Category Archives: Mission

Draft basis of union Dalriada Mid Argyll

The congregations of Ardrishaig Parish Church (Church of Scotland) (SC010713), Glassary, Kilmartin & Ford Parish Church of Scotland (SC002121), Lochgilphead Church of Scotland (SC016311), North Knapdale Parish Church of Scotland (SC001002) and South Knapdale Parish Church (Church of Scotland) (SC010782) shall be united on 1st January 2023, or from a date to be determined by Presbytery, and that on the following terms and conditions:

1. Name: The name of the united congregation shall be Dalriada Mid Argyll (Church of Scotland) and SC001002 will be retained.
2. Transference of Property and Funds: The property and funds belonging to or held on behalf of each congregation shall belong to or be held on behalf of the united congregation and any transference necessary shall be duly effected.
3. Places of Worship: The Places of worship of the united congregation shall be as determined in The Presbytery Mission Plan (See note below). All buildings designated (b) shall be sold, let or otherwise disposed of subject to the titles on which it is held, subject to the approval of the Presbytery and, if necessary, the General Trustees or the General Assembly. The free proceeds of any such sale or let shall: (a) if falling within the scope of Act VII 1995, be credited to the benefit of the congregation in the Consolidated Fabric Fund; or (b) if not falling within the scope of the said Act, be held and applied for fabric purposes in connection with the properties of the congregation. Services shall be conducted at times to be decided by the Minister and Kirk Session, subject to the approval of Presbytery.
4. Territorial Responsibility: The bounds to be served by the united charge shall be designated as the bounds of the parishes of Ardrishaig, Lochgilphead, Glassaray, Kilmartin & Ford, North Knapdale and South Knapdale, or as the Presbytery shall determine.
5. Kirk Session: The elders of all five Kirk Sessions shall form with the minister the Kirk Session of the united congregation.
6. Congregational Management: The temporal affairs of the united congregation shall be administered by the Kirk Session in terms of the Unitary Constitution, the Delegation of Assembly being authorised to issue the appropriate Deed of Constitution to the said congregation.
7. Minister: The Rev David Carruthers, currently minister at Ardrishaig lw South Knapdale, shall be the minister of the united charge in terms of Presbytery Mission Plan Act (Act VIII, 2021) Section 8.
8. Manse: The manse of the congregation of Ardrishaig shall be the manse of the united congregation. The manses of the congregations of Lochgilphead and Glassaray, Kilmartin & Ford shall be sold, let or otherwise disposed of, subject to the titles on which they are held, and subject to the approval of the Presbytery and, if necessary, of the General Trustees or the General Assembly. The free proceeds of any such sale or let shall: (a) if falling within the scope of Act VII 1995, be credited to the benefit of the congregation in the Consolidated Fabric Fund; or (b) if not falling within the scope of the said Act, be held and applied for fabric purposes in connection with the properties of the congregation.
9. Ministerial Support: The stipend of the charge shall be paid in accordance with the terms of the National Stipend Scheme.
10. Power to Readjust: While the articles and terms shall form the Basis of Union for the five congregations now uniting, the united congregation shall be free, like other congregations, to adjust arrangements under the authority of Presbytery as need may arise.

Note: Presbytery Mission Plan Buildings Designations

Approved 14th June 2022 

Glassary, Kilmartin & Ford Church (New Building)



Glassary Church NR 859 935

Under Offer


Glassaray, Kilmartin & Ford Manse 



Tayvallich Church NR 741 871



Bellanoch Church NR 797 924



Lochgilphead Church NR 864 883



Lochgilphead Hall



Lochgilphead Manse



Ardrishaig Church NR 852 852



Ardrishaig Church Hall 



Ardrishaig Manse (Occupied by Minister UT)


Achahoish Church (South Knapdale)



The last newsletter

Welcome to 2021!   A new year to look forward to, an opportunity to review our lives, and to consider our life’s journey.    Superficially, we make resolutions to “do better” or to “do more”, or to “do less”!   Whatever we think of, we look to change something.    At the end of 2020 there was much talk about a new beginning in 2021, throw off the disappointments and frustrations of Covid dominated 2020, and get on with our lives properly in 2021.   Well here we are – New Year, new lockdown – I have felt quite stunned at this reversion to our limited activities, our closed homes and so little social contacts.    But…. we have learned a little of how best to organise our lives in this “new normal”, we hear of the roll out of the vaccine, and the increased understanding of how best to treat those infected, so there is definite hope in our hearts for a better time ahead.  

