Highland Foodbank Appeal

For those who wish to donate, Highland Foodbank are particularly asking for donations of cartons of long life fruit juice, small washing powder/gel, tins of corned beef, tins of ham.

Please bring any donations to the churches and leave in the donation box.

In addition to the above you may want to consider a ‘reverse advent calendar’. Donating something daily during advent. It may be something requested above, other staples or maybe a treat for Christmas. Again bring to church.

As Highland Foodbank say – ‘Without your donations our work would simply not be possible. Thank you!’

& thank you all for the donations made throughout the year!

Highlands Hospice Light Up The Highlands Carol Service – Dingwall 4th Dec 7pm for 7.30pm

The Highlands Hospice Light Up The Highlands Carol Service in Dingwall will be held on Wed 4th December at St Clements Church. 7pm for 7.30pm.

You are warmly invited for festive songs, readings and to remember loved ones.

Everyone welcome and refreshments will be served.

To make a dedication online and for more information visit: highlandhospice.org/luth or please enquire at 01463 243132

If you are unable to attend St Clements other local events include:-

Cromarty            Tuesday 3rd December at St Regulus Church

Inverness           Monday 2nd December 6.30pm Inverness Cathedral

Kiltarlity             Monday 2nd December 7pm Kiltarlity Free Church

details of all events can be found on the hospice website.


Services for December 2019

Below are the services planned for Advent and Christmas. In addition to our usual services we are having a short evensong weekly (5pm Tuesdays) during Advent.


 1030    Sung Eucharist at St Anne’s

Clergy    Bishop Mark and Julia Boothby

TUESDAY 3rd December

1700       Evensong at St James’        


1030    Sung Eucharist at St James’

Clergy     Julia Boothby/Norma Higgott

TUESDAY 10th December

1700        Evensong at St James’


1030    Said Eucharist at St Anne’s

Clergy.     Laurence Gunner/Norma Higgott          

1530    Carol Service at St Anne’s

TUESDAY 17th December

1700      Evensong at St James’


1030    Sung Eucharist at St James’

Clergy.    Julia Boothby/Norma Higgott


1700  Christingle Service at St James’

Clergy     Julia Boothby/Barbara Chandler


1000    Family Festival Eucharist at St Anne’s

Clergy     Julia Boothby/Barbara Chandler


1030    Eucharist at St Anne’s

Clergy      Julia Boothby/Norma Higgott


In addition at our service on Sunday Rev Barbara suggested that we should consider committing to saying Compline daily throughout Advent. Below are two suggested resources online to help us. They are links to Common Worship daily prayer and Northumbria Community daily prayer.
www.northumbriacommunity.org, then search daily prayer
www.churchofengland.org then search “join using daily prayer” and you will find compline each day. Daily prayer can also be downloaded as an app.




Healing – Barbara’s Sermon from 24th November

The second of two sermons (this one delivered by. Rev Barbara Chandler) on healing ahead of the licensing of the Healing Team by +Mark on 1st December.

CHRIST THE KING                                            24th November 2019

This morning is not a meagre two for the price of one, it’s a three for the price of one sermon.

Firstly: Today is the festival of Christ the King. This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year and next week we enter into the penitential season of Advent. Pope Francis describes this Sunday as the crown in the liturgical year: a celebration of Jesus, Lord of all, King over all creation.

Secondly: we are going to pray particularly for the healing ministry of our church. Next Sunday Bishop Mark will come to commission the healing ministry team. These are people who have set aside time over the last few months to study, reflect and pray about healing and will offer this ministry within our church community. As part of the preparation for this, Julia asked Norma and I to speak about our work within medicine. Norma last week described her role as chaplain at the Highland Hospice and today I will tell you a little bit about my day job in Rehabilitation Medicine.

Thirdly, we have the appointed scripture for today and a gospel which shockingly does not seem to right for the celebration of Christ the king:  where does the crucifixion fit in to healing and kingship.

I will start with healing. Modern medicine is not primarily about healing A controversial statement and it would be good to break into groups and discuss but perhaps we can leave that for coffee at the end.  I can remember in my introductory week at medical school the dean of medicine quoting Amboise Pare, “the art of medicine is to cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always”. I really didn’t understand the implications of this statement at that stage, as coming into medicine through a passion for science my intent and that of my fellow students was to cure people, to fix the disordered physiology and anatomy and make people better. It is with the passage of time and meeting real people, in real life, that the complexity and enormity of true healing becomes apparent. The journey through medical school has its ups and downs and gradually changes people. Our youngest daughter is approaching her final year of medical studies and she used to be just a normal person, but she has now crossed that line into a different view of the world and I will share with you a message. I “whatsapped” her last Friday as usual, just the standard greeting, “Hope the week has been good” and she replied “Yes it’s been fun. I saw some awfully strange urine today. Hope you’ve had a good week xx”. !!

