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Latest News

22 February 09
Caithness Calling For Ministers To Come North
A PRESBYTERY in the Highlands is calling on new ministers because retirements are beginning to take their toll on the number of existing preachers. Three Church of Scotland ministers have retired from their churches in Caithness in the last 18 months.

The Presbytery's Business Committee said that the workload was becoming far too heavy for existing ministry teams to cover parishes without a minister.

However, Presbytery Clerk James Houston is hoping that Caithness will attract fresh blood because of the inviting ministry it presents: "We have a number of vibrant congregations covering large town and rural areas with a wide range of skills and abilities, which make it very rewarding.

"Caithness offers a broad palette with which to develop pastoral skills and also family life. "I would like to think we are a progressive Presbytery, and I am happy to have informal conversations with ministers who feel this could be
their next calling."

The Church of Scotland's Ministries Council, which deals with the Kirk's recruitment, training and support of ministries, is already considering innovative solutions, to encourage ministers and their families to consider a call to Caithness.

For more information please contact James Houston on 01847 892144 Ext 4306 (Work - 7am to 3.30 pm) or 01847 893 955 (Home - after 5pm)

Life and Work March 2009
The young Kirk
Children should be seen and heard according to the Kirk’s specialist in children’s ministry the Rev Linda Pollock.  In the March edition of Life and Work Ms Pollock says:” Children are often accused of great naivety, of not having sensible opinions, of being slaves to the terrible culture of celebrity and kitsch that’s so prevalent at the moment, but we are missing out so much by not giving them a chance to be heard and more importantly, listened to.”

A group of Church of Scotland children, aged 12 – 14 are set to visit Malawi this summer to meet youngsters of their own age involved in the Church. “We’re not going there to guilt-trip the youngsters” says Ms Pollock. “The idea is not to show them how poor these children are, and how much they have by comparison. Children don’t need that kind of lesson. Most of them are quicker than us adults to see the inequalities present all around them.  We’re hoping this visit  will give them the confidence, the sense of completeness, that they are not alone, that they are part of something glorious and huge, that they are part of the  the Christian communion worldwide and that’s a family that extends beyond the mortal boundaries of  race, colour, age, gender shape or class.”

The third Kirk Children’sAssembly will be held this year on the Island of Iona when children from the length and breadth of the country will meet together.  There is no future for the church without children, says Ms Pollock:” Who do we think are going to fill the pews and the pulpits in years to come if not those who are children now?

Apocalyptic artist
The Church of Scotland is in need of revival, according to controversial artist Peter Howson, profiled in this month’s Life and Work. Howson says:” I think the Church of Scotland is being a bit namby pamby at the moment, whatever it says in the press I don’t agree with. I think it needs some sort of revival, to get back to its traditional roots. Howson is also critical of the Church on ‘green’ issues. “And the whole thing with green issues and saving the planet – that’s not the Church’s job. The church’s job is saving souls. To go with the green stuff is a disaster. It’s revolting to me.”

“I am a fully paid-up member of the Church of Scotland but I have fallen out with them to some extent. I do have a fondness for the Church of Scotland. I do enjoy hearing a good sermon; I think there is probably a lot of good work going on both at home and overseas. I know a few Church of Scotland people who really walk the walk of Christ.”

Thank you Mr Darwin
As the birth of Charles Darwin, author of ‘Origin of the Species’ is celebrated, Christians should not see this as a threat, according to this month’s Life and Work. Graham Hellier argues that Darwin’s work ‘drives us back to acknowledge the awesome majesty of God’.  Darwin reminds us, he writes ‘that our faith in God has to be an all or nothing affair. The ordinary is extraordinary and we look not for God in the occasional miraculous intervention for the whole of creation must live and move and have its being in Him”

‘Life and Work’ – November 2008 issue
The Blindness Will Pass in Time
Of the nearly 700,000 Scots who volunteered or were conscripted into the Armed Forces during the First World War, 150,000 did not return. On the 90th anniversary of the Armistice, broadcaster and author Trevor Royle reflects on how the end of the war was greeted among the men of the Scottish Regiments and among those back home in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.
Royle also looks at how the war was won in the final few months and argues for a rehabilitation of the reputation of Field Marshal Lord Haig – a committed member of the Church of Scotland who addressed the General Assembly in 1919.
Royle quotes Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon William Fraser, commanding the 1st Gordon Highlanders, who wrote: “And so ended the last day of the Great War. One has been feeling one’s way through the dark for four years, and now one has come straight out in the sunlight – and behold!! One is blind, one cannot see the sun. But the blindness will pass in time.”

