Monthly Archives: August 2013


I count it an honour anAlastair Murray photod privilege to be Minister in the furthest north Priority Area parish. The work is demanding and at times heart breaking. It is a ministry that is full of contrasts: one minute you are speaking and sharing tea with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (the local MP); the next you are comforting a family coming to terms with the death of a murdered son.

As padre to the Inverness branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland I occasionally come in to contact with service men and women but I also spend a lot of time with veterans who can tell some harrowing and frightening experiences of being involved in conflict... read more

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Collaborative leadership

Verene Nicholas photoI was recently inspired by an account of Richard Rohr’s travel to India. Fr. Rohr is a Franciscan priest, author and Founder of the Centre for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico. Reflecting on his time with the Sisters of Charity, he writes, “These women wasted no time in fixing, controlling, or even needing to understand what is wrong with others. Instead they put all of their time and energy into letting God change them. From that transformed place, they serve and carry the pain of the world, which they are convinced is the pain of God.”

What we learn during our year long mentoring programme is essentially how to hold and carry the tensions of being Church in the most marginalised parishes of Scotland... read more

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Re-reading the gospels

Paul ChapmanFor years, I read the Bible as if it were history.  Yes, I knew that the details of much of the Old Testament were not history but were taught to illuminate some ancient wisdom – words that are often still relevant  today. But I thought differently of the New Testament, believing that it happened as described.  Little by little I learned otherwise, starting perhaps with the Christmas story.

What a new sense of freedom when I no longer had to worry about the literal facts of the story but could concentrate on the depths of meaning that the authors were illustrating.  This is not history; these are not facts but theology taught as narrative.  Now, we can spend a life time contemplating the wisdom and the joy of the Christmas story, a narrative that tells us how the authors imagined the birth of Jesus – humble and miraculous.  Even the heavens rejoiced... read more

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A chance to stretch

martin_johnstoneI loved my grannie and as far as I am aware my grannie loved me. Effie (short for Euphemia) Rae was one of the kindest, most generous and genuinely funny people I have ever met. When my aunt and uncle’s marriage broke down, one of my cousins went to live with ‘wee Effie’ for few months.

Recently I attended the launch of the Scottish Kinship Carers Alliance. There I met lots of grannies and (to a lesser extent) granddads who have taken on the role of looking after their grandchildren, often in the midst of appalling tragedy and grinding poverty... read more

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