The congregation is mixed in many ways. We have worshippers of a variety of ages. We have many incomers but also those with strong local roots as well as people from other parts of Scotland. We have people from a variety of social backgrounds.
Among the activities that take place in our congregational life are choir, coffee mornings, soup lunches, discussion groups, a fortnightly Fairtrade stall at St James’ and a weekly collection for the food bank. We have arranged pilgrimages to stay with the Iona Community and to visit places more locally for the day, and we organise various other social and fundraising events.
Members of the congregation are encouraged to explore and use their gifts. They take a leading role in many of the above activities as well as being involved in serving, reading lessons, leading intercessions, singing and music, flower arranging and the usual round of church tasks.
For the future there are many challenges including that of how we invite and encourage others to join us on the joyful and challenging journey of faith. There are opportunities for engagement with a growing number of migrant workers in the community and for dialogue with modern ‘spirituality’ in the wider sense. Issues of the environment and social justice are of concern to many of our members. There is a concern by many not to lose that of value from the past.
Most people in the congregation are happy to worship in either building. We use the 1982 liturgy for most services.
Music is mainly traditional although this may be supplemented by modern material from a variety of sources.
St James Dingwall
St James the Great Church lies in the growing town of Dingwall some 12 miles north of Inverness. The church building dates from the second half of the nineteenth century (replacing a similar structure destroyed by fire) and is simple and compact (seating up to 100). Attached to the church is the hall built in 2005.
Prior to the seventeenth century Episcopalians in Ross-shire worshipped in private houses, but from 1806 began to worship in the chapel in Castle Street Dingwall, and by 1851 had a congregation of about 50 people. The present church of St James was built in 1871 as the former one was burnt down when a flue set fire to a beam over the pulpit igniting the wooden roof. It was rebuilt as near to the original plan as possible , using designs by the architect Alexander Ross, who was also responsible for Inverness Cathedral, using stones gifted by Davidson of Tulloch.
By the end of the nineteenth century the membership was 93 with 47 communicants. Our present membership is about 200.
St James has recently been refurbished and the pews replaced by chairs allowing a more flexible space giving opportunity for different styles of worship and as a performance space.
St Anne’s Strathpeffer
St Anne’s Church lies in Strathpeffer, 5 miles west of Dingwall. Strathpeffer is a spa town which still has a substantial tourist presence. Also from the nineteenth century, the church is ornate and larger than St James with seating for 180.
By 1889, in the thriving Victorian spa of Strathpeffer it was apparent that in order to provide for the influx of workers and visitors a satellite church was needed. Fundraising began immediately and by 1900 St Anne’s Church was built on land donated by Anne Duchess of Sutherland and Countess of Cromartie,
The bells at St Anne’s are a ‘carillon’ comprising 8 tubular bells struck by wooden headed hammers, and can be operated by one person. They were restored for the millennium by a member of the congregation.
All are welcome at both our churches. Services times for the coming weeks can be found on our Home Page.