Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Forests of Inverness - 5

There are some glorious walks on Reelig Glen Forest. The paths and bridges are well-maintained.

The name Reelig is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word for "burial ground" - a possible reference to a site in nearby Reelig House. At the top end of the forest trail, look out for the 19th century stone bridge and grotto which were based on works admired by the owner while travelling on the continent.

The stone bridge is noted for its very shallow arch.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Forests of Inverness - 4

We are now visiting Reelig Glen. Reelig Glen Wood is a mixture of old conifer and broadleaved trees, set in a narrow, steep-sided glen with the Moniack Burn running through its midst.

This old policy woodland had been in the same family of Frasers for some 500 years until it was sold to the Forestry Commission in 1949. The present character of Reelig Glen owes much to James Baillie Fraser (1783 - 1856) who planted many of the trees which are found here today.

Approximately 10 minutes from Inverness, take the A862 west towards Beauly, and after eight miles, turn left onto a minor road signposted to Reelig and Moniack. Carry straight on for about one mile to reach the small car park.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Forests of Inverness - 3

Ord Hill Forest is a very popular location for orienteering.

Here we see the orienteering map for the site.

I have not tried the course myself. It would probably take me several hours to complete!

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Forests of Inverness - 2

Here we have a glorious view of Inverness (photo not taken in January!) as seen from Ord Hill Forest. Prominent in the photo is the magnificent Kessock Bridge.

The Kessock Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge across the Beauly Firth, an inlet of the Moray Firth, between the village of North Kessock and the city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

The bridge has a total length of 1,056 metres (3,465 feet) with a main span of 240 metres (787 feet). Designed by German engineer Hellmut Homberg it is similar to a bridge across the Rhine in Düsseldorf. The Beauly Firth is a navigable waterway and hence the bridge is raised high over sea level. The four bridge towers dominate the Inverness skyline, especially at night when they are lit.

The bridge carries the A9 trunk road north from Inverness to the Black Isle. It is the southernmost of the "Three Firths" crossings (Beauly, Cromarty and Dornoch) which has transformed road transport in the Highlands. It has proved a key factor in the growth of the city of Inverness.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today we hear about Jesus worshipping in the synagogue at Nazareth on the sabbath day.

Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression and rule in equity.

He comes in succor speedy to those who suffer wrong;
To help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong;
To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
Whose souls, condemned and dying, were precious in His sight.

He shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth;
Love, joy, and hope, like flowers, spring in His path to birth.
Before Him, on the mountains, shall peace, the herald, go,
And righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow.

Arabia’s desert ranger to Him shall bow the knee;
The Ethiopian stranger His glory come to see;
With offerings of devotion ships from the isles shall meet,
To pour the wealth of oceans in tribute at His feet.

Kings shall fall down before Him, and gold and incense bring;
All nations shall adore Him, His praise all people sing;
To Him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend;
His kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end:

O’er every foe victorious, He on His throne shall rest;
From age to age more glorious, all blessing and all blest.
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His Name shall stand forever, His Name to us is Love.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Forests of Inverness - 1

We are going to visit some of the forests around Inverness. Our first post of call is Ord Hill Forest.

Ord Hill is an attractive wooded hillside lying just north of Inverness across the Kessock Bridge.

The main feature of the hill is a vitrified Iron Age Fort, which is particularly interesting because of its extent and because of the views it commands across the Moray Firth to Inverness and the Grampian Hills beyond.

Ord means a 'rounded hill' in Gaelic. Many people have walked these paths before you - this large Iron Age fort has stood watch for over 2,000 years. Ord Hill would have been an impressive sight once. Its stout stone walls and wooden palisade signifying strength and power.

If you are lucky, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the bottle nosed dolphins which are regularly seen in the waters of the inner Moray Firth.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 8

For our final stop during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we find ourselves at Inverness Methodist Church.

The attractive buildings put up on the Inverness riverside during the 1960's. They replaced a former building in Union Street that had been destroyed by fire on 7th December 1961.

This had originally been a music hall. It had become the Methodist Church in the 1920's when their earlier premises at the junction of Inglis Street and Academy Street had become unable to hold all those attending services.

The precise origins of Methodism in Inverness are lost in the mists of time. Undoubtedly the visits of John Wesley to the city were of great importance. His first visit was in June 1764. He was prevented from preaching outdoors because of the rain but was invited to preach in the High Kirk.