Within medicine there is a breadth of careers. If you don’t really like people you can do pathology, if you don’t like touching people you can do psychiatry, if you like seeing what’s going on inside then surgery, if you like mechano then its orthopaedics. My own choice was to work with people who have complex disabling neurological conditions. Apart from those I see who have had a mild brain injury, none of my patients will be cured. What we do and as in all medicine it is a team approach, is relieve symptoms and care. We walk alongside individuals on their life’s journey and do running repairs and when a point is reached where repair is no longer possible, we just sit with them so that disease or disability is not experienced alone. In the face of profoundly limiting illnesses or trauma, we see that a person is not merely mind and body, but spirit as well. And at times when it is not possible to fix the body, the mind can be treated and the spirit comforted. Recognition of the spiritual dimension of personhood is not the sole prerogative of Christians. I remember a nurse who I worked with some years ago in Newcastle talking about patients with what is now called a prolonged disorder of consciousness, what used to be called vegetative state, people who have no apparent awareness of their surrounding and no communication, and she said I could not care for these people unless I had an awareness of their spirituality. She connected with them as people beyond mind and body. The insight we are given as Christians, is the knowledge that what we perceive as spirit, is God within each of us. We do not just bring human love and care, we bring Christ into each encounter and that brings hope beyond our imaginations. I would also say that all who care, whether they know it or not, are acting within the love of God. A prayer from the Northumbrian community that I often say as I walk into Raigmore is Lord be in the heart of each to whom I speak and in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.

The greatest healer of all time is, of course ,our Lord Jesus Christ. He cured the lame, the blind, the deaf, those with fever, those who had lost consciousness, but he also cured the erosion of the soul from love of money and power and wealth and despair. His greatest act of healing is in our gospel this morning and it is also his greatest act of sovereignty, of kingship.

King Jesus was crucified at the criminal execution ground, as Graham Kendrick wrote in one of his hymns, Meekness and Majesty; Manhood and DeityFathers pure radiance perfect in innocence … suffering to give us life … and as they crucify prays Father forgive. One of Jesus fellow victims of crucifixion mocks him with the crowd, but the other sees through the sacrifice to the Creator of the universe, saying Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. What greater act of healing than Jesus’ words, “today you will be with me in paradise”.

Jesus is our Lord, King, Saviour, comforter, healer. He walks life’s journey with us and never abandons us. He has trod life’s path through pain and death ahead of us. As we try and work out which political leader we want to trust we know that all have failings just as we have failings, but we have a King to follow to the end and beyond. A King in whom trust need never fail.

As Christians we are given the power to heal. We can’t all do open heart surgery, but we have all been given hands to care and in a short meditation to close, I invite you to open your heart and mind to what God calls you to in the service of our King:


Place your hands on your lap palms down; look at the skin, perhaps there are wrinkles, signs of the years of work and toil, of wisdom and experience, perhaps the skin is smooth well creamed and cared for, perhaps the skin is dry and broken due to work for others and neglect of self; turn them over palms uppermost; hands that can receive a gift, the gift of the love of God, hands that can give, hands that can touch and hold the pain of others; hands that give friendship, comfort and love; hands that may have held a loved one as they journey into the mystery of death, hands that may have held the mystery of new birth; and think of other hands – the hands that have scars, the nail marks of our King, the marks of love beyond love, beyond understanding. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven by making peace through the blood of his cross, Amen.




Healing – Norma’s sermon from 17th November

As we prepare for the licensing of the Healing Team by +Mark on 1st December Rev Julia asked Norma & Barbara to preach on their experience of healing. Here is the first of these sermons, preached by Norma Higgott on 17th November.

When Julia asked me to preach this Sunday on my healing ministry at the Highland Hospice, I said I was very happy to do so, until I saw today readings!  But actually they do fit in quite well with what I want to say, so here goes.

