Remote Highland church invites community to experience Easter
A church in the remote northern Highlands is marking the season of Lent and Easter in a fresh way this year. From pancake parties to reflective services, the Melness and Tongue Church of Scotland are helping their small community to experience the true meaning of Easter.
As the only established church for 40 miles, this Parish is truly at the heart of the two small villages of Melness and Tongue, on the northern coast of Scotland.
After being inspired by the HOPE for Easter resource, Minister Stewart Goudie has been encouraging his congregation to get to know their neighbours even better and invite them along to Easter events.
Over forty people celebrated Shrove Tuesday at four free pancake parties across the community. These took place in people’s homes and members invited other locals to be part of it.
Rev Stewart Goudie said: “With only around 600 people in the whole area we were really pleased with the numbers we had along to the pancake parties, because that represents roughly seven percent of the community. Many of these people were not in touch with the Church before now.”
Many have given up something for lent and committed to donating the funds, usually spent on that habit, to the nearest Hospice which is in Inverness, 90 miles away. This charity was chosen due to fundraising events that had to be cancelled in December, due to the severe snow.
Instead of a traditional communion on Maundy Thursday, the church will hold an interdenominational ‘foot-washing’ service which uses the humbling symbolism to focus on the nature of Jesus, then reflects on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Tying in with this there will be a space all day for quiet contemplation and reflection on Easter Saturday, which is open to all.
Stewart continued: “We aim to make all feel comfortable and part of the sense of community, including those whose usual denominational meeting is too far away. There are plans for a team to complete a Parish tidy-up in Melness and Skerray before Easter. We love the HOPE idea of giving something back to our little community and pointing to Jesus at the same time.”