One aspect of our situation which saddens me is the growing adoration of “science” as the saviour from our woes.  In the media, “Science” has taken on a personality – we trust in “the science” to get us out of trouble, to defeat the “virus”, to heal our people.   Now I agree – science is a wonderful system of research and study, many people have discovered thousands of amazing and life saving techniques by applying a scientific system to studying our world, but it is a system, not a “being”. 

It is people, not “the science”, who by applying their gifts of thinking and designing who are making the discoveries and inventions which we can use to overcome Covid and so many other terrible diseases.  

What wonderful abilities we have as people.   People mysteriously made in the image of God.  As we consider the clinicians and researchers who developed the Covid vaccines, as we give thanks for the new treatments and skills of our doctors, nurses, and other medics, remember to give the ultimate thanks to God, the ultimate clinician and technologist, who gave us the abilities and curiosity we have to learn through scientific systems, give thanks to Jesus Christ, whose life and love have opened the way for our lives to be complete and fulfilled with Him, and give thanks to the Holy Spirit whose inspiration and guidance have led into such an abundance of knowledge and discovery. 

I have been considering this weekly Newsletter for a few weeks now.   Should I restart as previously?   This was begun in March last year as a vehicle for communication to the congregation of North Knapdale, and I expected it to be for a month or two.   It has gone on a bit longer.   It was also something which I thought would keep things “ticking over” until we could get back to normal.   This was really a forlorn hope, and we can safely say now that North Knapdale Church, and all churches across Scotland and beyond, will never get “back to normal”.

If we can let this “normal” go, and look forward and trust that God is doing something more, something different with his people, if we can stand back and allow Jesus to build His church in His way and then join in, then I think we will see wonderful things happening in the Kingdom of God – here and elsewhere.

Twice this week I have been drawn to readings where God’s people are told to “be still” and let God get on with it.    Both are in times of trouble and anxiety, in times of fear and uncertainty. 

The first is in Exodus Ch 14 verse 13.   The Hebrews have escaped from Egypt, but their initial euphoria at freedom and victory has been dashed by the reality of coming up against a new challenge – the Red Sea.   The old enemy, the Egyptian army is pursuing them from behind, and ahead it looks like their freedom has been dashed by the barrier of the Red Sea.   Trapped between the army of their foes, and the impassable waters.    They are worried, and fearful and rushing about trying to do something, anything, to get out of their situation – go back to captivity, give in to Egypt, no apparent way ahead.   

This is what Moses says: 

 “Do not be afraid.   Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He shall accomplish for you today….”    

What a promise this is – and an instruction.  When we are uncertain, when we are anxious, when the past seems to be coming back to get us and the future is a big barrier – “Stand still”.    Stop rushing around, calm your activities, the situation is beyond you, but wait and see what God is going to do.    God opens up the sea, and they walk across in the dry land.  

How many Hebrews saw that coming!     There are times when standing still is all you can do – and trust in what our amazing God will accomplish.

The second reading is in 2 Chronicles Ch 20 vs 15 to 22, and it is too long to write here so look it up to read yourselves.   Again the Hebrews are stuck with an overwhelming enemy army coming to get them.   They don’t know what to do or where to go – and the Spirit of the Lord says through one of the leaders: 

“Do not be afraid or dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s…… will not need to fight in this battle…”

This is a time, I think, for us to “Stand still” to wait to see what God is doing.   To recognise that the battle is not ours, but God’s.   No rushing about, or bright ideas, or quick solutions, for us and our church.     

We wait, and pray, and praise, for we do know that God is working and will bless us, as we wait.

Sometimes it is difficult to stand still, but let’s do that and see the amazing work of God for his Kingdom.