When he arrived he found it full. He remarked in his Journal that he, 'seldom found a greater liberty of spirit.' Impressed by his visit he also wrote, 'Were it only for this day, I should not have regretted the riding an hundred miles'. This sentence is reproduced in the Wesley Memorial Window in the present church.

Wesley was complimentary about Inverness. At the end of his visit he said that it had, 'all things needful for life and goodliness.' He described the people as being of a friendly, courteous behaviour.

your love reaches out to all mankind,
and you have commanded us to follow your Son our Saviour:
Give us grace to do your will,
and to share in your Church#s mission
to proclaim the gospel of your love to all the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God,
you caused the light of the gospel
to shine throughout the world
through the preaching of your servant Saint Paul:
Grant that we who celebrate his wonderful conversion
may follow him in bearing witness to your truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Of all the churches, it is the Methodists who are most fond of hymn singing. Perhaps I should join them!

1 Born in song!
God's people have always been singing.
Born in song!
Hearts and voices raised.
So today we worship together;
God alone is worthy to be praised.

2 Praise to God!
Sing praise to the one who has made us.
Praise to God
whose image we bear.
Heaven and earth are full of God's glory;
let creation praise God everywhere.

3 Christ is king!
He left all the glory of heaven.
Christ is king!
Born to share in our pain;
crucified, for sinners atoning,
risen, exalted, soon to come again.

4 Sing the song!
God's Spirit is poured out among us.
Sing the song!
We're created anew.
Every member part of the Body;
given God's power, God's will to seek and do.

5 Tell the world!
All power to Jesus is given.
Tell the world!
He is with us always.
Spread the word, that all may receive him;
every tongue confess and sing his praise.

6 Then the end!
Christ Jesus shall reign in his glory.
Then the end
of all earthly days.
Yet above the song will continue;
all his people still shall sing his praise.

Happy Feast!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 7

Today we are visiting Inverness Baptist Church.

Inverness Baptist Church is located in the centre of the city of Inverness on Castle Street (just below the castle) and on the East Bank of the River Ness.

Our Services on Sunday take place at 11.00 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. We have a creche, Sunday School and Bible Class in the morning and there is a time of informal fellowship after the morning service in the large hall.

We would love if you could join us as we worship the Lord together.

Almighty God,
who anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit
and revealed him as your beloved Son:
Inspire us, your children,
who are born of water and the Spirit,
to surrender our lives to your service,
that we may rejoice to be called sons of God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Time for our hymn:

Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?


Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will talk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.


Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.


At the smiling of the river,
Mirror of the Saviour’s face,
Saints, whom death will never sever,
Lift their songs of saving grace.


Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 6

Today we are visiting St Mary in the Fields, Culloden. This building belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church (Anglican).

The congregation began in 1973, worshipping in various locations over the years. A site for a new church was purchased at the beginning of 1989, near the Culloden Centre, and building on the first phase - the hall/church, kitchen and vestry - began in September 1992. The work was completed ahead of schedule and regular services began the following year.

Eucharist Sun 9.45am.

Revds Alan and Carol Price

you have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts,
and called us to the glorious liberty of your children:
Give us grace to use our freedom in your service,
and in our lives to follow in the footsteps
of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and ever. Amen.

Let us sing a hymn!

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.

O let me feel Thee near me! The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me, around me and within;
But Jesus, draw Thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin.

O let me hear Thee speaking in accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self will.
O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen, Thou Guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be.
And Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow, my Master and my Friend.

O let me see Thy footprints, and in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly is in Thy strength alone.
O guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end;
And then in Heaven receive me, my Saviour and my Friend.

I have requested that this hymn be sung at my Funeral (no date available, yet!) - but to the Tune Wolvercote, not Hatherop Castle as used in this recording.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 5

The nearest church to my house is Westhill Free Church - indeed I can almost see it from my study window. Services are held at 11.00 am and 6.30 pm on Sundays. I often wondered what went on in the church during the week, because it always seems busy - and then I found out, it is a Seminary. Little did I know that there was a Major Seminary more or less on my own doorstep!

Here are details of the courses taught at the Seminary:

Greek & New Testament

This course aims to give the student a knowledge of basic New Testament Greek language, using J.G. Machen's N.T. Grammar. Also a beginning to N.T. theology and exegesis is made. These latter are based on John 1:1-18.

