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A pair of married preachers have bid a fond farewell to their joined congregations as they retire from parish ministry after a decade in South Kintyre.
Reverends Steve and Christine Fulcher moved to Southend in 2012, having served in parishes on Islay and in the Borders previously.
Steve had trained for ministry at the University of Cambridge, and Christine had just finished her training at the University of Aberdeen, and had recently been ordained.
They came to Kintyre to serve the newly linked parishes of Saddell and Carradale with Southend.
Many people thought this was a strange arrangement given the distance between the places, but the union proved successful.
After a short time, the Presbytery of Argyll changed the arrangement, moving Christine to Clachan, A’Chleit and Gigha for a while, where she initiated the Prayer Shawl Ministry.
Soon after that, Christine had to move again and began a very successful ministry as associate minister at Kilmore and Oban Parish Church for five years.
During this time, she was also a founder member of Kintyre Food Bank.
Steve continued to serve in Carradale and Southend throughout this period, and was particularly pleased to re-establish youth groups and children’s clubs in both parishes, as well as getting involved with primary schools and at Campbeltown Grammar School.
In 2020, the group was enlarged to include Campbeltown’s Highland Parish Church and, at this point, Steve and Christine were able to work together as a ministry team in South Kintyre – just weeks before Covid and lockdown.
However, the congregations remained united online, and were pleased to return to meeting together in person at the first opportunity.
A farewell service of all three congregations took place at the Highland Parish Church last Sunday.
This was followed by a social event in Kirk Street Hall on Monday, where presentations were made to Christine and Steve in appreciation of their work.
The couple are moving to Kilmelford, near Oban, where Christine will be working part-time for the Church of Scotland Guild, and Steve will be supporting adults with learning disabilities.