A Free Church congregation on Skye has received a massive boost after a generous anonymous donation of £12,000 secured a settled ministry in the south end of the island for another three years.
The Sleat and Strath congregation had been informed that their existing ministry, coming to the close of a five-year terminable appointment, could not be renewed by Home Mission Board (HMB) at the General Assembly, unless they could meet the shortfall locally or consider alternative ministry options.
It had been thought by the congregation that the deficit could be met from the proceeds of the sale of the Broadford manse, which is going onto the market soon – but there was no guarantee this would be sold before May.
This meant the HMB insisted that a local funding plan be in place, and a very kind offer was made by the Glenelg and Inverinate congregation to lend Strath and Sleat what was needed to cover the costs, provided they would be repaid once the property was sold.
But after this plan had been approved by Skye and Wester Ross Presbytery, an anonymous individual came forward to pay the shortfall for the next three years.
Strath and Sleat minister Rev Gordon Matheson, originally from Lewis, said: “This is a generous offering of more than £12,000. It means we will not need to rely on help from the Glenelg congregation.
“We give thanks to God for moving the heart of this generous individual. It relieves a huge burden on us as a congregation – and takes away much of the uncertainty over the future of a settled ministry for the next three years.
“But it doesn’t mean we can rest, or take our eye away from the goal of being a growing church, serving the communities of Sleat and Strath.
“If anything, this gift frees us to be even more focused on the work God has given us, and we should view it as a token of his blessing on the vision we have for his cause.”