Great Glen Churches News
CHURCHES NATIONAL 2021 ‘LOCK DOWN’
& REOPENING AND REEMERGENCE OF CHURCHES
As of 6th January, 2021 the national church was in a state of ‘lockdown’. It was hoped that this would not be for too long and, that our churches would be able to return to normal life again. The then position was that the ‘lock down’ was expected to last until early April. This meant that all Sunday services were suspended until further notice. All places of worship in Scotland were then closed. Exceptions were permitted during this time with the restriction sadly that only twenty people maximum were allowed at funeral services in church and five people only allowed at church weddings. Until the ‘lockdown’ ended, public baptisms and ordinations were not permitted. The Great Glen churches reopened again in April, 2021 following all the latest restrictions in place, including attendance capacity. Attendance was recorded with the national ‘track/trace’ system.
We are now very pleased to record that as of April, 2022, all national restrictions affecting places of worship have now been removed. Face coverings are no longer required by law. They may be worn at services of worship but, this is by personal choice.
LOOK BACK AT NEWS IN THE GLEN
MARIA FRANCES GIBBONS RETIRES AFTER 14 YEARS HEADTEACHER
AT KILCHUIMEN ACADEMY & PRIMARY SCHOOL
Ms Gibbons spoke warmly about her time as the Headteacher at Kilchuimen Academy in her final farewell assembly address to the school at the annual Christmas service and Prizegiving at Fort Augustus Parish Church of Scotland on Friday 20th December, 2019. Thanking both teaching staff and pupils for the team work and support through an exciting time of challenge and accomplishment. Rev Jones gave personal thanks in his prayers for Ms Gibbons years as Headteacher and thanks were expressed by Susan Knott on behalf of the school Pictured making the presentation to Ms Gibbons are house captains Miles Jones and Jade Anderson.
SCHOOLS CELEBRATE HARVEST
AT GLENGARRY & FORT AUGUSTUS CHURCHES
‘HEROES’ – SUMMER HOLIDAY CLUB 2019
‘MAD HATTER’S TEA PARTY’ – SATURDAY 15th JUNE, 2019
A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED
A GREAT DAY WAS HAD BY ALL
Just see if you can find yourself?
Easter in the Great Glen
Easter Public Profession of Faith, Confirmation & Admission to the Lord’s Supper, 2019
Pictured are Samuel Jones (the Minister’s son) and Hazel Underwood who were confirmed as new members of the Church of Scotland by Reverend Anthony Jones, and welcomed by the Kirk Session and a packed congregation during the Easter Day service and celebration of Holy Communion at Fort Augustus Parish Church.
Christmas in the Great Glen
GLENGARRY PARISH CHURCH FLOWER FESTIVAL
“Our Highland Home” was the theme of the Parish of Invergarry’s last 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.
The ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party & Family Fun Day’ was held in the Church and Manse grounds at Fort Augustus in 2018 when we were joined by our friends from the community and the Roman Catholic Church who shared with us in our joint baking table reached a grand total of £533.87 (£603 gross with the ecumenical baking table) excluding any recent donations. The ‘Mad Hatter’s’ was in aid of local churches and schools which all benefited from the tea party.
This was an amazing result and a magnificent achievement for everyone involved to have been able to do this in the space of just 4 hours! Thanks to everyone who took part in this.
Pictured above receiving the cheques at the recent End of Term School Prizegiving Ceremonies from Reverend Anthony Jones is Yvonne Walker at the handshake, Kilchuimen Primary School Depute Headteacher and for Kilchuimen Academy on behalf of Maria Frances Gibbons, Headteacher are House Captains Stewart McArthur and Millie Saunders.
For a fuller pictorial report of the grand occasion see the ‘Appeals’ page photo gallery.
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.”