...will be my second one as the Episcopalian priest in Bute and Cowal (or Cowal and Bute depending on your perspective). It has been a full year - packed with more than I thought one could pack in.
The slight disappointment that there are no ferries to Bute on Christmas Day remains with me: I am unable to share the feast with my church-folk on the island. They now have a tradition of a carols and readings service on that day, which I am sure will be a wonderful time of worship. But I would like to be spending it with them. It was good to share the Christmas quiz with members and friends last week. It will be good to share worship with them tomorrow (St Thomas, tweaked by a day).
Christmas in Dunoon is falling into what seems to be usual pattern, but with some rather significant differences. We will be using a new thurible at midnight mass, and sadly the donor will not be able to swing it himself due to family commitments. But a new thurible will be a pleasure to use, as our prayers rise like incense... And the church in Dunoon is different to last Christmas.
There is the most enormous Christmas tree in the church - getting on for twenty feet high!
The east end windows have started to be treated to prevent damp damage. The chancel arch has been stripped of peeling paint and only leaks water when it's very rainy outside. The tower is still soggy, but we getting a better understanding of why. And all these fabric things are not weighing down the REAL church in Dunoon: the enthusiastic and positive people who make up the lively worshipping community at Holy Trinity.
Oh - and we got a lottery and Historic Scotland grant for nearly £250,000 to fix all that lot. That should help...