Friday, 29 April 2011


Trains were on time; planes were on time;our delightful host met us on time ~ so we made it to the Baptist Church in Dunrossness to be made very welcome and to share in our first Holy Week service. And then we were taken to the manse where we were staying and unpacked! It was a great way to begin what turned out to be a wonderful visit.

On Wednesday we met with a number of people who would not be able to get to our various services and meetings, and that meant we saw a lot of the main island as well. The crofters are amazing folk full of energy and faith, and it was a priviledge to share something of their history and learn about the old ways as well as how they adapt to the new. We saw one of the many small chapels and talked about how they can best be used, and were able to have a brief walk at Eshaness, before travelling to Scalloway for our second service.

The next day Elizabeth Colley showed us round, exploring near her home in Nesting; taking us to Lunna Kirk, where there are memorials to the Shetland bus and some of the Norwegians who died in that war (a fascinating sideways chapel); and then enabling us to visit the Gonfirth Chapel where it may be possible to do all sorts of exciting work, especially with young people

During the afternoon we had a moving Maundy Thursday Communion with one of our retired ministers and his wife, which he was able to lead in part. It was an honour to share with them. And the evening Maundy service was at St. Magnus Episcopal Church, where we shared in both communion and the stripping of the chapel.

Good Friday morning saw us on St Ninian's Isle ~ after a very windy walk ~ and then visiting Ireland (without leaving Shetland!) It was good to meet with friends at their croft and receive yet more island hospitality
Then it was the ferry to Yell and a reflective service at East Yell chapel ~ and more hospitality.

On Saturday there was space to explore the museum in Lerwick and the town itself ~ and an evening meal of Shetland lamb and countless dishes of delicious vegetables.
Sunday was a series of services; two in Lerwick where the youngsters did amazing things with puppets at the second service after breakfast; one in Culswick, which is an isolated chapel to which people will travel for miles for their events (and their food!); and one at Walls where we had all the media input that I need others to provide! A day of great celebration and enormous fun.

Easter Monday we were back on Yell and visiting at a care home. Helen is 103, and only moved in 2 years ago when crofting, even with family help, became finally too much for her - yet another humbling visit among the saints of God.

Time for a little more tourist-type activities and then we were to go home, but not until we had seen the puffins!

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