You may have noticed that, during these last weeks of November, our Lectionary Scripture readings focus a lot on endings – the end of the world as we know it, the consummation of all creation, the end of time, the 2nd coming of the Lord. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. He envisions the end of the ritual sacrifice which happened there, the tumbling down of the one thing that the Jewish people could be certain of. If the temple were ever destroyed, it would feel like the end of the world for God’s chosen people. And not only that….according to Jesus, peaceful societies will crumble into violence, and comfortable cultures will unravel into famine. Family ties will come undone, relatives will hand over family members to the authorities, and people will be thrown into prison simply for being believers. Your peaceful world, Jesus says, is coming to an end. Sobering stuff! It can make us all nervous when the Lord starts talking about the crumbling down of everything you thought you could trust! Jesus doesn’t hold back. He tells the truth, in vivid language. The problem is that, in every century, someone has read this vivid Gospel language. Then they look at the world as they experience it and they stand up and say, “The end is happening now! This end that Jesus predicts is happening right now… or, at least, next week.” In the past couple of years, haven’t we heard lots of folk who keep warning us that the end of civilization is just around the corner? Some tell us that global warming is going to destroy us. Some tell us that people of a different faith will destroy us. Others predict that sinners, or strangers, or scandals will destroy us. But we can have a serious problem with a passage such as this. And here’s the problem: Jesus’ description of the end of the world (and what will lead up to it) can be applied to every century of every era, if we apply just enough pressure and creativity to the Gospel text. After all, Jesus says that, just before the end, we will see wars, famines, earthquakes, and people of faith betrayed and persecuted. Well, those things have happened in every century since Jesus rose from the dead. And they are still happening. Sadly, I suspect they will continue to happen. So, if we hear a text like that and we focus on a question such as: ‘when will the end come? When will it all come crumbling down?’ we may be missing the main point. I’m not sure that Jesus described the end of the world so that you and I can stockpile food, move into a bunker and live in fear. When the Lord spoke these words, he knew what he was trying to convey. Inspired by the Spirit, we need to listen as best we can. And I am sure that a vivid Gospel passage like this one speaks to us of many truths, on many levels. Today, let me focus on just one: I think that Jesus describes the end of the world in vivid language because, in every century, ordinary people have moments when they feel like their world is falling apart. And he wants to remind us that, through the mystery of his dying and rising, we will see a new beginning coming out of every painful ending. We can trust that painful endings can lead to a new and more abundant life. In the past 12 months, I’ll bet that everyone listening to this sermon has experienced some kind of painful ending. Some of your dreams have crumbled. Part of the world that you have built may feel like it’s fallen apart. Some of your hopes get dashed. Something – or someone – you thought you could always count on, could always trust, has been taken away, has crumbled, leaving you breathless. Jesus reminds us that the Christian approach to these painful endings is trust – trust that God can create something new out of the most desolate place. Your spouse dies. Your child gets sick. Your marriage ends. Your job disappears. You fail the test. You struggle with addiction. You get into legal trouble. Someone told you that you don’t have what it takes…. It feels like the temple in Jerusalem – your touchstone with God is falling to the ground. It feels like your world is crumbling around you. Then God says: Every cross leads to Easter. Every passion leads to resurrection. Jesus died…then he rose. And you will too. That’s the centre of our faith- not a building, but a belief that our relationship with the Risen One leads us from death to new life. Believe it. Live it. Cling to it. Share it and show it to your friends, neighbours and even your enemies through your words and deeds. Jesus once was dead…but look at him now! And that is what our healing ministry is all about – it is about encountering everyone we meet where they are, with all their needs, all their worries, all their fears and showing them the love and compassion of Christ through our words and actions.  We can’t just address the symptoms we see, we need to try and find the cause of what is bringing them pain.  True healing addresses the cause of their worry and fear. Jesus tells us that it is not only in church that we can address the needs of the world, in fact he tells us us to go out into the world in peace to love and serve the Lord, he doesn’t say stay here to love and serve the Lord, he says go out there and practice what we preach, bring my healing to the world and everyone you meet.