New Testament 1
This course builds upon what was learned before, extending the knowledge of the language (chs. 14-22 in Gresham Machen), and focusing on Mark chapters 13-16 for exegesis. The textbook for New Testament theology is by Leon Morris.

New Testament 2
In this course attention is given to further development in the Greek language, (chapters 23-33 in Machen), and to exegesis (Romans chapters 3-11). Several points in Intermediate Greek (Department booklet) and also contemporary issues in New Testament theology are addressed in lectures. At the end of the course guidance is given regarding the use of New Testament Greek in the Ministry.

Students are set doctrinal and exegetical essays, and are encouraged to read widely. Lecture material refers to relevant books and articles. A study guide will be issued to all students on commencement of their first year and it will be expected that they will, as far as possible, adhere to the requirements of this schedule, which includes the submission of exercises to the lecturer for marking. Extra help with Greek grammar and language may be arranged with the lecturer should the student feel his need for this.

Examinations and Essays
Each student will be required to sit a mid-session examination in December and an end of session examination at the end of June. At least two essays will be set during each year on subjects related to the relevant year of the course.

Hebrew & Old Testament

Year 1 – Old Testament Introduction
This course of 65 lectures is divided into four modules; The Pentateuch, The Historical Books, The Poetic Books, The Prophetic Books. The books of the Old Testament are studied from four viewpoints; Historical Analysis, Literary Analysis, Thematic Analysis, New Testament Analysis.

Year 2 – Old Testament Language
This course is based on "Biblical Hebrew" by Kittel, Hoffer and Wright. The lectures are recorded onto CD using PowerPoint and Macromedia Flash multimedia software.

Year 3 – Old Testament Preaching
This course of 60 lectures begins with a number of lectures which consider the basic hermeneutical principles in preaching from the Old Testament. These principles are then applied in 50 exegetical lectures upon Old Testament passages. The main theme of these will be "Preaching Christ from the Old Testament".

Church History & Church Principles

First Session
Curriculum for Junior Class — Period c 30 AD to 1560 (Scottish Reformation). Approximately 30 Lectures will he given covering the following topics:

(a) Period c.30 AD to c.800 ( Early Church to Rise of Papacy). Apostolic/Post-Apostolic Period. Sources of Information. Apostolic Fathers & Apologists Writings (Irenaeus of Lyons, Hyppolytus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen). Early Heresies. Collation of the New Testament Canon. The Trinitarian Controversy. Person of Christ. Nicene Creed. Deity & Procession of the Holy Spirit. The Three Cappadocian Fathers. Council of Constantinople – The 'Filioque Clause'. Augustine of Hippo – Conflict with Pelagianism. Celibacy & Monastic Development. Christianity in Britain (Ninian). Emergence of Celtic Church (Patrick, Columba, Aiden). Conflict with Roman Church and Papal Claims. Synod of Whitby. Rise of Papacy. Gregory I – his achievements & writings. Papacy from Gregory I to Leo III (604-800). Conflict with secular rulers. Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Leo III (800). Reasons for rise of Papacy (political, religious, great forgeries – Apostolic Canons, Donation of Constantine, Decretals of Popes).

(b) Medieval Period (c.800 – c.1400). Doctrinal Controversies ( Monothelite, Adoptionist, Eucharistic, Images). Great Schism (Eastern Orthodox v. Western Catholic). Medieval Augustinians (Anselm, Bradwardine). Anselm's Theology (Doctrines of Existence of God, Sin, Freedom of the Will, The Atonement Cur Dens Homo. Bradwardine & his Apology for the Doctrines of Grace 'Of the Cause of God Against Pelagius'. Medieval Dissent and its Suppression. Papal Crusades. The Waldensians. Thomas Aquinas & Scholasticism. Aquinas’ Summa Theologica basic to Romanist Theology.

(c) Pre-Reformation and Reformation Period (c.1400 – 1560). Corruption of the Church. Attempts at Reform. Conciliarism (Councils of Pisa 1409, Constance 1414–18, Basle 1431–49) Reasons for failure. Mystic Pietism (de Groote, a Kempis). Attempts to reform doctrine & practice ( John Wycliffe & Lollardy. John Huss & Hussite Movement – theological significance). Early 16th Century Reformation Movement ( Erasmus & Greek N.T.; Luther, Melancthon, Zwingli etc.) John Calvin & Genevan Reformation. Reformation in England. The Scottish Reformation (Hamilton, Wishart, Knox). 1560 Triumph of Scottish Reformation (Scots Confession, First Book of Discipline, Act Abolishing Papal Supremacy).

