Wednesday, 28 April 2010
St. Andrew's Church, Tongue
There is a good introduction to the village of Tongue, and the surrounding area, on the Mackay Country website here.
The church building was built in 1724, and it is the burial place of the Reay family, chiefs of the Clan Mackay. The old graveyard surrounds the church, and across the stream behind the church, lies the cemetery extension, situated in what used to be the walled garden of the old manse.
The above photo shows the west end of the interior of the sanctuary. The raised gallery at the far end is normally only used by the Countess of Sutherland and her family. However, when more seating is required then other people are welcome to sit there.
Immediately in front of the gallery are two square sitting areas, with bench pew seats round all four edges. I haven't seen these style of 'boxes' in any other churches, but maybe they are more common in this part of Scotland.
The main door is on the south side of the building. On the photo below, you can see the chancel area at the eastern end of the building. To the left is the door leading through to the North hall, where the Sunday's Cool meets. In a similar wing on the south side is the vestry, which is large enough for small meetings.
It is an exciting, but also daunting, prospect as I anticipate becoming the next minister of this ancient and historic place. So many ministers and people have gone before me, and only God knows what lies ahead.
The challenge for us all is to enable other folk to grasp hold of the offer that God makes to each person. You can know God, and speak with Him. You can know his help in your daily life, as well as wholeness and peace in body, spirit, and soul.
The church building at Tongue has provided shelter and comfort for nearly 300 years as the congregation have gathered together within.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
(Marty Haugen, b.1950, CH4, 198)