As part of that standing still I am going to stop this newsletter as a regular item.   I will send out important information, and items of interest when they come in, but for the moment I will be silent, and I would ask that we all, together, listen and look out for, and welcome the ways that we see God working as we stand waiting – who knows how we will see the Red Sea parting!



Help for malawi

The Mid Argyll Churches Malawi Twinning Group sent £4000 out to our friends in Kasamba Church to help them with protective supplies for the Covid Pandemic. The minister of their church, Rev. Custom Kapombe, whom some of you will have met, has sent this report on how the money was spent. There are lots of lovely pictures in the report and a breakdown of where the money was spent.

Digital church conFerence

On Monday David and I took part in the digital church conference. There were about 65 participants and it was also very interesting with time for breakout rooms to chat in small groups.

The speakers were Rev. Albert Bogle, a former Moderator of the General Assembly, Dr. Peter Phillips, professor of Digital Theology at Durham University, Neil MacLennan a tech person, and Laura Digan, a very charismatic and bubbly trainee minister.

Dr Peter Phillips explained that the church has always mediated religion with e.g. icons, religious paintings. Now we are mediating religion digitally.

Church is a community expression of our faith – online or offline – or should we just call it “church”?

Dr. Phillips then went on to explain the three uses of technology in church:

1. To enable offline church – like having a website to engage with members and invite non members to attend traditional church – “come to our building”. The focus is “bums on seats”

2. To extend offline church into online activities – first week of lockdown some churches broadcast a service from an empty church. We the congregation were spectators rather than participants.

3. Disrupting offline church through online church – second week of lockdown – interactive service broadcast eg leaving a space for silent prayer so the spectators can feel connected and participate. Using zoom or Facebook live the spectators can truly participate. Not only is God present in each physical location He is also present “online”.

Sanctuary First is an expression of online church. (They even have on online cafe running 10-12 every weekday. Go on their website and have a look).

We then had break out groups where we talked about what we were already doing.

The main issues were:

digital availability ie poor internet connections in rural places

no Internet access for majority of elderly members.

God is in the digital space as well as the physical locations

God can and does make things Holy on line.

After lunch we reconvened with Neil MacLennan speaking about the technical issues.

He talked about zoom being a very useful platform for meetings and that the congregations should keep going with their functional meetings. He referred to property committees and finance committees etc but we don’t do so much of that. He did say that on line kirk session meetings are fully legal.

Doing large tech is a team game where one person looks after the tech side of the meeting while others run the talking side. 

He suggested three different ways of doing online church:

One to many ie live streaming a service, like watching tv.

Some to some ie a few people meeting together as church on the zoom platform.

Some to many ie the leaders using zoom and live-streaming that to many. After the livestream everyone can have their own coffee and chat on zoom.

For all this to work he says it is necessary to get help and pay money!

He had some tips on what to do which were helpful:

Take it easy

Get young people to help

Pick the low hanging fruit


If all you do is phone 2 people a day that is good.

Next speaker was Rev Albert Bogle on Rebooting the church

“A new kind of networked congregation may well emerge, one no longer defined by location”

Our immediate challenge is:

Grieving for what has been lost

Pastoral burden of ministry

Reluctantly embracing technology

The financial challenge

Reconnecting to our core calling.

He said if all we do is try to keep the institution afloat we have missed the point. John ch4v23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” This is what Jesus said when the woman at the well wanted to know where the correct place to worship is. The physical location is not important!

There have been discussions on the legality of communion taken on line. Alberts view is that actual physical communion – is it even authentic – communion is only a foretaste.

He said “How many buildings are going to survive the virus?

We need to think about networking with other churches and non church organisations. Think about how the early church worked. The network has to be bigger – worldwide.

We then had another breakout group where we were to discuss the question:

How then would thinking like a “Networking Church” begin to change the way we approach mission and the gifting of the churches at the moment as well as looking to the future?

This was a difficult question for the ministers in the group to answer as all they seemed to be thinking about was how to keep their own congregation gathered. They didn’t quite grasp the networking idea.

I’ve got loads of ideas running around my head but I won’t explain them just now!