Second Session
Curriculum for Senior Class — Period c.1560 – 2000.
Approximately 30 Lectures (including 7 on Church Principles) will be given covering the following topics:

(a) Post Reformation Period (1560-1600) including Knox's Liturgy and First & Second Books of Discipline– Andrew Melville and his reforms – Presbyterianism v Episcopacy – Black Acts 1584. Notable Revival (John Davidson of Prestonpans) – Counter Reformation in Scotland.

(b) Seventeenth Century. Synod of Dort & Arminianism 1618-19 & its influence upon Scotland. Scottish Conflict with Episcopacy – Welsh of Ayr – Bruce of St.Giles – David Dickson & the 1625 Stewarton Revival– John Livingston & the 1630 Kirk of Shotts Revival – 1638 National Covenant & 1643 Solemn League & Covenant – Westminster Assembly – Notable Participants – Rutherford, Gillespie etc. Church/State Relationships. Puritan Movement & its Influence. Covenanting Struggles. 1690 Revolution Settlement& Triumph of Presbyterianism.

(c) Eighteenth Century. Rise of Deism – Evangelical Opposition – Halliburton, Boston of Ettrick etc. – The Marrow Controversy – Intrusionism – 1733 Original Seccession – Ebenezer Erskine – Revivals – Moderatism

(d) Nineteenth Century – Evangelical Revival in Established Church – 1833 Veto Act – 10 Years' Conflict– 1843 Disruption. Free Church Principles: Headship of Christ – Spiritual Independence – Establishment Principle & Voluntaryism. Free Church Decline – Rise of Liberalism – Theological changes – Arminianism– Creedal Subscription – Doctrines of Scripture, the Atonement etc.– Purity of Worship – Church Union Controversies – Union of Secession Churches – 1892 Declaratory Act.

(e) Twentieth Century. 1900 Crisis & Union between F.C. majority and U.P. Church forming United Free Church. 1904 House of Lords Decision. 1905 Declaratory Act rescinded. 1929 Union of U.F. majority& Church of Scotland – Declaratory Articles of uniting church. Free Church division of 2000.


These are covered over the two sessions of the Church History course.

(a) The Church
What it is and where it is to be found — The Head of the Church — The Marks of the Church — The Purpose of the Church — The Headship of Christ over Nations — Relationship between Church and State — The Antichrist

(b) Creeds and Confessions
General Considerations — Westminster Confession and Subscription

(c) Worship
Regulative Principle — Singing of Psalms (General) — Singing of Psalms (Scriptural basis) — Instrumental Music — Postures in Worship — Collections and Offerings — Prayer, Reading of Word and Benediction

(d) Sacraments
The Sacraments — Baptism (Mode and Meaning) — Baptism (Subjects) — Baptism (Responsibilities) — Lord's Supper (Institution and Benefits) — Lord's Supper (Partaking)

(e) Offices in the Church
The Office of Pastor — The Office of Ruling Elder (Calling) — The Office of Ruling Elder (Qualifications) — The Office of Ruling Elder (Responsibilities) — The Office of Ruling Elder (Respect concerning) — The Office of Deacon

(f) Church Government
Forms of Church Government

(g) Practice of the Free Church in her Several Courts
Introduction — Election of minister — Church meetings — Responsibilities of Courts — Presbytery — Synod and Assembly — Discipline

This is certainly a very rigorous training course! Let us pray for all the staff and students at the Seminary.

Lord God our Father
through our Saviour Jesus Christ
you have assured mankind of eternal life,
and in baptism have made us one with him:
Deliver us from the death of sin,
and raise us to new life in your love,
in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 4

Just opposite Smithton Free Church we find another new building, this time it is St Columba's Roman Catholic Church.