An Independent Christian
Jackie Macadam interviews John Mason, the new MP for Glasgow East. “In these politically sensitive times, it’s not often you’ll find an MP willing to wear their Christian faith out in the open, but to find one whose faith is almost his defining factor is a rarity indeed.”
Mason talks about growing up in the church and finding his faith aged about 14, working in the charity sector and joining the United Mission to Nepal, where his nationalism was born. “I stayed three years there, in this small, bustling, busy country, surrounded by potentially hostile, much larger neighbours, yet still determined to be independent. I was also mixing with people from all over the world, Norway, Finland, Denmark. Again they were from small countries, happily looking after themselves. When I came back to Scotland, I couldn’t help but make the comparisons.”

19 February 08
"Life and Work" - March 2008 issue
Donald Smith, director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, explores the rise and growth of the Easter Passion play. Whilst the most famous contemporary play takes place at Oberammergau in Germany, he charts the growth in popularity of local dramatic interpretation of the Easter story and explains the role of religion in drama. Outlining the links, he writes: "Christianity has never been a passive spectator at the theatrical feast. In truth, religion has always been at the innovative centre of dramatic art. There is an interesting tension between theatre as spectacle (deriving from the Greek verb 'to look at') and drama, deriving from the Greek verb 'to do'. Christianity has profoundly influenced theatre in the direction of a participative dramatic experience."

A series of actors have famous taken on the role of the Son of God for both television and the silver screen, including Robert Powell, Willem Dafoe and Jim Caviezel. Each describes the profound influence of the role on their own lives.

The Moderator, the Rt Rev Sheilagh Kesting describes Holy Week - the week leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday - as 'the defining week of Christianity' which provides a timely reminder of the ways in which Christian life is about crossing boundaries and reaching out to others.
"It is a week that shows us as we are but which also fills us with hope," she explains.

22 October 07
Kids Alive! - a new group for children in Primary 4 - 7 at The Salvation Army
Do your kids love music? Do they love to sing? This brand new group will use a variety of great and lively music to provide children with the best hour of their week! Children need no musical knowledge and don't even need to be able to sing in tune! There will be regular concerts, trips out and other fun activities.

16 October 07
The names of nominees for the Office of Moderator of the 2008 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, announced today, are -

The Reverend A. David K. Arnott, Minister, St Andrews: Hope Park linked with Strathkinness.

The Reverend Barry W. Dunsmore, Minister, London: St Columba's linked with Newcastle: St Andrew's

The Reverend Alan Greig, Minister, Kintore Parish Church

The Reverend David W. Lunan, Clerk to the Presbytery of Glasgow

The Reverend Dr. Marjory A. MacLean, Depute Clerk to the General Assembly

The Reverend Colin A.M. Sinclair, Minister, Edinburgh: Palmerston Place

When they meet on October 30, members of the Committee to Nominate the Moderator will hear proposers and seconders speak to their nominations before voting to nominate the person who will be presented as Moderator Designate to the General Assembly on 15 May 2008.

7 October 07
Ordination Of New Bishop To Take Place on 13th Oct
The ordination of Bishop-elect Rev. Canon Mark Strange, the new Bishop of the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness, will take place in St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness, on 13th October.

The congregations of the Scottish Episcopal Churches in Caithness and Sutherland, formerly the Ancient Diocese of Caithness, will make a joint presentation to our new Bishop of a Shepherd’s Crook. All bishops in the Anglican Communion have a crook as symbol of their pastoral position as shepherds caring for their flocks and our new bishop expressed a wish for a very plain crook. Our gift is a simple design, made in Caithness, of hazel wood, with a rosewood backing to the crook itself, which is carved from a ram's horn.

