On Thursday the 8th of September,
Elspeth Jane MacLean left her charge,
as minister of the Church of Scotland on Tiree,
and set out for the South Lanarkshire village of Forth.
For five years Elspeth has lived and sought to serve God on the island.
Ordained and inducted in Kirkapol Church on 14th July 2011,
she was preached in by the Rev. Frank Ribbons ,
on Sunday 17th July 2011.
On Sunday 4th September 2016,
on the day of the Tiree Ultra Marathon
Elspeth’s final service was held in Heylipol Church.
On that occasion she was presented with a memorable gift.
Fittingly it was made on the island by Francis Woodhead of Tiree Glass.
Other gifts included a picture by local artist Colin Woodcock of Blue Beyond.
Elspeth’s departure for a Mainland parish is a reminder of the many changes
that have taken place on Tiree over the summer – changes in the school,
in the library, the doctor’s surgery, the dentist’s and at the pier.
The furniture van which boarded the ferry is bound for the village of Forth.
The village is situated near Lanark in Clydesdale.
It is midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow
and is accessibly by the M8 and A706 road.
The village is believed to have taken its name from ‘the open air’.
It stands 1000 feet above sea level and has a population of around 3500.
Employment was based around weaving, ironstone, limestone and coal mining.
On Monday 26th September
God willing, Elspeth is to be inducted to St Paul’s Parish Church
The building was erected in 1875 with stone quarried from Hailstonegreen Quarry.
Famous people from Forth include George Gracie
who featured in the Guinness Book of Records
as Scotland’s tallest man at 7 foot 3 inches ( 221 cm’s)
and weighed 32 stone (203kg).
Elspeth’s responsibilities remain the same,
but it will be a big change from living in a Manse just off the beach
to living in a manse at 1000 feet and at least a half hour’s drive to the shore.
“Go forth and tell O Church of God arise
Go in the strength which Christ your Lord supplies
Go till all nations His great name adore
And serve Him Lord and King for evermore.”
This is ‘Life on Tiree’