Inverness, capital of the Highlands of Scotland, is one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe. The optimism and vigour of the city is well reflected in the enthusiasm and liveliness of the members of the young Catholic community of Culloden, on the Eastern outskirts of Inverness. Their new church of St Columba, is the flowering of many years of hoping and praying, of fellowship and fund-raising. It is the realisation of the vision which led Canon Duncan Stone RIP, thirty five years ago, to purchase an elevated site overlooking the beautiful Moray Firth and the mountains beyond.

For people in Scotland, and for emigré Scots world-wide, the name Culloden resonates with the tears and sadness of the conflicts of the mid-eighteenth century. The moorland site of the Battle of Culloden (1746) lies only a mile from our new church. But the rivalries and bitterness are a distant memory: today there is co-operation and open friendliness.

After years of worshipping in the local primary school, the parishioners at St Columba’s now have Mass in their own church building which was consecrated on All Saints' Day 2008.

Mass is celebrated in the church three times a week:

Sundays at 9.30 am
Wednesdays at 11.00 am followed by Exposition
Thursdays at 7.30 pm

Almighty and eternal God,
you have called us to be your people:
Bring us to closer unity and fellowship
with you and one another,
so that every member of your Church
may serve you in holiness and truth;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us now sing a hymn which is very popular with the people of St Columba's:

I watch the sunrise lighting the sky,
Casting its shadows near.
And on this morning bright though it be,
I feel those shadows near me.

But you are always close to me
Following all my ways.
May I be always close to you
Following all your ways, Lord.

I watch the sunlight shine through the clouds,
Warming the earth below.
And at the mid-day, life seems to say:
I feel your brightness near me.
For you are always . . .

I watch the sunset fading away,
Lighting the clouds with sleep.
And as the evening closes its eyes,
I feel your presence near me.
For you are always . . .

I watch the moonlight guarding the night,
Waiting till morning comes.
The air is silent, earth is at rest
Only your peace is near me.
Yes, you are always...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 3

Today we are visiting Smithton Free Church which is located close to Culloden Forest on the east side of the City of Inverness. The building has been recently expanded in order to cope with a growing congregation. Last Sunday new elders and deacons were ordained during the Morning Service. The new building can accommodate up to 400 people.

When most people think of worship, they think of a service on a Sunday morning. However, worship is not just seen in corporate worship services but also in the way we live our lives to the glory of God. Romans 12:1 tells us that we must offer our bodies as a “living sacrifice”. While we believe worship services are very important to the life of Christians, worship must also take place Monday-Saturday. Worship is essentially us giving glory to God, our Creator, Saviour, and Sustainer.

Our worship services are based on the Bible; we read from it, preach from it and even sing from it. We sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and are led by a precentor, who is often accompanied by a piano. The other element of our services is prayer. Before we enter the service, there is an opportunity to give back to God part of what he has given to us by means of a monetary offering. These offerings are presented to God as an act of worship by the minister in prayer.

Worship Services
Sundays — 11:00am (with créche) & 6:00pm
Wednesday Prayer Meeting — 7:30pm (fortnightly)

Heavenly Father,
you have called us in the body of your Son Jesus Christ
to continue his work of reconciliation
and to reveal you to mankind:
Forgive us the sins which tear us apart;
give us courage to overcome our fears
and to seek that unity
in truth, holiness and love
which is your gift and your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

So now to our hymn.

Thy hand, O God, has guided
thy flock, from age to age;
the wondrous tale is written,
full clear, on every page;
thy people owned thy goodness,
and we their deeds record;
and both of this bear witness;
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Thy heralds brought glad tidings
to greatest as to least;
they bade men rise, and hasten
to share the great King's feast;
and this was all their teaching,
in every deed and word,
to all alike proclaiming
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

When shadows thick were falling,
and all seemed sunk in night,
thou, Lord, didst send thy servants,
thy chosen sons of light.
On them and on thy people
thy plenteous grace was poured,
and this was still their message,
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Through many a day of darkness,
through many a scene of strife,
the faithful few fought bravely,
to guard the nation's life.
Their gospel of redemption,
sin pardoned, man restored,
was all in this enfolded:
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

And we, shall we be faithless?
shall hearts fail, hands hang down?
shall we evade the conflict,
and cast away our crown?
Not so: in God's deep counsels
some better thing is stored;
we will maintain, unflinching,
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Thy mercy will not fail us,
nor leave thy work undone;
with thy right hand to help us,
thy victory shall be won;
and then, by all creation,
thy name shall be adored,
and this shall be their anthem:
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 2

Today we visit the Barn Church in Culloden. This is part of the Church of Scotland and is quite close to where I live.

