27th January 2019 will be recorded in history as the date of the final services and closure of Ardchattan Kirk after 182 years.
It was a bright crisp winter morning and even a little sun shone through the windows as the Rev Bill Grey opened the final Communion Service with the words of Psalm 106 “Give praise and thanks unto the Lord, for bountiful is he; his tender mercy doth endure unto eternity.”
Before the Sacrament of Communion as many members as possible moved to the central table with its pristine white cloth. Others stayed in the pews and the communion cups and plates were passed around by the elders. The silver used had been presented in 1843 by Augusta, wife of General Campbell of Lochnell to Ardchattan Free Church.
Ardchattan Church has meant many things to many people and there were very mixed emotions at the service as the past with family and friends were silently remembered.
The evening service was conducted by the Rev Dr Roderick Campbell. The church was full as members were joined by friends, many having a long family association with Ardchattan Church.
Rev Campbell based his sermon on 'Faith, Hope and Love' and although again a sad and nostalgic occasion, there was faith, hope and love – the very core of the Christian Church. Before singing the last hymn, “The day you gave us Lord, has ended” the congregation stood to say together –
We give thanks for the worship and witness of past generations. We recognise the changing situations within our land. We have agreed, under the guidance of the Presbytery of Argyll, to the closure of this Holy Place. With sadness we will close our doors this evening. With faith we will move forward into God’s future.
A well deserved thank you to Norman Nicolson who provided the music for both services and who has been the organist in the Church for about 40 Years.
Tea, cakes and chat were enjoyed by all before the lights switched off and the doors locked.