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Thursday, 27 August 2009


Hello! We hope you have had a good summer. We've all been away on our holidays and we hope to bring you some stories and pictures from them soon. In the meantime, we have two things we would like to share with you - we're like that you know!

Firstly, we have a giveaway. We were generously donated a large quantity of woodstains, masonery paint and coloured varnish, all very good quality and in a variety of colours. There is more than we can possibly use, so if anybody would like some, please do get in touch with Simon at the workshops (01463) 239615. he has all the details and would be delighted to pass on anything you can make good use of.

Secondly, wherever you are, you may be interested to hear Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche speaking - sadly he's not coming to Inverness, but you can click HERE and watch some videos of some talks he gave in Canada. Jean is very inspiring and we hope you enjoy hearing him.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Hilary Lacroix writes...
Someone recently told me that she hadn't been to a party for about 5 years, which really struck me, as here at L'Arche Inverness, we have parties all the time! In fact it is hard to keep up with them all, as we celebrate everyone's birthday and the anniversary of them coming to L'Arche, as well as house anniversaries, the community anniversary, workshop anniversary, Christmas, New Year, Valentines, Pancake Day, Easter...you name it, we celebrate it!
I have the great blessing of sharing a birthday with Lilias, so most years we get together at some point on our birthday for a bit of cake and a discussion of our festivities. Some years we have celebrated together, and this year Saorsa, Grianan and my family got together to plan us a lovely party.

It goes without saying that food is probably the most important element, and between Thomas' BBQ and Rebecca with a whole host of others in the kitchen, a veritable feast emerged! At least three tables were put together in Saorsa's living room, for about 20 of us to sit down to a fantastic meal, with candles, wine and garden flowers. After birthday blessing songs and prayer, music and jokes flowed - a lot of cheeky ones about age, especially...

Then of course, the cake! Well, three at least! Brought in with due ceremony and song...we birthday girls felt quite spoilt!

During the cake and coffee, presents were given. L'Arche presents are always lovely. There is usually something big from your house, a special something you may have been dropping hints about all year...And then, a plethora of wee gifts from your friends, things which show how well they know you and your habits. Some people, like Mark, will really appreciate pens and notebooks, or a new tie. Angus will love to get cans of coke and crisps, Lilias, perfume and jewellry, Jackie loves flowers and socks. I'm sitting here drinking one of my gifts! Mmmm!
And then there are the cards! So often they are handmade, with original artwork or photos, which again reflect the love of friends. And of course we all like seeing the reaction of the recipient when cards have jokes or play silly tunes!

No party is complete, in good Highland ceilidh tradition, without a bit of music or a dance! And despite the many celebrations, we are all made to feel special on our birthday. Birthdays, after all, are our chance, as Derek puts it, "to say thank you, that you were born".

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Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Hootananny of a Night!

What do you get if you mix a great pub, traditional but lively Scottish music, 20+ members of L'Arche Inverness, countless packets of crisps and enough Coke/lager/coffee/wine to fill the Ness River?

A toe-tapping, jig dancing, glass clinking, crunching & munching, yee-ha of a night out!

I don't think Hootananny's will forget our invasion for a while! But summer is coming, the evenings are long and light and there is a definite spring in our steps - time to get out!

It was a great night for old friends and new to enjoy a drink, listen to some music and have a laugh and a chat.

And did the band play 'Turkey in the Straw?' What do you think...?!

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Saturday, 9 May 2009

Café Review: The Olive Grove

This week we welcomed back ex-assistant, houseleader and long-time friend Ien Tchov for a couple of days. He is currently houseleader in the L'Arche community of Compiegne, France, where he has been for almost two years. It was great to see him again and catch up on news from the wider federation of L'Arche.

During his visit he and Barbara went out for lunch and decided to try out a new café in Inverness. Our roving reporters checked out the newly opened Olive Grove tea room.

The verdict?

We liked: The selection of refreshing tea at 60p a cup! The homemade soup. The homebaking - yum! Even harder to resist at 60p a slice!

Overall: A simple but tasty menu at very affordable prices in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, run by one of the local churches. Barbara says: "This is a good café!"

Thanks very much Ien Tchov and Barbara for trying out The Olive Grove, it sounds like just the sort of place we at L'Arche like going to! Has anyone else visited a good local café or interesting place recently? Do let us know!
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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Remembering Cathol

Today we are remembering a dear friend, Cathol Sutherland, one of the founding fathers of L'Arche Inverness, who died one year ago, on the 33rd anniversary of his coming to L'Arche. Cathol was the Highland heart of our community, often to be found in full kilted garb, walking the grounds of Braerannoch, bagpipes in hand. He was also a beautiful model of what it means to follow Jesus, and he strongly identified himself as a disciple. A welcoming friend to many of us and a much loved member of his family, we still miss his presence among us. Although we feel sad he is not physically with us, we know that this is not the end of the story for Cathol, and it is indeed also in stories that he lives on.

Below is a picture from the 30th Anniversary celebrations of our community. Roddy Ross came to play the pipes for us, and a huge ice-cream cake had just been served. Cathol was able to indulge his twin passions! As Roddy marched up and down the hall, he was followed by Cathol, marching and eating his ice cream. When I think of Cathol, I always have this picture in my mind!

