Keil’s St Columba’s conventicle

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Words and Pictures Mark Davey

A pair of ministers, a piper, members of Campbeltown Brass and a congregation gathered illegally, for we were told that is the meaning of conventicle by Reverend Rodger Crooks.

The outdoor service, last Sunday evening, on the site of St Columba’s footprint, just west of Keil about half-a-mile from Southend village, marked 1455 years since the Irish missionary landed in Kintyre.

Southend piper Fraser MacBrayne, 15, opened the musical part of the evening with ‘The bluebells of Beinn Ghuilean,’ before St Blaan’s Church of Scotland minister, Reverend Steve Fulcher introduced the service.

Campbeltown Brass members, led by Katrina Barr, who has been playing at the conventicle for nearly 30 years, accompanied all three hymns: ‘Lord of Creation,’ ‘Amazing Grace‘ and ‘Lord for the Years.

In his sermon, guest speaker, Reverend Rodger Crooks of Campbeltown Free church told of his own journey from Northern Ireland and  spoke of St Columba’s three loves: the Bible, Jesus and love for the people.

Reverend Crooks told how the Gaelic speaking St Columba and his monks offered rudimentary education and a form of health service, with people visiting monasteries when they were sick.

Following the service all were invited back to St Blaan’s hall for refreshments provided by Rev Fulcher and his parishoners.

There was a collection for the Campbeltown Kidney Dialysis Fund.

4th Argyll scouts handed out order of service brochures. From left: Emma Barbour, Jean Ives, Stephen Chinn and Ruairi Barbour. 25_c24conventicle02

Part of the conventicle congregation. 25_c24conventicle11

Scouts were on hand to assist people climbing the steps. From left: Eryne Barr, John Ives, Craig Barbour and Connor Barr. 25_c24conventicle03

St Columba’s footprint with Campbeltown Brass warming up in the background. Amy Paterson centre has taken extreme measures to discourage the midges. 25_c24conventicle04

Reverend Rodger Crooks preaches the sermon. 25_c24conventicle08