill House, now a 19th century roof-less mansion on the shores of Loch Kishorn.

It was built in 1901 by Lady Murray of Courthill in memory of her eldest son who was killed during the Boer War. His likeness can be seen in the face of St George in the stained glass window in the sanctuary. The architect of the chapel was Alexander Ross.

The chapel was given to the Scottish Episcopal Church by the Murray family when Lochcarron Estate and Courthill House were sold.

The 10.30 Sunday service is followed by coffee and a time for visitors to explore this little chapel inside a ruined house –well worth a visit if you’ve never been!

Oft in danger, oft in woe,
onward, Christian, onward go:
bear the toil, maintain the strife,
strengthened with the Bread of Life.

Onward Christians, onward go,
join the war and face the foe;
will ye flee in danger's hour?
Know ye not your Captain's power?

Let your drooping hearts be glad:
march in heavenly armor clad:
fight, nor think the battle long,
victory soon shall be your song.

Let not sorrow dim your eye,
soon shall every tear be dry;
let not fears your course impede,
great your strength, if great your need.

Onward then in battle move,
more than conquerors ye shall prove;
though opposed by many a foe,
Christian soldiers, onward go.

I'm sorry sir, but you must have a valid ticket to travel on this bus.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 26

Today we are visiting St Gilbert's Mission in Kinlochbervie. All services take place in the Ceilidh House (next door to the Health Offices).

St Gilberts Mission, Kinlochbervie, (Linked with Brora, Dornoch and Lairg) came into existence through a contact made while visiting someone from Kinlochbervie whilst they were a patient at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

A vibrant, warm, friendly and welcoming congregation which participates with great enthusiasm when they gather from some fair distances for the Eucharist (1982 Liturgy) on the 4th (Sun in summer / Sat in winter) weekend of each month at 6.00 pm.

Without accompaniment they sing a good portion of the liturgy, the hymns, do the reading, prayers of the people and administer the Sacrament to each other gathered as a family around the Table which is placed in the centre of the ‘Ceilidh House’ a community house in Kinlochbervie.

Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King!
The heavens are not too high,
His praise may thither fly,
The earth is not too low,
His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King!

Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King!
The church with psalms must shout,
No door can keep them out;
But, above all, the heart
Must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 25

Today we are visiting Holy Trinity Church in Seafield Avenue, Keith.

Holy Trinity can trace its continuous existence since the Revolution of 1688 when the priest was the Reverend James Thornton, and known to be “a strong Episcopalian”.
On 7 November 1689 he was ‘deprived of his benefice’. Ministry to the faithful continued in a number of locations by many faithful priests over the ensuing years.

It was in 1779 that Episcopalians again found a home in Keith, when a simple two roomed cottage in Bridge Street, New Keith, was used as a meeting house. In 1807 a small chapel was opened in Keith, although it was not consecrated until 1832.

In 1878 a Church Fund was opened and by 1882 the foundation stone of the present church was laid on the site next to the Parsonage in Seafield Road. This church has a unique link with the American Episcopal Church in that, in the Sanctuary is the actual chair, the “Seabury Chair”, on which Bishop Robert KiIgour (Bishop of Aberdeen, 1768-86) sat when consecrating Bishop Samuel Seabury as the first Bishop of the American Episcopal Church.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 24

Today we are visiting the church of St Michael and All Angels in Abban Street, Inverness.

The Church of St Michael and All Angels has its origins on the opposite side of the River Ness on the Maggot Green as the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

In 1877 Canon Edward Medley, who had come to St Andrew’s Cathedral was struck by what he described as “the great respectability of the congregation of the Cathedral”, with “scarcely a poor person” amongst its numbers.

Canon Medley, with Bishop Eden’s encouragement., rented a thatched cottage and started church classes. Soon the adjacent cottage also had to be purchased to accommodate the many children in the area. In 1881 Bishop Eden sanctioned the title of “The Mission Chapel of the Holy Spirit”. A stone church was built in 1886, close to the Maggot Green, in Factory Street.

By the 1890’s the Maggot Green was suffering great problems of dampness caused by the river overflowing its banks. The people around the Church had moved to drier land on the other side of the River and in 1902 it was decided the Church should also move. Between 1903 and 1904 the Church was dismantled stone by stone, moved across the River Ness, where it was rebuilt and dedicated to St Michael and All Angels.

The new High Altar, with its riddel posts topped by gilded angels was designed by Ninian Comper, as is the Font, with its lofty steeple cover.

Between 1923 and 1924 extensive improvements were made to the church under the guidance of Ninian Comper. The magnificent east window of the Archangels and the Gilded Tester, both by Ninian Comper, are memorials to Canon William Lachlan Mackintosh (the first Rector - shown kneeling beside St Gabriel, in the third window).

