Pilgrims visit Kilchattan Church

On Thursday 14 September, a group of Pilgrims visited Luing for the first time and Kilchattan Church.  They were led by Jonathan Sheldrick and they all came from Port Ban, Near Tarbert in Argyll.  They were travelling across Argyll on the Pilgrim route and  had visited Craignish and Kilmelford. They reached Luing by boat from Croabh Haven to Toberonochy.  They walked to Kilchattan Church and signed the visitors book, and then continued to the Atlantic Islands Centre where Jean & John Alexander met up with them for coffee.  The picture below was taken of them at the Centre.  They then travelled over the hill down to the ferry to cross over to Seil Island and a visit to Kilbrandon Church where they met up with Robert Rae.    They have promised to return to us again sometime.  Below is the official press release with more information on their journey:

Press Release: Columba Way (Slí Cholmcille/Moluag) – Tarbert to Lismore (An Tairbeart – Liosmor) Total 100 miles Saturday Sept 9 – Saturday Sept16

On Saturday 16 September a group of walkers known as Ron’s Ramblers from Port Ban completed a 100 mile long sponsored walk in aid of Mary’s Meals linking Tarbert, Loch Fyne, with Oban and Lismore. Lismore was chosen as the end destination in preference to Iona for time reasons and as it was the base for the Bishops of Argyll, and St Moluag, the patron saint of Argyll who had arguably a larger role than Columba in the conversion of the Picts to Christianity.

The pilgrimage route included several churches, 3 islands and ferry/boat crossings, 3 heritage centres (Kilmartin, Luing & Lismore), 4 castles (Tarbert, Castle Sween, Carnasserie & Dunstaffnage), small detours to the Beaver Trail, the Heart of Argyll Wildlife Centre and Dunadd, and the Cathedral of trees at Glencruitten House! Highlights were holy communion at St Columba’s Cave and St Mouluag’s Cathedral with Rev. David Carruthers and Rev. Ian Barclay respectively and being guided around Lismore by Dr Robert Hay (author of “Lismore, the Great Garden”).

The walk was made almost completely through areas of breathtaking beauty and historical significance (the so called “thin places” where heaven and earth meet) on existing tracks and quiet B roads. And the route has a choice of alternative routes depending on personal sightseeing preferences, restrictions of time, weather and other circumstances. With the exception of the final destination, it is also possible to walk only on the mainland. Accommodation is no problem as there is excellent bunkhouse as well as B&B & hotel accommodation along the way.  The walk demonstrates that a long distance pilgrimage route linking the Kintyre Way with Oban is feasible. The next step is to set up an organisation supported by Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance (HoATA) and the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (SPRF), and to seek funding to further develop the route. A website and route maps are being prepared. Anyone wishing to help or sponsor the route should contact Jonathan Sheldrick at 01 880 770 224 email: chairman@heartofargyll.com

It is still possible to donate to Mary’s Meals https://www.marysmeals.org.uk/fundraising/project/david-austin/rons-ramblers-on-the-columba-route

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Netherlorn Churches gets an honourable mention in Parliament at Westminster

Netherlorn Churches got an honourable mention in Parliament at Westminster yesterday – possibly a first! Our link with Malawi was championed yesterday afternoon by Brendan O’Hara MP in a special Westminster Hall Debate looking at the Scotland-Malawi relationship.

Brendan O’Hara said:

” Will he join me in recognising and commending the excellent work of a disproportionately large number of people in my constituency to support the people of Malawi? He has already mentioned the excellent work of Mary’s Meals, but we also have the Mid Argyll Malawi Twinning Group, the Imani Development Foundation in Oban, the Netherlorn Churches’ project “Seed for life. Feed for life”, many secondary schools such as the Rothesay Academy, Dunoon Grammar School, and the primary schools of Strone, Dalmally and Iona.

You can watch the whole debate HERE

Or read the transcript and see photos HERE


£215 raised for Medecins Sans Frontieres and Mercy Ships

Thanks to everyone who supported the evening talk “From NHS to Myanmar and West Africa”. It raised the fantastic sum of £215 which will be divided between Medecins Sans Frontieres and Mercy Ships. Johanna and Martha are hugely grateful for your interest and your very generous donations.

Fun and games at Messy Church on 20th May


SEED FOR LIFE bank account opened. £2271 already raised!


Andrew Namakhoma an Independent Agricultural Consultant  based in Malawi completed a site visit this week to Bemvu where he met with Iain Gatward who is part of our sub Committee and at this moment in time we are eagerly awaiting full reports from both parties which we hope to have this coming week, however initial reports are sounding very positive.

A bank account has now been opened specifically for SEED FOR LIFE. FEED FOR LIFE. details are :

Account name:- KKPC-Seed for Life. Feed for Life.

Sort Code:- 80:17:99

Account no: 10106164

Monies can be paid direct into this account through Bank Transfer or BACS or direct to Denise MacLean our treasurer who lives at Arran Cottage, Ardmaddy. Oban. PA34 4QY It would be helpful when paying electronically if in the reference section that a name can be attached to enable us to see where the money has come from and if you are eligible to gift aid the donation please request the appropriate form at the same time as we can claim another 20% for the fund at no extra expense to the donor.

As you can see from the enclosed chart we have had an excellent start to the fund which is currently standing at £2271.45 in particular from one extremely generous anonymous donor to whom we can only say a huge THANK YOU.

