The Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, the Right Reverend John P Chalmers, and his wife, Liz, will visit Lewis during the coming week.
Each year, the Moderator visits a number of Church of Scotland Presbyteries in the course of moderatorial duties and this year it is the turn of Lewis and Uist Presbyteries.
The Moderator’s visit gets underway on Thursday, August 21, with a formal reception hosted by the Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and attended by Rev Tommy Macneil, Moderator of Lewis Presbytery.
This reception will be followed by a tour of the new Nicolson Institute, the new Shared Temporary Accommodation facility on Sandwick Road, Dun Eisdean Care Home and the Lews Castle Museum/Accommodation development.
On Thursday evening the Moderator and Mrs Chalmers will meet with the Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Mr Sandy Matheson, and will inspect the local Army Reserve, Army Cadet and Air Training Corps companies.
The Chalmers are keenly aware of the dangers faced daily by our Armed Forces – their son JJ sustained serious injuries from an Improvised Explosive Device while serving with 42 Commando in Afghanistan in May 2011. The blast killed two of JJ’s friends.
The following day the Moderator and Mrs Chalmers spend the day in and around Stornoway, visiting the Harris Tweed Authority, Stornoway Historical Association, Stornoway Port Authority and a number of other maritime interests around Stornoway Harbour.
The Moderator’s main preaching engagement will be at Stornoway High Church of Scotland, Matheson Road, at 11.00am on Sunday, August 24, when the Right Reverend Chalmers, a Queen’s Chaplain, takes the morning service. Later that day, at 6.30pm, he will participate in the evening service at Martin’s Memorial.
The following week, the Moderator and Mrs Chalmers head out of town to visit Churches, businesses and sites of interest around rural Lewis.
The visit comes to an end with a formal reception by NHS Western Isles during which the Moderator will tour Western Isles Hospital.
The Moderator of the Church of Scotland normally visits Lewis Presbytery once every ten years, so this week’s visit is an important landmark in the life of the Church of Scotland locally.