Sir Ninian Comper’s influence is much in evidence in St Michael’s. His famous ‘signature’ of a strawberry is seen both in the bottom right corner of the right hand window and (unusually) carved on the wooden font cover.

Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels,
thou who hast made us, thou who o'er us rulest,
grant of thy mercy unto us thy servants
steps up to heaven.

Send thine archangel Michael to our succour;
peacemaker blessèd, may he banish from us
striving and hatred, so that for the peaceful
all things may prosper.

Send thine archangel Gabriel, the mighty;
herald of heaven, may he, from us mortals,
spurn the old serpent, watching o'er the temples
where thou art worshiped.

Send thine archangel Raphael, the restorer
of the misguided ways of men who wander,
who at thy bidding strengthens soul and body
with thine anointing.

May the blest mother of our God and Saviour,
may the assembly of the saints in glory,
may the celestial companies of angels
ever assist us.

Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessèd, be thou our preserver;
thine is the glory which the angels worship,
veiling their faces.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 23

Today we are visiting the church of St John the Evangelist in Southside Road, Inverness.

St John’s is the oldest Scottish Episcopalian congregation in Inverness. According to the records, the Reverend Hector Mackenzie, Minister of the Parish from 1683, was ‘a staunch upholder of Episcopacy, and declined to accept the new system (presbyterianism) at the Revolution, but continued to perform his duties as Parish Minister’. On 14 October 1691, Hector Mackenzie, along with his people, were extruded from the Parish Church. Thus began the history of St John’s, although for many years following, they worshipped in secret.

At the end of the hundred years’ persecution which followed the 1688 Revolution, Episcopalians met for a time in a small Meeting House on the Maggot. The present church is the third to bear the name of St John in Inverness. The two previous buildings stood on different sites on Church Street The first, at the northern end of Church Street, was erected in 1801. The second was built on the same side of Church Street, but nearer other end, and was consecrated in 1839. The second church remained until 1903 when the greater part was demolished.

Materials from the old church were used to enlarge the Chapel of St Columba, originally a Mission of the Cathedral, which became the third St John’s in 1903.

The splendid stained glass windows behind the altar came from the second St John’s in Church Street.

St John’s most famous Incumbent was undoubtedly Dean Charles Fyvie, Rector from 1819 to 1850, whose diaries, most of which are in the National Library for Scotland, give a fascinating glimpse into Scottish life in his time.

New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If, on our daily course, our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
As more of heaven in each we see;
Some softening gleam of love and prayer
Shall dawn on every cross and care.

We need not bid, for cloistered cell,
Our neighbor and our words farewell,
Nor strive to find ourselves too high
For sinful man beneath the sky.

The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love,
Fit us for perfect rest above,
And help us, this and every day,
To live more nearly as we pray.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

4th Sunday of Lent

Today in the gospel we hear the parable of the prodigal son.

God of mercy and compassion,
Look with pity upon me,
Father, let me call Thee Father,
'Tis Thy child returns to Thee.
Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins, I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.

By my sins I have deserved
Death and endless misery,
Hell with all its pains and torments,
And for all eternity.

By my sins I have abandoned
Right and claim to heav'n above.
Where the saints rejoice forever
In a boundless sea of love.

See our Saviour, bleeding, dying,
On the cross of Calvary;
To that cross my sins have nail'd Him,
Yet He bleeds and dies for me.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 22

Today we are visiting St Ninian's Church, Saltburn Road, Invergordon.

The history of Invergordon took a dramatic change in direction in 1913 when it became a permanent base for the Royal Navy. The pier, giving a deep-water berth, and the large oil tanks on the high ground above the town, also date from this period.

The revival of the Episcopalian tradition also dates from this period, but whereas the Royal Naval presence in Invergordon came to an end in 1994, St Ninian’s Church in Invergordon continues to thrive.

The last Episcopalian priest of the old tradition died in 1714, and almost exactly two hundred years later, in 1915, a Scottish Episcopalian congregation gathered again in Invergordon. The following year a church, made out of wood and metal, was erected by the Admiralty. It was sanctioned as a Permanent Mission by Bishop MacLean in 1917.

In 1989 a new church was built on the same site, incorporating trusses and the stained glass from the old Naval Church. Many gifts of furnishings were received from churches throughout the British Isles dedicated to St Ninian.

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Saviour’s hand;
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

It will firmly hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers have told the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

It will surely hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the veil.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 21

Today we are visiting Christ Church, which is located in Provost Street in Huntley. We are sure of a warm welcome!

In 1719 the Episcopalian priest in Huntly was ejected from the Parish Church and with many supporters opened a ‘Meeting House’ in “the Raws”.

Soon after, a School for Episcopalian children was established, such was the support in the area.