We have the potential of reaching our goal IT IS ACHEIVABLE – let`s go out there and with a bit of effort we will be able to change many of our friends lives over in Bemvu


We are excited to introduce the new brand name for the food aid project suggested by Dikirani and the Bemvu Partnership.

The project which entails Netherlorn Churches raising and sending funding by mid September this year to Bemvu to enable 100 Farmers to be given seed and fertiliser which they will plant and grow on until harvest time next March/ April 2018.

Once the crop has been harvested the initial value of the seed/fertiliser given to the farmer will be repaid back to the Bemvu Partnership Committee who will distribute it again the following Autumn. A percentage of the balance of the harvest will be donated to the local Primary School ( the ambition is to eventually give every child in the school one meal per day during term time) initially only the infants (5-6 year olds) will benefit. What is left from the harvest will be for the farmers` own personal use to feed his/her own family.

This advantages of this project are:

The project has been devised and put forward by the community of Bemvu (it is their own initiative). It is a `self help` programme encouraging people to fend for themselves and has the advantage that people will want to remain in their own environment without thinking of economic migration to foreign countries. The whole project will be organised and operated by themselves (with professional input and auditing from an independent agricultural consultant if required). Except for some small upfront and running expenses all monies raised will go direct to the Bemvu Partnership Committee. There are no middle men.

School children will benefit by receiving one extra meal a day while at school during term time (currently it is common for these children to receive in total only one meal per day, two if it is a good day supplied by their own homes). Relieving some of the hunger should encourage better concentration and therefore improve the standard of learning.

This project is self financing as the money from the harvest once repaid will go back into the fund to finance the following years planting. To qualify this statement money would be required to be sent to Bemvu year on year until the ambition of feeding the 1200+ children in the school each receive one meal per day. Hopefully in subsequent years grant aid will be available but there is too little time to source that in time for this year’s planting. The project should ensure a better standard of living for the residents of Bemvu by ensuring better food security. Makes better use of the land available.

The whole project has been presented to the three Kirk Sessions ie: Kilbrandon & Kilchattan, Kilmelford & Kilninver, and Craignish and all three have committed to raising funds which is welcome news and will make life changing differences to our friends in Bemvu.

To enable planting to go ahead this year money is required to be available by mid September at the latest. Currently we are developing a separate web site for SEED FOR LIFE. FEED FOR LIFE. www.seedforlife.org.uk although the project will be updated on a regular basis on the Netherlorn web page.

We hope that you will all support this worthwhile project which will make such a difference to the lives of the community of Bemvu.

Mission Partner Ruth Shakespeare – Visit to Netherlorn

Mission Partner Ruth Shakespeare – Visit to Netherlorn

Argyll Presbytery mission partner Dr Ruth Shakespeare, medical director at Mulanje Mission Hospital in Malawi, will be visiting Netherlorn on Saturday 6 May 2017. Ruth will speak about her work at a meeting to be held at Kilbrandon Church, on the Isle of Seil, at 3.30pm on Saturday 6 May 2017. All welcome.



“Our mother in faith” – Minnie Watson, great aunt of Isabel Smith, Kilmelford

“Our mother in faith” – Minnie Watson, great aunt of Isabel Smith, Kilmelford

In the news this week is Minnie Watson, the Scottish woman whose life and work did much to lay the foundations of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Kenya. Minnie’s story has a strong local connection since her great-niece Isabel Smith lives in Kilmelford. Minnie grew up in Dundee in the later years of the 19th century. It was a time when many young people were gripped by a call to serve as overseas missionaries. Among them was Minnie who set out for Kenya in 1899. She went to join her fiancé Thomas Watson, who had already started pioneering the work of Christian mission in East Africa from a base at Kikuyu, near Nairobi. They duly married but their joy proved to be short-lived. The early European missionaries were highly vulnerable to tropical diseases and Thomas sadly died of pneumonia just one year after they married.


We can only imagine what this loss must have meant for Minnie but she determined that she would carry on the work that they had begun together. For the next 30 years she led the work of the mission, establishing a wide network of schools, starting hospitals and building churches. Among the school pupils was Jomo Kenyatta, who would become Kenya’s first President and the father of the current President Uhuru Kenyatta. For Minnie it must have been a tough life – at times facing famine, drought and disease. But from this work emerged the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, which today has three and half million members.

The reason that Minnie has been in the news is that Church of Scotland Moderator Russell Barr has been visiting the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. When Russell met the Secretary General of the Church, Peter Kariuki, this is what he had to say: “Minnie Watson is our mother in faith. She is the image of Christ and sacrificed all her comfort to live among our ancestors. She remains, for us, the icon of genuine Christianity. We love our mother.”

Kilchattan Church Youth Leader Hazel Cruikshanks at SU Drama Camp

Kilchattan Church Youth Leader Hazel Cruikshanks at SU Drama Camp


Hazel Cruikshanks, a youth leader at Kilchattan Parish Church, is taking a leading role at CentreStage, a 4-day Scripture Union drama camp for P5-S1 campers at Scoughall this Easter, from 11 to 14 April. A full camp of 28 campers have booked for this event – 20 girls and 8 boys! The packed programme includes rehearsals, workshops, worship and Bible teaching, onsite activities, a trip to Dunbar, a final performance, eating, sleeping and lots of fun. Hazel and the team will value our prayers for God’s blessing on the camp.