In centuries past, Culloden belonged to the Parish of the East Church of Inverness. There was a small village at Balloch, but Culloden itself consisted only of Culloden House and the buildings connected with the Forbes Estate. Culloden House may have been used by the young pretender in 1746, but it was destroyed by fire, and later rebuilt. The only structures in Culloden itself, which date before the battle, are therefore the dovecote, the ruined stables ( which are now flats) and the barn.

The Barn was built in 1729 as a tithe barn for The Culloden Estate. The date carved in the skewputt of the gable above the stair. It was probably built by the direction of Duncan Forbes, who was the Lord President at the time of the '45, the most illustrious of the Lairds of Culloden. The actual work would have been carried out by tenants of the estate houses, and the excellent condition of the masonry today bears testimony to the quality of their work. An outside stair leads to a window which was once the entrance to the hay loft. Downstairs the original doors were directly opposite each other on the long walls. As they were too narrow for the horse & cart, it is believed that their real purpose was for the winnowing of grain. On a windy day, all the doors would be opened, and the grain stored in the loft would be poured through the trap. The chaff and lights would be carried away by the wind, while the good grain was bagged & carted to the meal mill at Milton of Culloden. It is interesting that the 1st Psalm uses the image of winnowing to draw a sharp distinction between the good & evil ways. In its very conception the Barn was a parable!

From the earliest times, the barn may have been used as a place for worship. It is said that the Moravian covenanters used the buildings for their services. Though forbidden by law, these champions of Presbyterianism gathered to hear the Gospel in secret places all over the North.

The Barn fell into disuse around 1860, and it was about this time that regular services were first held here. Lancet windows were fitted to make the building look more like a Kirk. The congregation were the Forbes family and their staff, with the head gardener acting as presenter. For a century the Barn was used in this way as a mission station under the auspices of the East Church. The first Sunday School was started in around 1920. Upstairs, the loft served as the estate joiners workshop, and later it was used by the local Scouts.

The new parish of Culloden, which includes Cradlehall, Smithton, Resaurie and Balloch, was created on 1st January 1975 as a Church Extension Charge, to serve the large new housing estates which were being built on the old Forbes lands. The first minister was called in 1977. Extensive renovations of the Old Barn were competed in the same year. The hay-loft was removed, and the result was a very beautiful old church. The “New” Barn, an attractive modern hall-church built onto the old structure was opened on August 26th 1982. The congregation was granted Full Status by the General Assembly of 1989.

So for 140 years, the Barn has been a centre for preaching the Word of God. Today, a lively and bustling fellowship inhabits these walls. We invite you to come & enjoy our historic building, but also to share in the faith which has shaped our history and our lives. God gave his only Son for us, so that believing in Him we can know life, a rich, eternal life. These ancient stones stand as a monument to a far more ancient truth.

Almighty Father,
whose blessed Son before his passion
prayed for his disciples that they might be one,
as you and he are one:
Grant that you Church,
being bound together in love and obedience to you,
may be united in one body by the one Spirit,
that the world may believe in him whom you have sent,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns
with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Christian Unity Octave - 1

We start our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at the Old High Church in Inverness.

The Old High Church is the oldest Church in Inverness - the Town Church of Inverness. It stands on the banks of the River Ness, on the ancient hill known as St Michael’s Mount.

The Old High Church is in Church Street, next to Leakey’s Bookshop. Parking is available at the Rose Street Multi-storey car park, which is free on a Sunday.

This church is part of the Church of Scotland, and it is called the Old High because of its age and location on St Michael's Mount. Worship is not 'High Church' in the sense that many readers of this blog might understand the term.

Heavenly Father,
your Son our Lord Jesus Christ said to his apostles,
Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you:
Regard not our sins but the faith of your Church,
and grant it that peace and unity
which is agreeable to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 24

Here we see the crib inside my conservatory. The crib and Christmas decorations remain in place until Candlemas (2 February), but this is our final posting of Christmas Carols. I have chosen a lovely carol which looks beyond Christmas to Passiontide and Easter.

Sing lullaby, lullaby baby, now reclining,
Hush do not wake the infant king,
Angels are watching, stars are shining
Over the place where he is lying,
Sing lullaby.

