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‘The worse the weather, the greater the response’ could well be the motto of West Kintyre with rain of considerable ferocity on the evening of A’Chleit Church’s Guild sale of work.
Undeterred, the supporters donned their foul weather gear and appeared at Tayinloan Village Hall in their droves last Wednesday to buy baking, take a chance at the raffle, purchase from the many stalls and to enjoy a cup of tea, homebaking and a friendly chat.
Pat Rawson said: ‘It was a highly successful evening, from the formal opening by Reverend Mary Pearson at 7.30pm to the final departure of the dedicated band of workers at about 9.30pm, in belated watery sunshine.
‘With so much laughter, camaraderie and sheer good nature, it is sometimes hard to remember that this was in fact a fundraising event, so we were all pleased to be told that the provisional figure for the evening was £1,264.82.’
Pat concluded: ‘In her opening comments, Mary spoke about “generosity of spirit” and the evening demonstrated just that.’
The evening was the final public appearance from Mary and her husband Clive, who has been the provisional minister at the church for the last few months.
The couple will say farewell to Kintyre at a joint service at A’Chleit on Sunday, July 28, at 11.30am.
Mr Pearson told the Courier: ‘Personally it has been a fascinating time for us both. We both have family roots in the area – my great, great, great grandmother was born on a farm at Putechan, Bellochantuy, and Mary’s great, great grandfather was a minister of the Relief Church of Southend, so in a sense we were coming home.’
He continued: ‘It has been lovely to see the beautiful landscape and witness the life of farming. We have marvelled at the majestic views across the Sound to Gigha, and to Islay and Jura, and have felt a continuity with our past.’
In relation to the congregations he said: ‘We have found the three congregations – Gigha, A’Chleit and Clachan – to be very different, but equally attentive to the preaching, in each place listening with patience and appreciation.’
Mr Pearson explained that in a sermon titled ‘Who is my neighbour?’, he used a global warming illustration from the other side of the world to show that ‘our neighbour’, who can be affected by the way we live, may indeed be a resident of a faraway land. He said he tried to give a wider world view of how to be a good neighbour.
Mr Pearson also conducted two series of Bible studies in the congregations, the first on the Gospel of Luke looking at the background to the book, the big themes and how Christians might live now in response. The second was a shorter series on St Paul’s letters, after which he invited people to write letters to St Paul from their congregations; a letter to St Paul from the ‘Clachanites’, the ‘Gighans’ and the ‘Chleiters’.
‘This resulted in fascinating letters’, he said. ‘It allowed people to express how they see their churches and what their hopes are for the future.’
He also commented that although the congregations are small, they are very much at the heart of their communities.
‘A lot of things happen in the churches’, he said. ‘While we have been here there have been art exhibitions, sales of work, flower festivals and teas. There is a strong sense of serving the villages and communities.
‘Although there aren’t many people, they sing so well. That doesn’t happen everywhere. They were happy to sing new hymns too, including some that Mary composed to familiar tunes.
‘One, entitled ‘Who is this man?’, was sung at a combined service centred around music.’
In conclusion he said: ‘We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and I think this ministry has been an important bridge for the congregations from a time of sorrow to the calling of a new minister.’
The Reverend Scott Burton has been called to serve the congregations of Clachan, A’Chleit and Gigha and his induction service will be held in Clachan Church on Saturday August 10 at 2pm.