Great Glen Churches News
GLENGARRY PARISH CHURCH FLOWER FESTIVAL
“Our Highland Home” was the theme of the Parish of Invergarry’s recent flower festival at Glengarry Church. There was fun, laughter and much fellowship over the course of the four days. Families of the congregation swelled the church for a celebratory ‘Songs of Praise’ on the Sunday evening. The amazing sum of £858 was raised over the course of the four days for church funds. These are some of the amazing highlights of the displays which were on view to the public on this memorable occasion.
Sunday 12th August – Service of Dedication for the new church cross + gifted and crafted by Neville Robbins outside Fort Augustus Parish Church Hall.
A public ceremony took place on Sunday 12th August following morning worship. A fascinating history of the cross and the three types of wood used in its making was given by Sonia Robbins. This links in well with the tri-une belief of all Christians as God being Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Rev Anthony Jones received the cross on behalf of the congregation with thanks and made a special prayer of dedication when the cross was blessed. The beautiful cross which may be seen by all visitors to the church and users of the hall is located on the front of the church close to the door. There is a phosperescent coating which provides a light for all to see in the darkness reminding the onlooker that Jesus Christ himself is the ‘light of the world’.
THE CROSS – FORT AUGUSTUS PARISH CHURCH
When Neville Robbins was asked if he would make a cross to be mounted on the exterior wall of Fort Augustus Parish church hall he was moved to create something that would symbolise the Christian faith of the congregation and parishioners.
He used three different timbers for the cross;
The main background is Scottish Wych Elm from Flowerdale Estate in Gairloch. One of the tallest and largest of our native trees, elm has been used as landmarks, hedges and to mark boundaries. Travelling preachers used to preach from beneath the canopy of prominent village trees. Pliant and resistant to moisture this timber is popular for boatbuilding, bridge foundations, cartwheels and also lock gates as it was discovered that the longer the wood was submerged the harder it became. The ‘caman’ or shinty stick is often fashioned from this wood.
The lighter front cross is rebated into the main cross and made from European Larch from Inverewe Gardens. These trees were introduced to the UK in C1620. It is interesting to note that there are two famous European Larch trees in Scotland, The Kailzie Larch planted in 1725 and the 180 yr old Kelburn Weeping Larch in Aryshire voted as one of the 100 heritage trees in Scotland. This is another boatbuilding timber because of it’s waterproof durable properties. It is said that in the construction of the palace of Emperor Augustus larch was used in the foundations.
The base/stand and wall bracket are made of Oak from the Isle of Skye. This particular oak has been quartersawn. This allows the medullary rays, that are the cellular structure, visible to the naked eye, that takes the moisture from the ground up into the outer periphery of the tree, to be seen in flecks within the grain pattern. Oak groves in the advent of Christianity were often the site of the early churches. It is believed that St. Columba had a fondness for oak trees and the early Iona church was constructed of oak. Known for it’s strength, the oak timber has been used throughout history in construction. The royal clan Stewart use the emblem of the oak leaves in the clan badge.
So these three woods represent the Trinity. During the design stage, Neville envisaged something that would create special meaning to those who looked upon the finished cross and chose to inlay a thin line of phosphorescent resin…although this is quite faint it represents the light that shines in the dark.
“Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth”
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. But by his wounds you have been healed.”