Lochaber churches ring the changes with an eye to the future

Rev Richard Baxter outside the Fort William Church. Photograph: iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F06 Fort William Kilmallie Church 01
Rev Richard Baxter outside the Fort William Church. Photograph: iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F06 Fort William Kilmallie Church 01

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Readers of the Lochaber Times may have spotted a few changes to the local Church of Scotland congregations in and around Fort William and the surrounding area.

We caught up with Fort William-based minister, Reverend Richard Baxter, to fill us in on what has been happening with churches locally.

As far as Fort William, Caol and Corpach are concerned, Rev Baxter explained: ‘The congregation – that is the people, and the organisation that unites them – is now Fort William Kilmallie Church of Scotland. Everyone who used to be part of Duncansburgh MacIntosh or Kilmallie is now part of that.

‘We’re still using three buildings – in Corpach, Caol and on the Parade in Fort William. We’ll aim to keep that going, but realistically, only buildings which are well supported and actively used can have a long-term future, so those decisions will depend on community support.

‘To get people to the right place for services and events, the three buildings are now known as Fort William Kilmallie (Duncansburgh), Fort William Kilmallie (Caol) and Fort William Kilmallie (Corpach). The hall alongside Duncansburgh is now the MacIntosh Hall.’

Rev Baxter added that a ministry team will serve the whole area, with himself as the parish minister, with Rory MacLeod (a former army chaplain) who will shortly join as team minister; Morag Muirhead is an Ordained Local Minister and Bill Skene is a Reader.

All of them work across the whole area, and you can ask any of them for help, and use any of our buildings if you need to.

When it comes to the Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge, Torlundy and Letterfinlay area, Kilmonivaig continues as a separate congregation and organisation, but shares the same ministry team as Fort William Kilmallie.

And Rev Baxter concluded: ‘Finally, Fort William Kilmallie and Kilmonivaig are parish churches, and we’re there for everyone in the community, not just our members.

‘If you want to share in worship, to organise a wedding or a funeral, to find space for a community event or activity, or to find someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to contact us.’