Cathol's gift to us during his last months was one of gentleness and peace. Everyone slowed down around him, and it was a great privilidge to have him live his last few days in Braerannoch, where he died in his own bed, with his family around him, with other members of the house close at hand. Today in remembering Cathol, we remember someone who was really fundamental in making L'Arche Inverness the community that it is. May we be re-inspired to create and share community anew, in the Highland welcome of The Disciple.

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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Friendship Retreat

A group of us from L'Arche Inverness have just come back from a Friendship Retreat held jointly with L'Arche Edinburgh. Five pairs of friends, (core member with assistant) had been preparing for some time beforehand, meeting to share about some important aspects of their freindship, looking for photos, music, everyday objects and anything else that would help them communicate their life journey and special friendship. The retreat was facilitated by members of both communities. We all travelled to The Bield in Perthshire, which is a small but very beautiful place to meet. Each day we started in prayer, then in energetic and enthusiastic ball throwing and stretching outdoors in the spring sun! We told the story of the Road to Emmaus, from the Gospel of Luke, using wooden figures. Two pairs shared their stories each day and although all were different, all were very rich and proundly beautiful. We also had celebrations, times of creativity in the art room, time to talk and reflect, breadmaking, music and song. Some went swimming, others preferred walking in the beautiful gardens. We enjoyed lovely food and plenty of tea breaks! It was really good to make new friendships and deepen existing ones between our two communities. The size of the group meant that the retreat was tailor-made and personalised to the needs and interests of those attending, and it was a joy to see everyone's gifts being utilised and celebrated. It was a very full four days, but a great reminder of what our life in L'Arche is all about: Transforming Relationships.

Check out the slideshow of pictures from the retreat on the top right hand side of the blog. Click on the picture if you want to see it a little larger.

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Looking For...A Houses Co-ordinator

L'Arche Inverness is looking for a new Houses Co-ordinator. This is a leadership role in the community, overseeing the wellbeing of each of the people with learning disabilities who live in the community. The role involves supervision and support of House Leaders, and ensuring that each home lives in a way that satisfies statutory requirements and in the spirit of L'Arche. This is a live out role, but we would be looking for someone who has lived in a L'Arche home or who has a real understanding of L'Arche. The new Houses Co-ordinator will be chosen by a process of discernment, rather than appointment.
Do you feel this could be a role for you or someone you know? We would love to hear from you, and happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact the L'Arche Inverness Office 01463 239615 for more details or an application form.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche, has been interviewed by Mark Tully as part of a radio programme being broadcast this Sunday, April 5th April. Apparantly it was a good recording and it is always inspiring to hear Jean, so do tune in! Here are the details:

Palm Sunday, Radio 4, "Something Understood" programme, which goes out twice that day, at 06.05-06.35 GMT and 23.30-24.00 GMT.

BBC World Service will repeat their version of the programme, 3 times, on:
25 April, 18.32 and 23.32
26 April, 13.32 GMT

Listen online by clicking on this link:

"Something Understood" is a BBC radio series which "examines some of the larger questions of life, taking a spiritual theme and exploring it, normally through music, prose and poetry".

The theme is the deeper spiritual meaning of hospitality.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Community Gathering

Last night the Community met for its monthly Community Gathering at MacTalla. We came together to share a simple (but yummy!) meal and to share news and prayer. We welcomed our visitors, Heather Coogan our Regional Co-ordinator, and Connie, a long term assistant from L'Arche Edinburgh, who are with us for a week.

Of course, we sang a bit and shared some laughter! Everyone seemed to have a good time.

We finished with a wee mime telling a Gospel story, and then a time of prayer together. Everyone is looking forward to our annual Passover Meal and Footwashing at Ness Bank Church, and of course, Easter celebrations (and egg hunt!) at Braeraanoch. You can tell the holidays are coming!
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Friday, 13 March 2009

Early Spring in the Garden

This is one of the busiest times of the year for the L'Arche Garden Workshop - a lot of clearing up after winter, and getting ready for the growing season ahead. Martin (above) keep paths clear, while Lilias and Graham have been preparing the polytunnel for the first seedlings which are already shooting in the greenhouses.

In the Conservatory we are all enjoying a bumper display of peach blossom.

There's not much in bloom in the garden yet, but prayer flags brought back from India by Stephen Pennington, our Committee Chair, add some needed colour.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Meet our new Assistant's Co-ordinator!

We are delighted to introduce you to Brian MacDonald, who was recently asked to be the new Assistant's Co-ordinator. Brian has been part of the community for several years and also brings a lot from his previous work life and his experiences of community. Brian is married to Agnes and they have 5 children. Interested in being an assistant in our Community? Get in touch with Brian!

Brian has been organising times for assistants from our different Community houses to get together, to relax, share something of themselves and their lives. Pictured here is Lysann, Silvie, Mandy,Martina, Coonor and Vladimir with Brian in the woods near Inverness.

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Sunday, 22 February 2009

Easter is coming!

This week we will begin our yearly journey towards Easter, as we start Lent on Wednesday. Fr. Chris Hughes, our pastoral minister and old friend, will be with us for the week, offering community members the chance of spiritual accompaniment, and to help us on our way. Of course we will be gathering this week to eat pancakes!
Signs of spring are slowly appearing, but in the meantime, in The Snug, Fiona, Rebecca and Lilias have been busy creating artwork with a spring theme, to bring colour and new life in these still-cold days.

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