The Meeting House did not escape the troubles of the ‘45 Rising and, although not burned to the ground, all its contents were destroyed.

During the period of the Penal Laws services were held in secret places, usually in the open air and often at night.

The present Church was built in 1849. On the roof panels are depicted open bibles with a text and in the Chancel the Creed, Lord’s Prayer and Ten Commandments on a gilt background.

God is here! As we his people
meet to offer praise and prayer,
may we find in fuller measure
what it is in Christ we share:
Here, as in the world around us,
all our varied skills and arts
wait the coming of His Spirit
into open minds and hearts

Here are symbols to remind us
of our lifelong need of grace;
here are table, font and pulpit,
here the cross has central place.
Here in honesty of preaching,
here in silence, as in speech,
here in newness and renewal
God the Spirit comes to each.

Here our children find a welcome
in the Shepherd's flock and fold;
here as bread and wine are taken,
Christ sustains us as of old.
Here the servants of the Servant
seek in worship to explore
what it means in daily living
to believe and to adore.

Lord of all, of Church and Kingdom,
in an age of change and doubt,
keep us faithful to the gospel,
help us work your purpose out.
Here, in this day's dedication,
all we have to give, receive;
we who cannot live without you,
we adore you! We believe.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 20

Today we are half way through our Lenten Pilgrimage, and find ourselves at St Columba's Church , High Street, Grantown-on-Spey. The building is shared with St Anne's Roman Catholic Church.

St Columba’s began as a mission from St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness, in 1870 at the instigation of Bishop Robert Eden. It was served from Aberlour, until it gained its independence. From 1930-66 it was run jointly with Rothiemurchus.

The figure of St Cecilia, the Patron Saint of Music, represented in the stained glass window above the organ, is in memory of Mrs Barclay, a former organist of St Columba’s.

Sadly, the two congregations do not join together for the celebration of the Eucharist.

O thou, who at thy Eucharist didst pray
that all thy Church might be for ever one,
grant us at every Eucharist to say
with longing heart and soul, "thy will be done."
O may we all one Bread, one Body be,
through this blest Sacrament of unity.

For all thy Church, O Lord, we intercede;
make thou our sad divisions soon to cease;
draw us the nearer each to each, we plead,
by drawing all to thee, O Prince of Peace;
thus may we all one Bread, one Body be,
through this blest Sacrament of unity.

We pray thee too for wanderers from thy fold;
O bring them back, good Shepherd of the sheep,
back to the faith which saints believed of old,
back to the Church which still that faith doth keep;
soon may we all one Bread, one Body be,
through this blest Sacrament of unity.

So, Lord, at length when sacraments shall cease,
may we be one with all thy Church above,
one with thy saints in one unbroken peace,
one with thy saints in one unbounded love;
more blessèd still, in peace and love to be
one with the Trinity in Unity.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 19

Well, it's back to school! Today we are visiting St Christopher's Chapel at Gordonstoun School.

Gordonstoun School was founded in 1934 by Kurt Hahn, with the aim of encouraging self-reliance and independence. St Christopher's is the main school chapel, built 1965-6 to designs by former pupil Patrick Huggins, to complement the Michael Kirk. Seating is 'gathered about the lectern pulpit and the Communion Table' whose positions emphasise the equal importance of Word and Sacrament, while giving space for orchestral or dramatic performances.

One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new
keep me traveling along with you:
And it's from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

Round the corner of the world I turn,
more and more about the world I learn;
all the new things that I see
you'll be looking at along with me: Refrain

As I travel through the bad and good,
keep me traveling the way I should;
where I see no way to go
you'll be telling me the way, I know: Refrain

Give me courage when the world is rough,
keep me loving though the world is tough;
leap and sing in all I do,
keep me traveling along with you: Refrain

You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me;
ever old and ever new,
keep me traveling along with you: Refrain

Gordonstoun School is very famous - both HRH Prince Philip (The Duke of Edinburgh) and HRH Prince Charles (The Prince of Wales) were pupils there - most impressive!

Here we see Prince Charles on his first day at the school in 1962, being introduced to the Headmaster by Prince Philip. The young Prince would spend plenty of time in St Christopher's Chapel.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 18

Today we are visiting St Ninian's, Glenurquhart, by Loch Meikle.

St Ninian’s is a small, attractive stone building on the shore of Loch Meiklie in Glen Urquhart. The site was given to the Episcopal Church with the churchyard in 1851.

It was consecrated, being free from debt on St Matthew’s Day 1853 by Bishop Robert Eden. The architect was Dr Alexander Ross who was also architect of the Cathedral and of so many churches in the Diocese. The modern east windows were added in 1985.

Set into the altar is a stone carved with a simple cross which came from the now demolished church at Temple in the mouth of Glen Urquhart. Historians now consider that Temple was the most northerly base of St Ninian, so this very early cross may have been seen by our Patron Saint at the end of the 4th century.

Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the Path, and Christ the Prize.

Cast care aside, upon thy Guide,
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life, and Christ its Love.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.

Grateful thanks to the Met Office for providing an improved version of the Weather Widget - it is great!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 17

Today we are in Fortrose on the Black Isle. The church of St Andrew is located on Academy Street.

The congregation in Fortrose has been in continuous existence from the Revolution of 1688. Between the years 1698 and 1700 a Meeting House was set up for Episcopalians in the Chanonry on what is believed to be the site of the present Church Hall.

In 1790 the feu of the land on the Fortrose braehead was granted and the Gothic buttressed and pinnacled church was built in 1827 at a cost of £1100 and dedicated to St Andrew of Scotland.

Substantial alterations and improvements were made between 1888 and 1918, under the direction of architect Alexander Ross of Inverness, when the status of the church was raised to an Incumbency.

One interesting feature of the church, which was consecrated in 1909, is the carved wooden altar, with its reredos which features a carved relief of the Last Supper.

The attractive rose window above the altar shows the Risen Lord surrounded by six Angels. Another interesting feature is the small Baptistry which juts out of the west wall of the church.

Jesus calls us over the tumult
Of our life’s wild, restless, sea;
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, “Christian, follow Me!”

As of old Saint Andrew heard it
By the Galilean lake,
Turned from home and toil and kindred,
Leaving all for Jesus’ sake.

Jesus calls us from the worship
Of the vain world’s golden store,
From each idol that would keep us,
Saying, “Christian, love Me more!”

In our joys and in our sorrows,
Days of toil and hours of ease,
Still He calls, in cares and pleasures,
“Christian, love Me more than these!”

Jesus calls us! By Thy mercies,
Savior may we hear Thy call,
Give our hearts to Thine obedience,
Serve and love Thee best of all.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

3rd Sunday of Lent

Here we see a fig tree - unlike the one we hear about in the gospel today, this one is bearing fruit.

Time for my favourite Lent hymn!

Christian, dost thou see them on the holy ground,
How the troops of Midian prowl and prowl around?
Christian, up and smite them, counting gain but loss,
Smite them by the merit of the holy cross.

Christian, dost thou feel them, how they work within,
Striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin?
Christian, never tremble; never be downcast;
Smite them by the virtue of the Lenten fast.

Christian, dost thou hear them, how they speak thee fair?
“Always fast and vigil? Always watch and prayer?”
Christian, answer boldly: “While I breathe I pray!”
Peace shall follow battle, night shall end in day.

“Well I know thy trouble, O my servant true;
Thou art very weary, I was weary, too;
But that toil shall make thee some day all Mine own,
But the end of sorrow shall be near my throne.”

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 16

Today we are visiting the church of St John the Evangelist in Forres.

The Church was designed in 1841 by Patrick Wilson but very soon afterwards remodelled by Thomas Mackenzie in the Italian style, with its rose window, three - arch loggia at ground level and its impressive four-storey Tuscan Campanile.

Despite its deceiving appearance, it is one of the older buildings of the Scottish Episcopal Church in Scotland.

The most striking features of the interior of the Church are the three wall-sized murals. Two are by the artist Hole and dated 1906 and 1912 while the third is by Haswell Miller. It was created in 1936, after a design by Hole. The imposing mural behind the High Altar is of “The Last Supper” and that in the Baptistry is of Christ Blessing the Children.

Well, today is a real day of jubilation - it is my 60th birthday! Here is a photo I had taken a few days ago to mark the great day.

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother's arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever-joyful hearts
and blessèd peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son, and Him who reigns
with them in highest heaven,
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Happy birthday to me!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 15

Today we are visiting the Gordon Chapel in Fochabers.

We welcome you to the Church of St Elizabeth, Gordon Chapel, in the village of Fochabers, Moray. The Chapel is one of more than three hundred churches in the Scottish Episcopal Church. We hope that you find here something of the love and peace of God. Gordon Chapel is in the United Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness, one of the seven dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church. We greatly value our heritage and maintain a fully catholic sacramental and liturgical life.

We particularly hope that you enjoy looking at the images of our world-famous stained-glass windows designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris and Company. During 2009-2011, Gordon Chapel underwent a major programme of restoration including the re-harling of the entire building as well as a new roof. The stained-glass windows were removed for restoration work and were reinstalled in early summer 2012.

The windows were formally rededicated at a special service on Sunday, 12th August 2012, which is the anniversary of the original consecration of the church in 1834.

Guide me, O thou great redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
Hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer;
Be thou still my strength and shield;
Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell's destruction
Land me safe on Canaan's side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee;
I will ever give to thee.