Friday, 24 August 2012

Day one.

First day of the
Church of Scotland training conference. 
I thoroughly enjoyed myself today.  The day didn't start off to well, lucky I had a plastic bag with no holes in it as the heating was on full on the bus this morning. I opened the window but a lady complained about the draft so I had to close if again. 20mins into the 2 hour journey I could feel my stomach start to protest and I broke out into a cold sweat. I looked at my watch. A hour and forty minutes to go. Oh no. I'm gonna die. I managed to hang on for another agonising ten minutes before recycling my breakfast. A great and wonderful start to the day.

But I managed to find my way from the bus station to the conference without getting list. God bless google maps and GPS.

I got settled into my room and went for a mooch.

Once I found I had access to a kettle the day started to get better  :-)

Then we all went and had lunch. Which was fun. We didn't get to sit with the physicists. A good chance of theological debate missed.
After that the day seemed to rush by in a blur of information overload. But the food was good.

When it come to finance matters I am the one trouble maker as usual.  For our placements we are not supposed to have to travel more than about 15 miles. That won't even take me out of the parish let alone to the ferry port. So travelling expenses and accommodation are going to be a pain. But that is life on the west coast.

When It came to the final worship tonight I could feel myself going cross eyed and starting to nod off.

So I have shut myself away with a coffee. And blogger. For a chance to relax before a shower.
Good night all.

First conference.

I have spent the day travelling across Scotland today. By car, ferry, two coaches and a bus. Ten hours in total.   Just have to get up in the morning to catch one more bus to StAndrews.
Feels like I am finally making a start,on my path to ministry. A week with the other candidates for the ministry. Some I know already and lots of new people to meet. I am really looking forward to the experience.
Bye for now. Will fill you in at the end of the week.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wow has it really been over a year.

The week after my the last post (over a year ago, sorry) our locum was taken ill.  So I volunteered to cover his services for the next day.  I had the sermon for the previous week.  Well that lead to me leading worship in two churches nearly every Sunday for about 6 months.  Dropped in at the deep end.  He he.

Well the past year.... Wow.. I have started studying  BA in Theology at HTC. I have been through my second co-ordinated field assessment.  I was placed at Ardrishaig l/w South Knapdale.  It was a good time.  I got through my local assessment and last week I trundled off to the national selection conference at Gartmore house.

This time round it was a wonderful experience.  I got to spend two fun filled, stress full days with seven other applicants, surrounded by beautiful countryside.  We all gelled really well, everyone was very supportive. (Sadly lacking at my previous conference).

Whilst in the Communion service at the close of the service just as we were praying after taking the elements I felt what I can only describe as someones hand placed upon my head a feeling filled with warmth and love. I felt accepted, filled with joy.

After a few stressed filled days (for my wife) the letter arrived.  I couldn't open it. So I asked my wife to open it for me.  I felt my stomach drop until I saw a beautiful smile spread across her face.  Its a YES.

They said yes,  that was three days ago and I'm still floating.

It turns out that so far from the eight of us who attended the conference five off us have been selected.  Really looking forward to working with them all in the future.

Ta ta for now,  will not leave it over a year to write again I promise.

God Bless.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Hi every one,

Seems I missed a bit out when briefly trying to describe a year in a couple of paragraphs.

I originally applied for the reader ship, as a large part of my calling was a pulling from the pews to the front of the church.  But after leading worship over the months I began to realise that that was only part of what God was asking of me.  I needed to serve.

After a lot of reflection and prayer I asked God outright 'what is it you want of me?'

That night I had a dream that I was standing at the front of the church and two men ran towards me dragging a net.  At the end of the net were a few fish.  When I turned around I saw hundreds of fish swimming around.

When I awoke the next morning I immediately jumped to John Gospel, 'Fish on the other side of the boat!'

I realised, Yes I was to lead worship, but it was only part.  I need to look after those already in the church,  But I also need to serve those outside, to take the joy of Christ out to them.

