Portree and Bracadale Free Church: New Building Officially Opened

Celebrations have taken place to mark the official opening of Portree and Bracadale Free Church’s new building, Shepherd’s Way Church. 

Celebrations have taken place to mark the official opening of Portree and Bracadale Free Church’s new building, Shepherd’s Way Church. 

Professor Bob Ackroyd, Free Church of Scotland Moderator officially opened the building on Saturday 3rd February. Over 360 people from around the country attended the event. It was an opportunity for the congregation and community to celebrate together. 

It follows a mammoth venture to fundraise and build a new church on Shepherd’s Way, in Portree. 

Rev Donnie G Macdonald said: “The building may be complete, but the work is not over; now the hard work truly begins. When God has provided so clearly all that was needed for the facility at Shepherd’s Way to exist, we know that it has a purpose, that he has a plan. God does not do vanity projects. This should fill us with expectation and excitement, but also with newfound energy for the work of the Gospel.  

“We know that no matter what difficulties or challenges we face, “our labour will not be in vain in the Lord”. As in the parable of the talents which Jesus told, the Master has put resources in our hands and he expects us to use them for his glory. Shepherd’s Way is not a cosy couch for us to relax in (although sometimes it will serve that purpose), it’s a tool to use to serve our Christ and to serve the community we love, in Jesus’ name.  

“As we do so we should expect to see great things happen. Every room, and every chair, and every parking place has a purpose. We must work, we must watch and pray, we must plant and water, and we can do so with the confidence that ‘God will give the increase’.” 

Donnie said that buying the site at Shepherd’s Way over a decade ago was an exercise of faith. He said: “We had the land but not much else, other than the faith to believe that one day we would build on it. After many, many, twists and turns, the Deacons’ Court found itself sitting in Charlie Chrichton’s garage one evening deciding whether to sign a contract that would cost much more money than we had. We decided to trust God and exercise faith. Before the meeting ended, we had an unexpected donation of £100,000 – and so the journey began; a journey where over and over again, God provided just enough to pay each bill but never so much as to stop us praying. We felt like we were spectators watching God at work. So much so, that now as we look at Shepherd’s Way Church we can only say, “this is the doing of the Lord and wondrous in our eyes”. God did not disappoint. 

“As a church family we are closer now than we’ve ever been. We know each other better now than we have ever done. We’ve had the blessing of working together with a common purpose and goal. We have seen body ministry at work where each person was able to use their particular gifts to contribute to the project, and in doing so we more fully realised the beauty of the union we have in Christ. My joy was seeing all that everyone was doing and recognising that you were all doing it for Jesus, and out of your love for him. When we work together in the love of Christ, and because of our love for Christ, it is then we experience the closest fellowship; and it is sweet.” 

Mission Director David Meredith said the new build “reflects the creativity of God” and he encouraged the congregation to use the building, look after it and sing in it. 

Prof Bob Akroyd said: “Over the years, I have had the privilege of preaching in Portree. It was a particular pleasure to join you on the weekend of February 3 and 4. I enjoyed seeing the Shepherd’s Way Church in person. It’s great to have a new building but so much remains the same. You have the same minister preaching the same message. You have the same saviour who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is mighty to save and he is mighty to sustain. God remains faithful and God’s word remains powerful and true. I know that God has done great things in Portree. It is my hope and prayer that God would use this new building to reach new people with the good news of Jesus.” 

During the official opening time was taken to say thank you to some of those who played a significant part in the development of Shepherd’s Way Church. Dr Crichton received a gift in recognition of his time spent as chair of the building committee and the work undertaken as treasurer. Dolina MacLeod was recognised for her time and dedication in obtaining over £100,000 in grants from philanthropic funds across the country. Robert and Mary Macqueen, the team behind the building contractor RK Joinery, led and delivered the building project.  

Presentations were also made to Nick Lawton and Colin Armstrong who gave of their time and skills throughout the project but unfortunately were unable to be at the event.  

Thanks goes to Peter MacDonald and others who gave their time and skills during preparation for the event and on the day itself.  

On Sunday 4th February Shepherd’s Way Church was full for the morning service led by Prof. Bob Ackroyd. Before the evening service a time of fellowship was enjoyed with an opportunity to listen to Donnie G and Bob Ackroyd in conversation about Bob’s life, his work in prisons and his views on the positive future for the Free Church of Scotland. This included the need for more church buildings, more ministers and more church workers across the country.  

The Lord’s Supper was observed after the evening service to round off what was a wonderful weekend for Portree and Bracadale Free Church.  

  • During the weekend over £8,000 was raised towards the ongoing loan repayments. Fundraising activities will continue at pace.