Keith Henshall departs

The Rev Keith Henshall, priest in charge of St Magnus, Lerwick, and St Colman’s, Burravoe, Yell, has left Shetland to take up a new charge in the Diocese of Blackburn, Lancashire. That was where Mr Henshall was ordained 20 years ago so it will almost be like going home.

Bill Underwood of St Magnus said: “Keith served as a member of the Linklines committee, on occasions compiling the issues for The Shetland Times. During his time here he also co-ordinated the efforts of the congregation of St Magnus in its Raise the Roof campaign. This was a success and the work is now half finished but unfortunately he will not be here when the church is reopened.

“Keith was with us for such a short time, three years, but in that time he brought much to the church and to the community. As well as our priest he was a friend and a guide in so many other ways.

“He oversaw the strengthening of the ties between the churches, both ecumenically and in support for each other’s events. He will be missed and long remembered in the islands. We wish him all the best in his new charge and look forward to his return visits.”

Shetland Aid

Shetland Aid members and supporters got together recently in Lerwick’s St Columbus Church for a programme of musical items followed by a presentation on the work of Blythswood Care – the organisation Shetland Aid is now working closely with.

There were some musical renditions from the North Ness Boys, two solos from Anna Karina Leslie and some pieces given by a male voice group largely made up of members of the Ebenezer Hall.

Anna Karina performed two contemporary Christian pieces self-accompanied on the piano. Her lovely voice and gentle keyboard style produce a blend that is very pleasant indeed.

The male voice singers from the Ebenezer Hall have developed a rich, balanced sound and were ably accompanied by Lorna Jamieson on the piano, who also contributed with a precise alto line.

With the passing of groups such as the Lerwick Baptist Male Voice Choir and the Gospelaires it is encouraging to note that the tradition of grouped male voice gospel singing is still being robustly upheld by the Ebenezer Boys. Hopefully they will continue to enrich meetings and concerts with their combined talents for a long time to come.

The second half of the evening was a very informative presentation on Blythswood Care given by head of fund-raising Danny Muschate – see last week’s Shetland Times for a detailed report on its varied and widespread work.

New worker at Emmanuel

A worker from South America has begun a period of two years service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship in Lerwick.

Mariane Markwart from Buenos Aires, Argentina, arrived here at the end of last month. Mariane is here under the auspices of Latin Link – the largest inter-denominational mission agency in Britain specialising in Latin America. There is a branch of Latin Link, however, that organises training placements for Latin Americans who want mission experience in Europe.

Mariane spent a fortnight with British Latin Link representatives on the mainland prior to her arrival in Shetland. She now plans to immerse herself in the life of Emmanuel and the wider Christian church here. Pastor Jamie Tonge is confident that apart from the work she plans to undertake, the sharing of Christian experiences in two differing cultures will be commonly beneficial.

Mariane describes her first impressions of Shetland as interesting and was surprised by the size and diversity of the Shetland population. She was also surprised by the weather, which has so far not matched up to the climatically uncomplimentary descriptions she received before arriving.

Mariane is also a qualified education psychologist and music teacher. She already plays the piano and the guitar and hopes to use her time here to learn to play the fiddle.

United Free youth Arbroath trip

A group of eight young people from Cunningsburgh United Free Church recently attended a youth weekend at the Windmill Christian Centre in Arbroath.

David Adamson, Alan Adamson, Stephie Adamson, Liam Adamson, Christopher Halcrow, Fiona Halcrow, Jamie Halcrow and Sarah Meredith represented Shetland and joined other UF youngsters from various parts of Scotland.

The theme of the weekend was “all that you can’t leave behind” and was described by David as a very challenging and encouraging time indeed.

The weekend began with an outline of UF Church history and continued with a representative from Asia Link giving presentations on the work of the UF in Asian countries particularly Burma.

The weekend was led by Robert Owens – youth convener and also this year’s moderator – who comes from the UF Church in Glasgow’s Drumchapel.

Special day at Isleshavn

Helen Jamieson of East Yell Methodist Chapel celebrated her 102nd birthday with family and friends on 13th November in Isleshavn Care Centre.

This happy occasion included the surprise arrival of a primary class from Mid Yell School who sang Happy Birthday and presented her with a special card they had made.

Now Shetland’s oldest inhabitant, Helen maintains a keen interest in all that goes on in the chapel and the community. Her deep faith, lively mind and humour are an inspiration to all who know her.