The last speaker was Laura Digan who was filled with enthusiasm and talked about how the Holy Spirit was just as active online as anywhere else.

We were absolutely exhausted after the conference just because it was online for 4 hours including a lunch break. Apparently it gets easier the more you do.

Talk 23 Feb 2020

Today, as we get ready to begin the period of Lent, our approach to the wonder and drama of Easter, we are directed towards looking into this mysterious event in the life of Jesus and His disciples – what we know as the “Transfiguration” of Jesus on the mountain side.

Like so many events in the gospel, this is loaded with meaning, with symbol, and with instruction – pointing us to the truth, the amazing significance, of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and gives us such a jolt towards the conclusion – “surely this man was the Son of God”.

Readings: Exodus 24v12 to 25v9:
The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”
Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”
When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

Matthew 17v1-8:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one but Jesus.

We have heard two stories here, thousands of years apart, in Exodus, at the beginning of the formation of the Hebrew nation as the people of the living God.   Refugees moving towards their promised land, and then later, in Galilee, in the midst of the life of the Messiah, Jesus, taking His disciples to a new understanding of His place as Son of God.  Two very different events, in very different cultures.

Moses is called by God up the mountain to speak with God, Jehovah, and receive instructions for His people.  There are some similarities with Jesus story – Moses waited six days before God called him to his presence, Moses met God in a cloud, but there the similarities dissolve.

Jesus waited six days in Galilee before going up the mountain, and yes he did seem to go into a cloud to meet God, no, to meet Elijah and Moses.   

Moses was meeting God for 40 days – Jesus was in His meeting for a few hours possibly.

Moses is given lengthy instructions on what God wants his people to do:   we often only think that this is when Moses was given the ten commandments – yes, but these were already given to him on a previous meeting with God.   This time God first gives extremely detailed instructions as to how to build “The Tabernacle” – a tent like building in which God could visit and instruct His people – or at least the chief priest of his people.

There are 7 chapters following Moses meeting with God in which Moses recites the instructions of God as to how to build the tabernacle, how to furnish it, how to prepare the priests, how to dress the priests and then finally who to use to build it all.    Then God writes the ten commandments on to stone tablets – and gives them to Moses.

God is saying, I have given you rules to live by, and made promises to you to be your God, but I need to keep communication open with you always – and to do that you need to make this very precious, and very holy and complex building, with special furniture, and specially prepared people in symbolic clothing into which I can come to meet you and you need to get the details absolutely right – its got to be perfect   

God is saying to Moses, we are so far apart, so different, we need to have extraordinary preparations before we can come near each other.

Let’s go back to Peter, James, and John, up the mountain with Jesus.

Jesus does not go into a cloud, but he himself is changed – transfigured, transformed in some mysterious way – He shines like the sun, his clothes become dazzling white – and he is joined by two others – Moses and Elijah – the two outstanding prophets and leaders of the Hebrew nation, the chosen people.  Two people who have been recorded in the scriptures as knowing God.

It is as if Jesus is entering another dimension, he has stepped out of the material present in Galilee and is with others from another life time – or to put it another way, he has drawn the others from their eternal life place, into His presence in Galilee.   This is sounding like “science fiction”, isn’t it – I would rather call it “Spiritual reality” – it is beyond our normal human experience – but really – Jesus is showing the disciples that he is more than a man, He is giving them a glimpse of His divinity.   

Peter, as you can imagine is deeply affected by this – he recalls this later in his letter – 

“We didn’t follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses to His majesty.  Eye witnesses – we saw His majesty – , God revealed in Jesus.”

Moses was given 7 chapters of detail as to how to prepare a place where God could talk to his people.

God gives us 16 words of instruction on the mountain with Jesus as to how God can talk to His people:

“This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased, listen to Him”

If you want to hear what I am saying to you – listen to Jesus.

If you want to know how I would like you to live – listen to Jesus.

If you want to know my will for you – listen to Jesus.

I do not need special buildings any more, I do not look for special clothes, I do not need you to appoint special people.   

Here is Jesus – This is my Son, He represents everything of me, listen to Him.