15 July 07
Kirk welcomes casino rethink
Together with other churches, the Church of Scotland warmly welcomes the Prime Minister's commitment to reconsider the plan for super-casinos. Speaking today, Morag Mylne, Convener of the Church of Scotland ‘s Church and Society Council said ’As Christians we are gravely concerned at the proliferation of gambling opportunities and we strongly believe that the government must take seriously its responsibility for the vulnerable in society. The growth of the gambling culture in our country is disturbing and, we believe, damaging. Gambling offers a false hope as a route out of poverty. We are therefore encouraged to learn that the government intends to look again at the questions of super-casinos and regeneration. More information and more research will be welcome and we look forward to the forthcoming report.’

"Life and Work" - April 2007 issue
Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, the former Principal of the University of Edinburgh and the chair of the Royal Commission which implemented free care for the elderly in Scotland is profiled in this month's issue.

Insisting the implementation of the Commission's recommendations has provided an effective care system for Scotland's elderly, he admits there are still improvements to be made, but claims the system has proved largely successful.

"It sounds very arrogant, but the proof of it is that it works. In England where it hasn't gone through, the government is still really under the burden of not having a policy that works, despite lots of initiatives, headlines and money.

"There are still things to iron out, of course, and the process will change over the years. If we wrote a report now it wouldn't be exactly the same. But we had the right direction for them to go. However, powerful people in government now can't accept that we were right and they were wrong. I am still known there as the guy who did this."

The Easter issue of the magazine of the Church of Scotland offers a fresh insight into the disciple who betrayed Christ. Larry W Hurtado, Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at Edinburgh University examines suggestions that Judas was invented as a warning to Christians 'tempted to apostasy or betrayal'. He also analyses the precise language used in Gospel references and indicates this may reveal clues to the exact nature of the disciple's behaviour in the events which led to the Resurrection.

Hurtado concludes, however, that it was not Judas' conduct that led to his failure as one of the disciples: "The final tragedy of Judas is not that, for whatever reason, he so blatantly failed as a disciple of Jesus. Others failed miserably then and thereafter.

"Perhaps his tragedy is that, when he realised how heinous his act was, he cut himself off from mercy and restoration. The final failure of his faith was a failure to repent."

The Rev Jane Barron, the Church of Scotland's first woman minister at St Andrew's Church, Jerusalem, offers an update of daily life in the Holy Land and warns of the continuing decline in the number of Christians living in the 'cradle of Christianity'.

"It can seem like a permanent night-time here in Israel Palestine - and for many people their lives are permanent night times. Even a day behind the wall affects those of us lucky enough to come back. Speech falls silent. We notice it. And there are 169,000 Christians remaining in the land and falling. According to UN figures Muslims and Christians are leaving in equal numbers - but with the number so low for Christiansevery single one leaving is significant now."
Life and Work - each month you can download the main feature article.

2 February 07
Vote In Church Of Scotland Photo Competition
Voting closes 28 March 2007

January 07
Collation of the Revd. Wendy Knott
Collation of the Revd. Wendy Knott in Thurso by the Most Rev Dr Idris Jones, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church


8 January 07

The Most Reverend Dr Idris Jones, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, recently issued the following statement. "The licensing of Reverend Wendy Knott, to be Priest in Charge of St John the Evangelist, Wick and St Peter and the Holy Rood, Thurso will take place on Sunday 14th January 2007 at 2.30 pm in Thurso". Reverend Wendy was ordained in Tasmania in the early nineties and has served in both rural and suburban parishes, although her heart has always been in rural life (as she says, "you can take the lass out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the lass!"). During this time, until March of 2006, she also worked at the University of Tasmania as a Library Manager, supervising a team of cataloguers. She is very much looking forward to living and working in Caithness.

20 November 06
Booksale At St John's Wick Raised 150
The charity booksale run by St. John's Scottish Episcopal church, Wick, on Saturday 18 November 2006 raised a magnificent 150, and organiser Gordon Johnson would like to thank all who attended and bought books,as well as those who donated books for the sale. The money goes to the church's repairs fund. Gordon hopes to do another sale around May 2007, so he could do with some more books donated for this event. If you would like to donate books - in good condition - contact Gordon by telephone 01955-603103  or e-mail gordon@kinhelp.co.uk , he can arrange to collect the books if in Wick, or you can drop them off at his home: Glenorchy, Papigoe, Wick, by arrangement.

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