Short services are now held every month at Isleshavn. These are led by the Rev David Cooper and the Rev Jeremy Dare respectively.

CLAN conference in Orkney

Around 15 of Shetland’s Christians, from five different denominations, travelled down to the Mini-CLAN Conference in Orkney recently.

Hilde Bardell was one of the 15 and she said: “Hosted by Orkney Churches Together, the local Christian community also provided very welcome accommodation, food and transport for the visitors.

“The conference began on Friday evening and continued until Saturday evening, with six plenary talks and six choices of workshop sessions. Kenny Borthwick spoke twice, about the Father’s Love and Mercy, with his usual mix of laid-back humour and biblical integrity. As always, those listening were seriously challenged as to the practical outworking of their faith, as led by God’s Holy Spirit.

“Other speakers with excellent content included Andy Hall (due to visit Shetland in March). Rick Hayes, Ollie Clegg, and Ian McDonald, and the workshops included subjects relating to the use of the Gifts of the Spirit in bringing about God’s Kingdom here on earth.

“As well as focusing our Christian lives on how we get to Heaven and trying to make sure others get there too, we must aim to seek God’s will on how to bring the things of Heaven down here to earth, where they are much needed.

“CLAN Gathering, whether the main one in St Andrews in July, or any of the regional conferences, always seeks to work with the churches together, and the final meeting of Orkney’s Mini-CLAN embodied that principle as many gathered in the Kirkwall Baptist Church on Sunday evening to worship the Lord, and minister to each other in prayer.”

For more information about CLAN see

Community carol concerts

With the season of advent here it is perhaps no surprise that various churches throughout the isles are planning their respective Christmas carol services.

While most churches will be holding their own special meetings or socials, a recent trend seems to be for individual churches or groupings of fellowships to hold additional community carol concerts. These are generally held outwith church buildings in order to render them more accessible to infrequent or non-church attendees.

Vidlin ‘feast of entertainment’

The Church of Scotland and Methodists of Vidlin are planning what promises to be not only a carol concert but also feast of entertainment given by a variety of local artistes.

The event is due to take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday and the performers include the Wisharts, Stewart Grains accompanied by Isobel Jamieson, Cheryl Goodlad accompanied by Shyrleen Pottinger and Loris McDonald.

There will be musical items from the Vidlin School bairns and a short sketch by members of the SWRI. Time will also be set aside for a favourite carol slot and the evening will culminate with tea and home-bakes.

In addition to their Christmas event the Vidlin Methodists and Church of Scotland are also running a series of activity/social evenings in the Vidlin Hall. These are held on the first Wednesday evening of every month from 7pm to 9pm.

This initiative is still a fairly recent development but besides games for youngsters there has already been a card making session and a sharing of old wedding photographs for older patrons.

Also appealing to old and young alike, the organisers have had a loan of one of the Shetland Museum’s “reminiscence boxes”. Other activities are planned for future evenings and everyone of all ages is most welcome.

Christmas carols at Brae

The Brae Baptist Fellowship and the Brae Church of Scotland are organising a community carol concert in Brae Hall on 20th December at 6.30pm.

Again this promises to be a varied programme of musical items and readings by various people. Pastor Gwyn Stole of the Brae Baptist Fellowship was keen to stress that it is intended to be a community event to which all are most welcome.

Walls service – all welcome

At the Westside Ministers’ Group meeting last month one of the items on the agenda was the Christmas community service planned for the Walls Hall on 15th December.

This event was first held last year with the Lerwick Brass Band leading the music. This year the brass band is again providing the music and Liz McNab will give a short message. The organisers are keen to emphasise that music and carols will be the focus of the evening and hope that everyone will feel welcome to attend.

Lerwick nativity and much more

Following two previously very successful and well-attended community carol services – and in addition to their family nativity service on the same date at 11am – members of Lerwick Baptist Church are gearing up to hold their third community service in the Sound Hall on 20th December at 6pm.

There will be plenty of carol singing interspersed with various musical items including a few by the North Ness Boys. The Rev Iain Morrison of Lerwick Baptist Church was eager to convey that although the event was being organised by the Baptist Church, it was not a Baptist event – rather a non-denominational community service for everyone, regular church attendees or otherwise.

Compiled by Trevor Jamieson


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