Moderator Visits Wigtown and Whithorn

I'm waiting for Bill Campbell to arrive. Bill will be our guide for the day. He is one of the Presbytery elders taking his turn to be chauffeur to the Moderator. We've been having an extremely encouraging time here in the Presbytery of Wigtown and Stranraer. After arriving in the Presbytery on Friday and taking part in the BBC Radio Debate and also featuring in the Wigtown Book Festival as a contributor. Saturday was a free day, it was also a day to try and get the window wipers fixed. ( I'm still waiting to hear from the garage if the parts have arrived.) On Sunday morning we were picked up by Jim Adair. Jim is an elder in the Kirkcowan Church a Community Councillor and typical of the commitment that so many elders in this area are giving to their communities. We had great time meeting Eric and Renitea Boyle. Eric arrived as Minister in Wigtown around 7 years ago. Both he and his wife work hard to ensure that he church is playing an active part in the community. Eric spent some time with us in the afternoon taking us to the site where the Wigtown Martyrs were Executed. It's such a sad story. Three women who refused to acknowledge the King as the head if the church. Two of these women Covenanters found themselves tied to a stake awaiting the tide to come in both refused to recant and were drowned. The story is so sad because a reprieve had been granted but arrived too late, s one believed intentionally. The interesting thing is that the third woman was a young girl called Margaret Maxwell, she eventually lived in Bo'ness and in her life time before she died she gave an eyewitness account of all that happened. She speaks of feeling the shame that she was not worthy to died a martyr's death. Strange when you discover all these connections. The photograph here depicts the spot where one of he Martyrs was ties to e stake. The stone stake was raised many years later to mark the spit of their execution. Wigtown is and the surrounding area is steeped in Christian history. The Wigtown Book Festival offers church and community an opportunity to work together. It was a wonderful opportunity to share in a packed Ecumenical Service on Sunday evening. It was an important statement to make that the Church is at the heart of this community and has been for nearly 1700 centuries. In anyone's book that's quite a history. The Festival itself is a bit of a miracle. It started 12 years ago and has grown to be an amazing ten days in which Wigtown comes alive. The town boasts a massive number of bookshops. There is one that boasts to be among the biggest in the UK. It certainly has an amazing atmosphere in it and am unbelievable number of books This service gave me the opportunity to talk about the work of Sanctuary First. I used the theme " Guard the Good" this theme centres around the story of the Sower and invites us to reflect upon the way we all respond to God's word. I used a few video clips highlighting the fact that the good seed in our lives is often stolen from our hearts by the birds in the story which which represent the evil in the world. At the end of the evening it was back in the car for a 45 minute drive back to Stranraer and a snack supper around the Curling Rink in the hotel. Monday morning arrived and our hosts this time Alex and Kirsty Currie were waiting to take us to Whithorn. Alex has been the minister in Whithorn for the past 23 years. He is the minister in the oldest Christian Parish in Scotland. Our first stop is to visit the Whithorn Museum. We were introduced to Janet the Project Director. She explains how the sea placed Whithorn at the centre of a cultural crossroads during Roman times. Those who lived here in the 4th and 5th centuries have left clues to they way they lived and also believed. Their art, technology and religious practices can all be traced and in doing so give us an insight as to what life was like all these centuries ago. The museum holds some of the oldest and finest collection of early christian carved stones and crosses. The surrounding area, Alex explains was a popular excavation site over 20 years ago and the village was over-whelmed at that time by the interest. Much of this initial interest has wained, but Alex believes the whole area could benefit from a greater interest in developing the sites around the village to tell the story of Christianity. You can't help feeling there is something quite extra-ordinary here and worth great investment and interest by more people. Whithorn Isle is where Ninian is first thought to have landed in 397 AD to bring the gospel to Scotland. This is around 150 years before Columba brought the gospel to Iona. You can imagine the Alex is keen to draw attention to this fact and feels that Whithorn is often overlooked despite its history and significance. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to encourage and inspire the churches in this Presbytery to engage with the Christian heritage of this area and find ways to use this history to help a new generation find faith for themselves. It was a great privilege to be able to visit Ninian's Cave. Meanwhile it's Tuesday and Bill Campbell's waiting in the hotel foyer to take us on a Hospital Visit, then a visit to the Gem Museum followed by a visit to Scotland's one and only Yogurt Factory, ending up in the Cinnamon Cafe in Newton Stewart. Where we're scheduled to be smeeting Edward Lyons the minister of Newton Stewart. This will be the topic for the next post.  

Posted By: Kit   On: 6 Mar 2016   At: 7:38pm

Wow, this piece of writing is fastidious, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things,
tus I am going to inform her.


Posted By: Maurice & Ann   On: 10 Oct 2012   At: 7:54pm

This is very interesting to us Albert, with out Covenanter backbground but didn’t know about Margaret Maxwell and living in Bo’ness, all very humbling.

Always enjoy reading your blog.


A & M


Posted By: h   On: 10 Oct 2012   At: 5:33pm

Thank you for your interesting blogs.

Leave a reply