I'm asked, sometimes, what brought me to Ardnamurchan. There is no easy answer really. Towards the end of ministry training we are encouraged to look around at vacant parishes and assured, by various colleagues, that you will 'know' when it is the right parish. Hmm - I didn't 'know', even after much prayer. I had a feeling that this might be the place and that was enough for me to be convinced that if I didn't apply for this parish I'd always be wondering what I'd missed.
What would I have missed - so much!! There are the routine talks of ministry; preaching, visiting, conducting weddings and funerals, being in schools - all of which, and more, were expected. There are the chance encounters when out walking my dog - not just people but also deer, pine-martins, red squirrels, sheep, cows, heron ... There us the commute to work with one church being about three minutes walk away and the other an hour's drive. The hour driving is all along single track road with passing places and encounters with other traffic can be challenging if the driver coming towards you has no idea how to drive on single track road, or if the driver ahead doesn't think to pull over and let you pass, or if you meet sheep, cows or deer. Sometimes the oncoming road users are a little stubborn about moving over (see photo above). The scenery is stunning with ever changing light, foliage, seas and lochs.
The people are as varied as they could possibly be. There are people whose families have been here for generations and those who have moved here to be somewhere completely different. Whoever they are, the community is a blend of the two with each group supporting the other. I know there are tensions in places - to expect otherwise would be foolish.
And so, with the glorious autumn colours diminishing and winter showing on the hills I look forward to preparing for the busy season ahead. What will the future hold - God only knows but I know that, already, I've been richly blessed by coming to Ardnamurchan, and for that I thank Him.