To Reverend Ross March 28 2016
I’m writing to tell you a story. We have just returned from our annual visit to Scotland. We spend a week or two up in Orkney (we lived there Summer of 2003 and fell in love with the Islands), and then explore a new place. This year we spent a week on Mull and then, at the urging of the writer Kenneth Steven, added Seil to our trip. In 2003-4 we spent a year bicycling through 15 countries of Europe, beginning and ending in Scotland. It is “home” as much as Colorado.
We were completely enchanted with Seil! We usually travel by bicycle – this time we had a car. We drove out to Easdale where we were intrigued by those white-washed row houses from a distance. As we walked around and read, we learned of The Quarry and Slate and the Storms of 1850 (the same storms which revealed Skara Brae in Orkney).
It was nearing the 24 hour check in time for our flight home, as we didn’t have seats together, we were keen to check-in on our phones on the dot. We asked an engaging man who had stepped out of his door, about the possibility of Wi-Fi in the Area. He laughed, declared himself a Philistine about such things and sent us to the shop in Balvicar, where he believed we might find it. Alas no, the gal at the shop said “Oh! But the Kirk had it! Just go in and you’ll find an explanation. She gave directions and off we went.”
When we found your beautiful church perched on the hill we were skepital, wi-fi out here? In a church? But we turned the rusty key in the green door – and there it was: Church4U! We were delighted – logged in- checked in- and went in!
I grew up in the Lutheran Church in a fellowship that had small simple stained glass windows. I loved them even as a young girl. Mesmerized by the play of light and color. So when I saw Kilbrandon’s windows I was drawn in immediately. Of course we watched the video – so progressive in this tiny remote corner of Beautiful Scotland! – and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have ordered every book I can find on St. Brandon from my library. This was last Tuesday 22 March, just days before Good Friday and Easter. We sat in your front pews, contemplating those spectacular windows (it was a bright day outside) and had our Easter moment together there in Kilbrandon Kirk. It was a place my parents would have loved – clearly a place where our Risen Saviour is worshipped and glorified. Afterwards we discovered the notecards and booklet in the back, selected a few, and left our coins in the box. All of it, every moment, embodies the reason we travel – for those unplanned and unexpected gems you stumble upon along the way – this one in a silly quest for Wi-fi! Modern technology led us backwards in time – to the story of a saint to exquisite craftsmanship – to the sacrifice made for each of us and the Celebration of Redemption at the empty tomb. He is Risen, indeed!
We want to thank you – for making your church open and available to visitors – for generous Wi-fi for the effort that went into the video presentation – for the subtle message of hope in it – for unknowingly making possible an Easter moment we’ll never forget. All churches of this calliber operate with a small committed group of key people (often anchored by the Church Ladies!) Please thank them for us also. How we would have loved to worship with you Easter Sunday! I imagined the church filled with flowers, voices raised in triumphant celebration. Perhaps one day we will return to do just that and meet you. God’s peace to you and your congregation. Warmly, Cindy Borden, Colarado.
Editor Note: I hope you all enjoyed reading this letter as much as I did, it was written by hand on a card which had a photo of Yesnaby Sea Stack Orkney. Jean