Sing lullaby, lullaby baby, now asleeping,
Hush do not wake the infant King,
Soon will come sorrows with the morning
Soon will come bitter grief and weeping,
Sing lullaby.

Sing lullaby, lullaby baby, now a-dozing,
Hush do not wake the infant King,
Soon comes the Cross, the nails, the piercing,
Then in the grave, a last resposing,
Sing lullaby.

Sing lullaby, lullaby baby, now a-waking,
Hush do not wake the infant King,
Dreaming of Easter, gladsome morning,
Conquering death, its bondage breaking.
Sing lullaby.

Tomorrow sees the start of the Week (Octave) of Prayer for Christian Unity. We shall be visiting various churches in Inverness for our prayers.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 23

Here we see the Christmas Tree - and the woodburning stove giving out plenty of heat!

What sweeter music can we bring
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!

Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honour to this day
That sees December turned to May.

Why does the chilling winter's morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like a meadow newly shorn
Thus on the sudden? Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:

'Tis he is born. whose quickening birth
Gives life and lustre, public mirth,
To heaven and the under-earth.

We see him come, and know him ours,
Who, with his sunshine and his showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome him, to welcome him.

The nobler part of all the house here, is the heart.
Which we will give him: and bequeath
This holly, and this ivy wreath.
To do him honour. who's our King,
And Lord of all this revelling.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 22

I did promise that I would show a few photos of my conservatory decorated for the Christmas Festival - well, here is the Christmas Tree! It was cut down on the Black Isle on 20 December and is a very fine specimen. It is decorated with 200 red lights.

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 21

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;


Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love.

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance.


In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance.


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 20

1. Rejoice and be merry
in songs and in mirth!
O praise our Redeemer;
all mortals on earth!
For this is the birthday
of Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

2. A heavenly vision
Appeared in the sky;
Vast numbers of angels
The shepherds did spy,
Proclaiming the birthday of
Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

3. Likewise a bright star
In the sky did appear,
Which led the wise men
From the East to draw near;
They found the Messiah,
Sweet Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

4. And when they were come,
they their treasures unfold,
And unto him offered
Myrrh, incense and gold.
So blessed for ever
Be Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 19

The first Nowell the angel did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields as they lay, keeping their sheep,
on a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the east beyond them far,
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night. Refrain

And by the light of that same star
three wise men came from country far;
to seek for a king was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went. Refrain

This star drew nigh to the northwest,
o'er Bethlehem it took its rest,
and there it did both stop and stay
right over the place where Jesus lay. Refrain

Then entered in those wise men three
full reverently upon their knee,
and offered there in his presence
their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense. Refrain

Then let us all with one accord
sing praises to our heavenly Lord;
that hath made heaven and earth of nought,
and with his blood mankind hath bought. Refrain

Friday, 11 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 18

1. Lo! the pilgrim magi
Leave their royal halls,
And with eager footsteps
Speed to Bethlehem's walls;
As they onward journey,
Faith, which firmly rests,
Built on hope unswerving,
Triumphs in their breasts.

2. O what joy and gladness
Filled each heart, from far
When, to guide their footsteps,
Shone that radiant star;
O'er that home so holy,
Pouring down its ray,
Where the cradled infant
With his mother lay.

3. Costly pomp and splendour
Earthly kings array;
He, a mightier Monarch,
Hath a nobler sway;
Straw may be his pallet,
Mean his garb may be,
Yet with power transcendent
He all hearts can free.

4. At his crib they worship,
Kneeling on the floor,
And their God there present,
In that Babe adore;
To our God and Saviour
We, as Gentiles true,
Give our heart o'er flowing,
Give our tribute due.

5. Bringing of our substance,
Gold unto our King;
Pure and chastened bodies
To our Christ we bring;
Unto him, like incense,
Vow and prayer address;
So with meetest offerings,
Him our God confess.

6. Glory to the Father,
Fount of Life alone;
Who unto the Gentiles,
Made his glory known.
Equal praise and glory,
Blessèd Son, to thee,
And to thee, Blest Spirit,
Evermore shall be. Amen.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 17

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining,
low lies his head with the beasts of the stall;
angels adore him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

Shall we then yield him, in costly devotion,
odors of Edom, and offerings divine,
gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
vainly with gifts would his favor secure,
richer by far is the heart's adoration,
dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 16

Past three a clock,
And a cold frosty morning,
Past three a clock;
Good morrow, masters all!

