St. Maelrubha's Scottish Episcopal Church, Poolewe
St. Maelrubha's Church is one of the western most churches in the United Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness whose Bishop is The Rt. Rev. Mark Strange.
Bishop Mark conducted a special service at St Maelrubha's where the First Wester Ross Air Scouts Colours were presented and blessed, and are now in the church. Bishop Mark was very pleased because he was a scout and is still involved in scouting.
Our Priest-in Charge at St Maelrubha's is the Reverend Heather Widdows who also serves Courthill Chapel at Kishorn.
Heather was ordained to the Diaconate in St Maelrubha's in February 1996 and priested in St Andrew's Cathedral, Inverness at Petertide - June 27th 1997. She was the first woman to be priested in the Cathedral and second woman in the Diocese. From Easter 1999 when our then paid priest, Reverend Chris Dormer left, Heather also served Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Achiltibuie, Ullapool, Poolewe , Kishorn and Nostie (Kyle).
Awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the people of Gairloch Parish in the New-year of 2016, Heather also taught full time in Gairloch Primary from 1974 to Christmas 2007 and following her retirement continues to be involved in numerous activities in the community. Heather regards her ministry as being to the wider community as well as to St Maelrubha’s congregation, making regular visits to the elderly and housebound and holding services at Isle View Nursing Home for the residents. She is also a Scout Leader and Scout Padre and serves on both the Gairloch Community Hall and Swimming Pool Committees, bakes for and assists at Tea Dances and is a member of West Coast Arts and various choirs, to name but a few of her activities!
Services of Holy Eucharist are held every Sunday at 11am. Services are also held once a month at 4pm on a Wednesday at Isle View Nursing Home. See our Facebook page for dates.
The church bell was gifted to St Maelrubha's by the congregation of St Columba's Church, Southwick, Sunderland.
The other members of the South West Charge are Courthill Chapel at Kishorn where Holy Eucharist is at 10-30am on Sunday, and St Donan's at Nostie, Kyle of Lochalsh where Holy Eucharist is also at 10-30am on Sunday. Our Mission Church at Kinlochewe hold a service in the Kinlochewe Community Centre at 2-30pm on the first Sunday of each month.
All visitors to this beautiful part of Scotland are welcome to attend our services and to share Holy Communion with us.
St Maelrubha's a short history
Episcopal worship in the North West of Scotland suffered severe oppression from 1745 until the late 19th Century. In the early 1950’s an Itinerant Priest was appointed to minister to the West Coast of Ross (excluding Ullapool), Brora, Dornoch and the Black Isle. Services in Gairloch and District were conducted fortnightly in various venues until 1960 when Poolewe Village Hall became the home of Episcopal Worship. On being advised that the hall would have to be demolished the congregation sought permission to build their own Episcopal Church in Poolewe. That permission was given and a building fund was started. The fund attracted grants from the Episcopal Diocese and Province. A cow byre gifted to the congregation by a local crofter was pulled down to be rebuilt on a site donated by the landowners, the MacDonald-Buchanan family. A more detailed history of our church is produced in the form of a booklet, on sale in the church hall for £2.
This is the first Episcopal Church to be called St. Maelrubha’s, built since 1745 was dedicated by the Bishop Rt. Rev. D. MacInnes on 8th April 1965. An historic event!
Easter Sunday 18th April saw the first Holy Communion and a Baptism celebrated in the church by the then Itinerant Priest Rev. S. A. T. Mallin.
Over the years prudent stewardship and sale of some land has enabled the congregation to build a church hall and a two bedroom holiday home attached, both of which provide the church with income through their hire.
Fair Trade Church
St Maelrubha's Church is now registered as a Fair Trade Church.
Find out more about the Scottish Episcopal Church at www.scotland.anglican.org
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Charity number SCO 20389
Rev. Heather Widdows
The Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness
The present bishop of our diocese is the Right Reverend Mark Strange.
Bishop Mark was brought up in Aberdeen, attending Hazlehead Academy before moving on to study Theology at Aberdeen University. As a boy Bishop Mark had two great loves, one was scouting and the other was performing, either on stage or as a chorister in St Andrew’s, Cathedral. Mark’s connection to the Cathedral included the youth club, the badminton club, serving and as one of the youngest members of the vestry.
Mark was ordained Deacon in Worcester Cathedral and served his title in the parish of St Barnabas, Rainbow Hill with Christchurch, Tolladine. This was a large parish of red brick terraces and council estates on the edge of the city. It was here that both Mark and Jane cut their teeth on youth work and pastoral care. This ministry led to Mark being invited to become Vicar of St Wulstan’s, Church Warndon a parish of 18,000 on one large council scheme. Mark spent six years there rebuilding the congregation and developing lay ministries and mission outreach.
At the end of this time Mark was invited by the then Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness to apply for Elgin. Mark and his wife Jane moved to Moray and spent ten years working with the communities of Elgin and Lossiemouth eventually joined by Dufftown and Aberlour. On 13 October 2007 Mark was consecrated as the ninth Bishop Of Moray, Ross and Caithness.
The Bishop’s family now live in the Rectory at St John’s Arpafeelie. Jane having retrained as a primary school teacher and working in a variety of schools, continues to develop a ministry of hospitality. They have three children Aidan, Beth and Mara. Aidan is at University in Cumbria studying Musical Theatre while the girls are at Fortrose Academy.
Bishop Mark and Jane love nothing more than an evening spent in good company with a small sensation from a local distillery.
Rev. Heather Widdows, 01445 712176
Services of Holy Eucharist are held every Sunday at 11am