In October, deacon Glenda Wilson came to Tiree to provide cover whilst Elspeth was away. The following is an excerpt from her newsletter to her own parish about her recent stay here ….
“As many of you know, the girls and I went off to Tiree in October. I was on a kind of bus man’s holiday – the minister on the island was on holiday and as she is the only minister there, she must make sure someone is available to cover the services, funerals etc. while she is away. In return, we received accommodation in the manse, and enjoy seeing a new place; meeting new people.
I immediately fell in love with the island and its people. We were made to feel very welcome in the cosy manse which looked right over the sea. A walk through the Glebe which grazed a herd of friendly cows took us right down onto our own wee bit of beach. Not twenty minutes after we had arrived on the island, an elder arrived with coal for and kindling for the fire and was disappointed that Elspeth, the minister, had left a fire all set for us to light! However, his gifts were welcome the next day (which was before we found Elspeth’s coal stock for the winter!) Also before we knew it, the girls had acquired a lovely bike each for the week! Not long after that, the Session Clerk and her husband arrived to greet and welcome us! We met so many local people throughout the week and felt very much a part of the community, and regulars at the ‘Cobbled Cow’ (restaurant owned and run by the loveliest of people!) by the end of it! Then there was Eileen the organist who, as many of you read about in our local newspaper sorted out the havoc I created in the last 5 minutes of our stay with two handbags!
Also, the churches (at the moment there are two C of S buildings on the island, but this is in the process of being reduced to one) were involved in two very special things happening that particular weekend.
The first was that a book was being launched. It was about written by Mike Hughes and Dr John Holliday (the G.P. on the island) called the Barley and the Brine. It is about Tiree during the years of the 2nd World War. Several war veterans came to Tiree for the book launch, and also relatives of those who had served there. In preparation for the morning service which the visitors and author attended, and some took part in along with the Islanders, I went to the cemetery where we were also holding a memorial service on the Sunday afternoon. I was very moved when I saw the graves of such young service men – some un named, with the words “known only to God” inscribed on the stones. As the dates on the stones told, these must have been men whose ships went down, and whose bodies were washed up onto the shore one day after another. Along with these services, I was invited to lunch with the group and cannot describe how easily they accepted me into their midst and made me feel a part of them. The girls and I both attended the actual book launch in the Island’s hall on the Saturday evening, and again, we were made very welcome into the packed hall where it was clear that everyone on the island knew everyone else! It was a lovely night. One we will remember for a long time to come.
The second involved a couple who had come to Tiree as part of a special birthday for the wife, and also a wedding anniversary. While there, in the intimacy and sacredness of one of the churches, wedding vows were renewed and beautiful memories created.
What a privilege to be part of all of that while on holiday in one of the most beautiful places in Scotland! I certainly hope that it will not be our last visit to Tiree……”