1. Born is a Baby,
Gentle as may be,
Son of the eternal
Father supernal.

2. Seraph quire singeth,
Angel bell ringeth;
Hark how they rime it,
Time it and chime it.

3. Mid earth rejoices
Hearing such voices
e'ertofore so well
Carolling Nowell.

4. Hinds o'er the pearly,
Dewy lawn early
Seek the high Stranger
Laid in the manger.

5. Cheese from the dairy
Bring they for Mary
And, not for money,
Butter and honey.

6. Light out of star-land
Leadeth from far land
Princes, to meet him,
Worship and greet him.

7. Myrrh from full coffer,
Incense they offer;
Nor is the golden
Nugget withholden.

8. Thus they: I pray you,
Up, sirs, nor stay you
Till ye confess him
Likewise and bless him.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 15

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Her Majesty The Queen chose this setting of the carol at the conclusion of her broadcast on Christmas Day. Indeed, she quoted the words of the final verse and suggested that we meditate on them.

At the Sung Eucharist celebrated in the Chapel Royal on the Feast of the Epiphany, Her Majesty sent gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to be offered on the altar in addition to the usual gifts of bread and wine.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 14

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
all seated on the ground,
the angel of the Lord came down,
and glory shone around.

"Fear not," said he, for mighty dread
had seized their troubled mind;
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
to you and all mankind.

"To you, in David's town, this day
is born of David's line
a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
and this shall be the sign:

"The heavenly Babe you there shall find
to human view displayed,
all meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
and in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
appeared a shining throng
of angels praising God, who thus
addressed their joyful song:

"All glory be to God on high
and on earth be peace;
good will henceforth from heaven to me
begin and never cease."

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 13

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.


O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.


Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.


Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.


Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.


Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.


Happy Feast!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 12

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
Was born upon this day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy!

In Bethlehem in Jewry
This blessed Babe was born,
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn;
The which his mother Mary
Nothing did take in scorn. Refrain

From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came,
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name. Refrain

The shepherds at these tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed Babe to find. Refrain

But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this Infant lay,
They found him in a manger
Where oxen fed on hay;
His mother Mary, kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray. Refrain

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace.
The holy tide of Christmas
All others doth efface. Refrain

Friday, 4 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 11

On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring;
On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring:
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King’s birth.

Then why should men on earth be sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad:
Then why should we on earth be sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad:
When from our sin He set us free,
All for to gain our liberty.

When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
Angels and men with joy may sing,
All for to see the newborn King.

All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night;
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night:
“Glory to God and peace to men,
Now and forevermore. Amen.”

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 10

Once in royal David's city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall;
with the poor, and mean, and lowly,
lived on earth our Saviour holy.

And, through all his wondrous childhood,
he would honour and obey,
love and watch the lowly maiden
in whose gentle arms he lay:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he.

For he is our childhood's pattern,
day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew.
and he feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that Child who seemed so helpless
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing round,
we shall see him; but in heaven,
set at God's right hand on high;
when like stars his children crowned,
all in white shall wait around.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 9

Now the holly bears a berry as white as the milk
And Mary bore Jesus, who was wrapped up in silk.

Refrain: And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Saviour for to be
And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly.
And the first tree in the greenwood it was the holly.

Now the holly bears a berry as green as the grass
And Mary bore Jesus, who died on the cross.


Now the holly bears a berry as black as the coal
And Mary bore Jesus, who died for us all.


Now the holly bears a berry as blood is it red
Then trust we our Saviour who rose from the dead.


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Christmas Carols - 8

See amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on earth below,
See, the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.


Hail that ever blessèd morn,
Hail redemption’s happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem:
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He Who built the starry skies;
He Who, thronèd in height sublime,
Sits amid the cherubim.


Say, you holy shepherds, say,
Tell your joyful news today.
Why have you now left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?


“As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light;
Angels singing ‘Peace on earth’
Told us of the Saviour’s birth.”


Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.


Teach, O teach us, holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.


Let us listen once again to the wise words of Fr Michael Mary FSSR spoken from the Holy Island of Papa Stronsay on New Year's Day 2012. His heartfelt prayer was answered in August 2012 - Thanks be to God!

Happy New Year!