Friday, 27 November 2009

New Rector for St John's Forres

Tiz the season for looking forward in anticipation and the coming week is full of anticipation, especially Thursday 3 December.

Firstly Thursday is the Feast Day of Francis Xavier and is the 15 anniversary of my priesting.

Secondly Thursday is the day that St John's Forres will install their new Rector. I suppose it is often the case on occasions like this that the congregation may wonder "what will the new Rector be like?"

Well I can answer that question with a degree of certainty in that the new Rector will be much like the outgoing Priest in Charge!

You see I really will become "Rambling Rector" on Thursday because St John's have adopted a new Constitution which necessitates my resigning as Priest in Charge and being installed as Rector.

I am anticipating the service with a mixture of joy and apprehension. The Sanctuary Bell is polished and the Rosa Mystica is ready! The service is at 6.30 pm do come if you can, otherwise keep St John's and me in prayers.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Christmas Carol Conspiracy

Every year I have this debate with the Congregation, the Choir, the Youth Group and the Sunday School Leaders about how early we can start singing Christmas Carol's at St John's.

My stance is not until Advent is out and I endure the Bah Humbug insults and eventually compromise with having the St John's Carol Concert during the evening of the last Sunday in Advent, which this year is 20 December at 7.00 pm - do come along its always a good sing, finishing off with mulled wine and Christmas Pies. Earlier that day the Sunday School will perform their Christmas play at 10.00 am.

Having reached that amicable compromise which seemed to keep everyone happy I return to the Rectory to hear Bilbo the Parrot belting out "We wish you a happy Christmas" at the top of his voice, which is quite loud and I expect you can hear him from there!

What I want to know is who taught him that?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Vegetarian Graduation

Spent Friday night and Saturday in Edinburgh to attend number two child's HND Graduation in Hospitality Management from Telford College. It was a great day and a very proud day for the whole family. It was a day that at one time I thought would never happen. Alan moved to Edinburgh some years ago now to attend University and decided not to complete his first year, having obtained employment in the Hospitality Industry. End of academia, or so the worried parents thought! Then two years ago, with no parental pressure what so ever, Alan announced that he was returning to study, the outcome of which was yesterdays graduation and two proud parents. Alan is continuing his studies and has already started his degree course, so another graduation ceremony to come.

The Graduation itself was very well done by Edinburgh's Telford College and took place in the McEwan Hall, Bristo Square. The Guest of Honour at these occasions, from past experience, can sometimes be a bit dull and irrelevant, but the speaker on this occasion was Iain Macleod McMillan CBE who is the Director of the Confederation of British Industry and his address was excellent.

So where does the "Vegetarian" part of the header come in you may ask? Well I am a committed carnivore and have been known to send back steaks that are overcooked i.e. not bloody. So after the event which ended at lunch time, proud dad says "where would you like to have lunch son, my treat?"

Alan is a vegetarian and said "I would like to go to David Bann Restaurant, on St Mary's Street", which unbeknown to me is a Vegetarian Restaurant. Having scanned the menu for dead animals and finding none I chose a Thai starter thing and a vegetable curry. Despite my scepticism an excellent meal that I very much enjoyed!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Double Divas from Dublin

What's all this about then? Do these people have talent or are they just there to annoy? Click on the header to this post to see what I am talking about.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday in Forres is always a moving and dignified occasion made all the more special by the Parade and laying of wreaths at the war memorial. Forres has RAF Kinloss in the Parish and so the Parade is a grand affair with the RAF the Royal British Legion and the uniformed organisations of Air Cadets, Army Cadets, Scouts, Guides, Brownies and many others all led by the Pipe Band as we march from one end of the High Street to the other.

Over the past few years the crowds have grown in size and it seemed this Sunday as if the whole Town had turned out. You could feel the emotion at the laying of Wreaths, especially with there being many bereaved families with the loss of the Nimrod over Afghanistan.

It is a great privilege to lead such a service even though I did get really frustrated that the sound system did not work properly for the second year running and that the lone Piper started to play too early and cut out part of the service. On the other hand the trumpeter was superb and dead on cue, the sound of the Last Post and Reveille ringing out on a cold crisp morning somehow brings home the sense of sacrifice that is made by a few for so many.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Parrots and the Provost of Glasgow Cathedral

What's the difference between a parrot and the Provost?

Well parrots are colourful and cheeky, they talk and sing a lot.
Mine even swings upside down from a chain, hanging on with just one toe, whilst reciting the responses to morning prayer, just to attract attention. So there you have it - there are obviously no similarities whatsoever between parrots and the Provost of Glasgow Cathedral!

Fr Kelvin thank you for encouraging me with my new blog and for sending lots of people to see my blog. I bet you are regretting doing so already. So never mind parrots by Christmas that's parrots before Advent!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Ever decreasing cirles

Is it just me or does it seem to you as well that politicians, that august body of elected representatives, are simply going round and round in ever decreasing circles these days?
There are many examples but to take just two:

Why would anyone publicly sack a scientific advisor who offers proven advice about the effects of canabis and at the same time raise millions through a tax on alcohol and tobacco, implying at least that the latter is safer and endorsed by the Government for consumption. Even from my own staistics as a humble parish priest I know which of these kills and harms more people.

Least this seems partisan and I get accused of having a go at Gordon Brown what about David Cameron who seems to think that positive discrimination is the way to get more women into politics. I think that any form of discrimination is wrong, including positive discrimination. There are some very fine women politicians but perhaps the real reason that there are less women than men in politics today is because women have more sense!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Good Driving Day & Good Putting Day

The Old Course Lossiemouth, Moray

Most amateur golfers will tell you that sometimes they have a good 'driving day' and sometimes they have a good 'putting day' and every now and again you have a good driving day AND a good putting day. I had one of those days today, much to the annoyance I may add, of the priest and head teacher that I was playing with!

The greens were soft from the recent rain, there was little or no wind which is very unusual for a links course like Lossiemouth, and the sun was shining. All in all a great morning and the best possible way to spend a day off.

Moray is an idyllic place to live and I really count my blessings on days like today playing golf alongside the Moray Firth with views northwards to Ross Shire and Sutherland, the occasional deer or hare darting across the fairway, a wee dram at the 10th, it really doesn't get much better than this. I just wish there were more Tuesdays in the week!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Between a rock and a hard place.

Conducting funerals is a regular occurrence, if you happen to be a priest that is! However every now and again you get asked to take a funeral that tests you more than most. This Wednesday I will take the funeral of a good friend who sadly took his own life. Both of us have moved about a bit over the last few years and we have almost lost touch a time or two, but basically we have known each other for almost 30 years. The last reunion was in Tesco's of all places. I find that I minister there quite frequently, different sort of aisle but just as effective.

Inevitably relatives and others ask you what you think about suicide - where is the deceased soul? When this is someone you know and know relatively well it really does make you ask, well what do I really think? My friend was a good husband, a talented man, a good musician, a good friend. He had been unwell and receiving care from Mental Health Services, although I use the word 'care' advisedly and his recent behaviour had gotten him into conflict with the law.

What I believe is that he is with our Lord and that his suffering is ended for ever I just hope that I can find the words to convey that on Wednesday. Your prayers and thoughts are welcome.