This is not complicated, it is not easy, it asks for commitment, it asks for faith, it asks for trust – but it is not a complicated message.

This is my Son, Listen to Him.

You know, in talking to people, in reading stories of Christian lives, in hearing people speaking of their Faith in Jesus, I have heard many people say that they came to follow Jesus after reading one of the Gospels, reading of Jesus life and words, His teaching and His actions.

I have never come across anyone who came to faith in him after reading Genesis, or Exodus, or even the Psalms.

People come to know God through the life of Jesus. 

It was not an empty phrase that God gave to Peter, James and John as they watched with awe as Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah.   These words are the very essence of life for all.

Here is Jesus – transformed before you, here is Jesus moving beyond your material existence into the realm of eternity, into the place of continuing life – into timeless reality

Here is Jesus – my Son, Living God of creation and all that is

Listen to Him.

How simple, how uncomplicated, how welcoming, 

As we read the Gospels again and again – as we refresh our memories of the words, actions, promises of Jesus.

So we hear again and again His words.   We hear His words, are we listening.

And so as we live our lives:   Are we listening?.   What has he said to us in the past, how has he led us up to now?  and – 

What is He saying, to you, to me, to us, for our lives, for our actions, for our Faith in Him. – for our comfort, and our challenge –  

What is He saying – Are we listening – today


House Group

House group is generally hosted by David and Louise on a Tuesday evening at 3 Braeface. Each evening is different with sometimes a dvd, sometimes discussion, questions, prayers, songs and always tea and cake. Everyone is welcome to join in, just phone first to confirm it’s on.

Tuesday 3 March we have a guest, Rev Alan McWilliam, former minister of Whiteinch Church of Scotland. Alan will be talking about the Biblical model of church team leadership based on Ephesians 4 v 11 – 13. Come along and find out about APEST!

Informal notes on the meeting on Mission Development Planning for the Mid Argyll Parishes: 17.9.19

David Caruthers opened the meeting with prayer.

David Caruthers and Hilda Smith both stressed that we should be looking at the next 10 to 20 years, beyond their likely current tenure as ministers.

It was noted that other areas, such as Dunoon and Campbeltown were also going through a similar review of their structures and developing their plans for the future which involved the churches in their areas coming together through linkages and unions, with a reduced number of ministers.

A suggestion was made that, as Presbytery was considering appointing a “Chaplain to Farmers” this may be a post which could be incorporated into Mid Argyll.

The use of technology to bring sermons and other worship materials into churches was suggested to reduce the load on individuals leading worship over a number of church buildings.

It was suggested that we should as a group identify the tasks which the “new church” wanted to achieve, and then consider the resources required to achieve this, and then look at the type of personnel and structures to best carry this through.

The point was made that, while looking to focus on mission to develop the church, it would also be incumbent on the church to look after and nurture the existing members, particularly where it was apparent that membership was dying out.  

It was noted that a ministers are required to carry out Weddings and baptisms, and to some extent funerals, although the Church of Scotland is providing training for readers to carry out funerals.

A proposal was made to divide mid Argyll into two “areas”.   Ardrishaig joined with North and South Knapdale, and Lochgilphead joined with Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford.    This would avoid displacing the current ministers but would increase their responsibilities, membership and populations.   One further Mission Development person could be employed to encourage mission across the two areas.

Another suggestion was made that the area could come under one minister giving leadership to a team of two Mission Development people working across the whole area and also working with, training and encouraging members to do mission activities.

In both the above scenarios local worship could continue to take place with input from Local Worship Leaders, Readers, and other lay members.

With either of the above scenarios  funding for a third post would have to be applied for, although the Church of Scotland is planning to disburse funding to Presbyteries for such posts through the saving accruing centrally under the reduction of staff in the Radical Action Plan. 

It was agreed that this was a starting point for discussions and that for future meetings, two people from each parish, plus the two ministers, attend to represent the views of the members.

The next meeting was set for the 1st October 2019, at Lochgilphead Parish Hall.

Norma Kelly and Kim Ritchie have agreed to attend from North Knapdale.