Healthy Church Gatherings in the Western Isles

People from congregations across the Western Isles have met to share ideas, enjoy fellowship, and pray together at a series of gatherings last week.  

Healthy Church Gatherings were held at North Uist Free Church on Wednesday, North Harris Free Church on Thursday and the Rev M A Macleod Memorial Hall in Stornoway on Friday evening. The aim was to meet together to look at the Free Church of Scotland’s vision for A healthy Gospel Church for Every Community in Scotland.

One participant said it was “a chance to think about how to grow in unity”. Another said it was useful to hear “lots of ideas from many other congregations.”

Two main sessions were held each evening. The first session focussed on what it means to be a healthy Christian and what a healthy Church looks like. Andrew Giffen, CEO of the Free Church of Scotland, spoke about these topics, with opportunity for discussion around tables.

The second session looked at what a healthy denomination looks like. Rev David Meredith, Mission Director, spoke about church redevelopment and the need for more ministers within the denomination and Rev Neil MacMillan, Church Planting Director, spoke about church planting and the vision for 30 new churches by 2030. There were opportunities for comments and questions, and feedback. Sarah Robinson, Communications Manager, gave an update on communications.

Video updates from several churches were given throughout the sessions for encouragement and sharing ideas in addition to times of feedback and discussion around tables.

Thanks goes to the teams at North Uist Free Church, North Harris Free Church and Stornoway Free Church for hosting the gatherings and for their hospitality.

If you attended the event and would like to give feedback, please do so here.

More Healthy Church Gatherings will be taking place this year, so do lookout for a gathering near you.

Dates for your diary:

  • Saturday 13th May – Inverness, Lochaber & Ross Presbytery: Smithton Free Church, Murray Road, Smithton, Inverness, IV2 7YU (9.30am for coffee, 10am start, 1.30pm finish, bring a packed lunch to eat together after the event finishes)
  • Saturday 2nd September: Edinburgh Gathering (9.30am for coffee, 10am start) Venue TBC
  • Tuesday 26th September: Skye & Wester Ross Presbytery: Portree (6.30pm for coffee, 7pm start, 9.30pm finish)
  • Wednesday 27th September: Skye & Wester Ross Presbytery: Kyle Free Church (6.30pm for coffee, 7pm start, 9.30pm finish)
  • Thursday 28th September: Skye & Wester Ross Presbytery: Aultbea Free Church (6.30pm for coffee, 7pm start, 9.30pm finish)
  • Saturday 30th September: Northern Presbytery: Venue and time TBC

Andrew Giffen, CEO of the Free Church of Scotland, said: “These gatherings are a great opportunity for us to come together and encourage one another in growing in spiritual health both as individuals and in our lives together as a congregation. We want to see healthy Christians, healthy churches and an increasingly healthy denomination. We will be thinking about what God wants the church to be, and how all of us can play a part in growing health in our congregations. There will be time for discussion, prayer and also worship together as a presbytery gathering.”

To book your place, go to: Healthy Church Gatherings – Free Church of Scotland

We look forward to seeing you there!