I need to visit lonely people in their homes, the sick in hospital, stand with new parents as their child is baptised, share the last moments on earth with the dieing, leading them to Gods arms.  I need to stand with couples as they pledge their lives to each other in the name of the father.

This I couldn't do as a reader, so after a brief chat with my wife and my session clerk I called 121 George street and changed my application to Full time Ministry of Word and Sacrament.

So that is where I stand at the moment.

The Church has just said Yes I can begin training,  I have an interview soon with Argyll Presbytery before they decide to nominate me.

God Bless.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Well yesterday was fun, I got nothing done.  I woke up to the sounds of crashing waves and howling winds, which is a common occurrence here.  Only problem was it just kept getting worse.  At around half ten the electricity went off, another common occurrence down here in the middle of nowhere.  But for some reason rather than waiting for the usual hour or so for the power to return, nothing happened!  We had go without electricity until around ten fifteen at night, and then it kept shutting off.  So with no electricity that meant no cooker or kettle (There is no gas on Islay) or central heating.  So we built up the coal fire and dug out the camping stove. It was quite fun really.  It was a beautiful if wild day. With no telly, no mobile phone and no Internet. We ended up sitting in front of the fire playing scrabble by candle light.

The photo was taken from my bedroom window.

One thing I did see that I would never have expected was as the local bus pulled up and opened its doors a gust of wind blew the two windshields out of the front with a big crash.  So the poor driver had to crawl the bus out of the village with no protection from the elements. Brave man, I think I would have left it.

So when watching the news today I found out that the rest of Scotland had the same sort of day but as we were cut off we just had no way of knowing.  I wonder if I have had a glimpse of what life must have been like on these island in the past?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Post services.

Well I did it.  I lead the Sunday services in Bowmore and Port Ellen.  And it was great.  Usually when I get up to the lectern I get a jelly feeling from the waist down.  That didn't happen today.  In the first service there was a little confusion with what hymns were supposed to be sung. (They have their own team that works that out.) But I managed to calm them down, got them to choose and it all ran smoothly.  I felt confidant and apparently I looked like I knew what I was doing.  So after a very quick cup of tea and a lovely chat with a 90 year old lady who was far more healthy than I.  My wife and I had a quick drive down to Port Ellen (about 20mins) and a quick chat on what I needed to work on.  We arrived early, got setup and again everything ran like clockwork.  I must say the lady on the organ who was my contact at the church was amazing.  She set out a rough idea of how the service normally runs, ran through the hymns with me (no problems there) and away we went.  What I found amazing was, as she was playing the hymns on the organ she was also singing and keeping everyone in time and in tune with a beautiful voice. She was wonderful. I will admit at the end of the second service I was getting a bit croaky. But a very good day indeed.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Ok, the terror has set in..

First off I have to apologise to anyone who read my last post (not one on a bugle) I had been taking pain killers at the time and seem to have missed a lot of spelling and grammar errors, so again sorry.  I am currently in my right mind (as well as i can be) so any mistakes on this post are just plain stupidity.

Now I have got that out the way I can now tell you that I am terrified.  One of the Ministers on the Island (OK hes the only CoS minister on the Island) is off the the general assembly next week.  So he has asked if I would cover his two Sunday services this week.  EEEEEK.  Well I said yes.   But my knee's are already knocking.  I have never lead worship to either congregations before and have only attended worship at one of them.  So I have no smiling faces in the pews that I know to give me encouragement. Still I know I can do this I just have to hope that no one can see my knees knocking together behind the lectern.

The first service is at 10o'clock in Bowmore in the Round Church.  Then after a quick cup of tea, I have to rush down to the southern end of the island to Port Ellen to begin again at St Johns at 11:30.  

I know I can do this, Its no different from any of the others services in other churches I have lead, but this feels like a really big step.  I must admit, I admire Rob for his faith, as he has never seen me preach, so he is only going by what he has heard from other people on the Isle.

Well I best be off to practice.  bye for now