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Sunday Services are now held at the Parish Church in Scalasaig at 11.30 am, and these are always joint services for both congregations, the Baptist Church and the Church of Scotland. All services are very much an occasion for families and all are welcome on an ecumenical basis.
The Easter Service will be held at the Parish Church this year, like all other scheduled services. This is a particularly joyous annual event and an important family occasion.
Our church was built in 1879 at a cost of over £300, to accommodate up to 100 worshippers, and it has served us faithfully. Although it remains in use for occasional services and is available for weddings and funerals, in the autumn of 2016 we decided to combine with the Church of Scotland congregation in the use of just one building for regular worship. Please join us on Sundays at 11.30 am in the parish church at Scalasaig.
Our manse was built in the 1930s by an outstanding architect, Balfour Paul, with a penchant for unusual roof designs. Over the years the building has been well-maintained, was equipped with both mains electricity and mains water as they became available and benefitted from many improvements, including new windows throughout. Eventually, however, the slates became nail-sick and the roof developed serious problems so that the slates were replaced by a modern material. The curious roof design has had to become rather more conventional, but the appearance has been maintained by a form of trompe l'oeil - the contractors have hung slates vertically to replicate the original shadow effect.
The manse has also been upgraded internally and we hope that it will continue to be attractive to the visiting ministers and preachers who have so faithfully served our tiny congregation. Colonsay is too small to provide a living for a resident minister and we are most grateful that services can be continued despite that difficulty; we are also very glad to be able to share our services with the summer visitors to Colonsay. In winter, our congregation is modest in number, so it is a particular pleasure to see it burgeon somewhat during the summer months.
As from Autumn of 2016, the Baptist Church will no longer be in use for worship on a regular basis, and the two congregations will unite each Sunday at the parish church in Scalasaig. There is a synergy in this decision, and it is good to know that the Baptist Church will still be maintained for occasional services as required, and will be used for important community purposes between times. The decision has concentrated our own minds, and we must now improve our disabled access as a matter of urgency. At present vehicular access is less than perfect, but arrangements are in hand to address the problem; there are also plans to render the curtailage stockproof once again.
Following two recent crises in recent years (two large Georgian windows and the full restoration of the belfry), parishioners are resolved that we must try to avoid such problems in future. So maintenance has become proactive rather than reactive, and to this end a dedicated Fabric Fund has now been established. An annual inspection of both the church and the manse is now undertaken each autumn, so that an annual contract for ongoing and preventative maintenance can be awarded. It is felt that this will make for more appropriate stewardship in this day and age, will be immensely better for the fabric of the buildings, will avoid the waste in time and materials which arises from "make-do-and-mend" and in fact will be much cheaper in the long run.
For clarification, weekly offerings do not go to the Fabric Fund, instead they contribute towards the sum that the parish contributes to Ministries and Mission annually; this amounted to £5,654 in 2016, mostly going towards "the support of our pastors" in every parish, but with about 15% reserved for social care, outreach and the wider work of the Church. Anybody wishing to contribute towards the Fabric Fund is invited to use the specific donations box within the church, or to visit our special page, the Fabric Fund.
The Church of Scotland parish of Colonsay and Oronsay (No. 211300) is a registered Scottish Charity No: SC031271