Rev. Ivor MacDonald - Hope Church Coatbridge
Each spring for the last two years, Kilmuir, in the beautiful Isle of Skye, has been the base for an experience we call “The Gathering” The Gathering aims to gather around 15 young Christians, mainly but not exclusively from the Free Church and see how God blesses us as we live in community for 5 days or so.
The Gathering doesn’t fall neatly into any category. It’s not Boot Camp, holiday or mission trip although it does have elements of each.
In fact, the Gathering has three aims.
The first is to give exposure to spring work on a Highland croft. For some working with livestock and the land is old, familiar territory. For many, however, being present when a lamb enters the light of day, shaking and sneezing, is a moment of breath-taking beauty that makes the heart soar in awe and wonder of the Creator. Each morning we celebrate the joy of working together and learning about the gift of land.
The second is to enable each individual to grow in their Christian discipleship. Each evening we have a time of worship and training. Training subjects for the future include one to one evangelism and handling the doctrine of sonship. These times are the focal point of our discipleship, but discipleship carries on throughout the day. We believe that shared work and shared fun should be offered up as worship and that some of the best discussion of Christian teaching takes place informally, in the car, walking along the road, working in the field.
The third aim is to be a blessing to the local church and community. The local Free Church congregation have been very kind to us – providing the manse as accommodation in time of vacancy. We want to encourage them by being present at the prayer meeting, Sunday services and bringing the kind of practical help that a group of young people can offer. This year we joined in a community litter pick on one of the beaches.
All of this is laced together with a lot of enjoyment. Afternoons are given over to seeing some of the sights of Skye. With the Quirang around the corner and the sea eagle soaring overhead you don’t need to travel far in order to stand in awe of God’s handiwork.
What might a typical day look like?
Early morning lambing checks for the very keen!
Breakfast plus morning devotions
Work on the croft
Explore the island/activity or chill time
Some quotes from past Gatherings:
“it was great to really be in community together throughout the whole week sharing meals together, working on the croft, touring the island worshipping, discussing the Bible, having impromptu times of prayer and testimony late into the night and just enjoying God’s creation together.”
“the most memorable incident when touring was when Emily was scrambling the rocky Quirang in a pair of pink brogues. This girl always looks good."
“Hearing the psalms sung in Gaelic for the first time was beautiful and having a time of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in church was a treasured memory.”
The Gathering is open to all young people 16 to 30 and there is no cost apart from a share of transport costs and food costs. Next year’s dates are April 14th to 20th 2020. To enquire or book your place get in touch with Ivor MacDonald on [email protected] or 07794441995