Letter from Duncan
A letter from Duncan with Christmas Greetings, news about services, the Anchor Cafe, and plans for the future. You can read it as a PDF here.
In a normal year, I would be expecting to see most of you face to face over the next 10 days at one of the Christmas services. This, however, is anything but a normal year, and the likelihood is that I will only see a small number of you in the lead up to Christmas. I wanted, therefore, to be in touch by letter as this momentous year draws to a close.
After more than 7 months of livestream services, we were finally able to hold a service in the church building on 29th November. We planned for 4 services during the 4 Sundays of Advent. There have been around 30 at each gathering (our max is 42) and the services have simultaneously been livestreamed. For Advent and Christmas, we have teamed up with 11 other congregations across the city of inverness in a venture called Unlocking Christmas with Hope. A daily message is being broadcast at 6.30pm via social media and there will be online Carol services on December 20th and Christmas Eve at 6.30pm. Peter will be singing one of the carols in the Services. It’s been a blessing to see all these different congregations sharing together in such a united way as we seek to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
On Sundday 27th December, there will be a livestream service at 10am led by Martin Fair, the current Moderator of the Church of Scotland. It’s our hope and plan that our morning services will resume in the church building at 10am on Sunday, 3rd January. Our services in 2021 will all be livestreamed, as we are aware that despite the arrival of a vaccine, it will be a long time before we are able to gather in the way we once took for granted.
As the year draws to a close, it’s encouraging to see some small signs of hope and new beginnings. While our youth group (Nitelife) has been meeting since September in the Church, Sunday Club will be getting back together again for the first time this coming Sunday in the hall at 10am. We hope that Sunday Club will resume on a weekly basis in the hall from 10th January.
The other significant new beginning has been the opening of the Anchor Café at the start of December. Joe and Hannah had planned to open in March, so it’s been a long wait! We are grateful that during the lockdown, they collaborated with both Hilton Family Support and Hilton Church in cooking and delivering meals within the Parish. The Café has been busy from the moment it opened. It’s wonderful to see the buzz around the Lighthouse again, and we wish Joe and Hannah much success in their new venture.
2020 has been a year of radical change. We have been forced to adapt and our experience of Church has been very different. I never imagined for a moment that we would be livestreaming services every Sunday for month after month. The upside of this adaptation is that we have a substantially larger congregation online than we ever had in the building! Thank you for whatever part you shared in the life of our congregation during this challenging year.
2021 lies head of us. We don’t know what the future holds, but along with the hope of an effective vaccine, we are also facing constitutional upheaval, economic uncertainty, high unemployment and climate change. There is a lot of fear and anxiety around about the future. In the midst of these solemn realities, we give thanks for the message of Hope which came with the birth of Jesus.
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you.” Luke (2v10,11)
May we face the uncertainty of our world, with the joy which comes through Christ. I look forward to the day when we can all sing together, “In Christ alone, my hope is found…”
Shona joins me in wishing you a Christmas which is infused with joy and peace.