How? By establishing a relationship with people. And the only way to begin to establish relationships with the lost is to get to know them. That goes beyond finding out their names, it’s learning about their lives. It’s caring about the things they care about. Get involved with their lives because that translates into “I care about your life.” I care about your state of being and I don’t care whether you go to church or not. And that is what my ministry as the Chaplain at the Highland Hospice is all about.  It is about meeting the folk who come there, whether as inpatients or as day patients, where they are in their life’s journey.  It’s about sharing that journey with them and with their families, encouraging them all to talk about how they are feeling about their journey, about their illness, about death.  It’s about being prepared to share the love of God with them and about being ready to listen to all the really difficult questions they might have about God, faith, suffering, dying – about why! My ministry is about listening to what they have to say, it’s about offering a loving compassionate touch to hearts that are sorely troubled, it’s about being, being alongside them and their families through all the difficult times, being there when they just need a hand to hold, being there to pray with them and for them – it is incredibly comforting to be told – I’m praying for you – even if you don’t have a strong faith or even no faith. Just about a year ago I encountered a young man, in his early fifties, who was one of the loveliest most caring folk you could meet and who was deeply in love with his beautiful wife.  We talked a lot and got on so well that he once said to me Norma I would love for you to take my funeral but I really don’t believe there is anything else beyond this world so I won’t ask you to do it because I know you wouldn’t be able to not commend me to God.  I told him I fully understood and that I would come to his funeral anyway – and he said thank you – and I know you’ll pray for me and that’s ok – it’s very comforting actually to know someone who believes and who is prepared to pray for me even when I can’t.  Never doubt the power of prayer to bring comfort and healing. I spend a lot of time with the families too and often for them being able to talk about death and the dying of their loved one is a relief from some of the pain and torment they’ve been holding in – always trying to put a brave face on things for their loved one.  They too need a place to share their burdens and they can be many, so being the face of God who is willing to share all our cares and offering them that support is really special – they come to understand some of the love and compassion that God offers through our actions. My job also involves offering that same love and compassion to the staff and volunteers at the Hospice who deal with the end of so many lives and who walk alongside the families – they too need someone to listen and understand their feelings.

What I like about Jesus is that he never imposed his behaviour patterns on his disciples. He modelled the word for them in the way he led his life. He prayed, so that they might learn to pray. He lifted them to a higher standard through the way he led his life. He modelled the behaviour he wanted to see in them. And that’s the strange thing about how we react to people that we must overcome. We want others to act in way we ourselves cannot. We want them to speak gentle words, and to be humbled and kind; yet we do not show those qualities. We want them to be forgiving and understanding and patient, yet we are not. And the challenge is to become that which you desire others to be. “I want him to be more loving-then you become more loving.” I want her to be more supportive. Well, then you become more supportive. I want them to listen to me- well you begin to listen to them. You lift others up by lifting before them the Christ that’s within you. As you become more Christ-like in your words, your attitudes they will begin to see through you the way to Christ.

So let us lift up Christ by reaching others with a healing touch. Let us reach others with the healing hands he has given us. These hands are anointed hands. These hands will break down walls. These hands will open up doors. These hands will set the captives free. These hands will clothe the naked. These hands will heal the sick. These hands will raise the dead. These hands will cast out demons. These hands will give God the glory.  There is power in our hands. Let’s use them for the glory of God. Amen.

Church Services for November 2019

Sunday 3rd November

10.30am at St James Dingwall

Sunday 10th November (Remembrance Sunday)

We have been invited to join the congregation of Strathpeffer Church of Scotland at their service which will begin at 10.45am and will be followed by a ceremony at the Fodderty Cenotaph

Sunday 17th November 

10.30am at St James, Dingwall

Clergy:- Julia Boothby

Sunday 24th November

10.30am at St Annes, Strathpeffer

Clergy:- Barbara Chandler


We have been asked to publicise the following lecture series to be held at St Michael & All Angels Church, Abban Street, Inverness.  IV3 8HH


Explorations of Christian Faith and Doubt for Today’s World

Dr Brian Marshall

A series of four talks and discussions based around Rachel Held Evans’ book Searching for Sunday: loving, leaving and finding the Church  plus other material.  The chapters of the book are named according to the sacraments of the Church, hence the titles of the talks.  The late Rachel Held Evans has written a refreshingly open and honest account of why she and her husband have had periods of absence from the church, and yet have also been drawn back by the power of the sacraments and Christian community at their best.

Wed 23rd October

Baptism and Confession

Wed 30th October

Holy Orders and Communion

Wed 6th November

Confirmation and Anointing the Sick

Wed 13th November

Marriage, the Body of Christ, and the Kingdom

All 8.00pm in St Michael’s Church

Abban Street, Inverness

Before retiring to the Highlands, Dr Marshall spent 30 plus years teaching Christian Theology in Leeds and Oxford.  The talks are intended for a wide audience; anyone with an interest in the reasons for being part of the church.

St Michael & All Angels Church, Abban Street, Inverness.  IV3 8HH

http://www.stmichaelschurchinverness.org      http://www.facebook.com/stmichaelsinverness

Scottish Charity Number          SC010352