Moderator hopes to find out about his family history on visit to Caithness
THE Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is preparing to spend more than a week in Caithness – and, as well as attending a series of formal engagements, he hopes to find out more about his family connection to the county.
From this Saturday (September 21) until Monday, September 30, the Rt Rev Colin Sinclair will be travelling around the area to meet local people and conduct worship services as well as visiting Wick lifeboat station, Caithness General Hospital, North Highland College UHI, the East Caithness Community Facility and the Beatrice offshore wind farm operations and maintenance base. He will also go to schools and take part in guild gatherings.
Speaking ahead of his trip, Rt Rev Sinclair said: “Caithness will be the first of four presbytery visits during my year as Moderator and my wife Ruth and I are looking forward very much to visiting a part of Scotland we do not know.
On a personal level, Caithness is Sinclair country and my grandparents moved down from Caithness to Glasgow.
“We have a full programme visiting churches and guild gatherings as well as going to schools, North Highland College and a youth club.
“We hope to learn more about rural life and the work of the lifeboat service and the growth of wind farms.
“On a personal level, Caithness is Sinclair country and my grandparents moved down from Caithness to Glasgow. We are hoping to visit where they lived.”
The Rev Andrew Barrie, the minister at Pulteneytown and Thrumster Church, welcomed the visit of the Moderator to the area.
“We’re very excited to be welcoming the Moderator to our county,” he said. “We hope that in his visit he will get to see some of the great community and other work that makes our county such a great place to live.
“We also hope that his visit will encourage the churches as they continue in serving God in our county.
“We are especially looking forward to the visit to the new Beatrice operations and maintenance office which has brought a revitalising presence in our harbour, which is so important to the history and life of our community.”
Rt Rev Sinclair will lead a worship service at Halkirk and Westerdale Parish Church from 10am this Sunday, and a later worship service at St Peter’s and St Andrew’s Church in Thurso from 6.30pm.
During the day on Monday, September 23, the Moderator will visit Caithness General Hospital to hear a presentation on rural care as well as to find out more about the hospital’s pastoral partnership. Later in the afternoon, he will visit Pulteney House care home in Wick, before spending the evening at a civic reception hosted by civic leader Willie Mackay at Wick Town Hall from 7pm.
On Tuesday, Rt Rev Sinclair will be visiting college students and staff before attending a guild gathering at Thurso West Church from 7pm.
He will travel to Dunbeath Primary School on Wednesday before having lunch at the Dunbeath Centre. In the evening, he will address a special public meeting of Caithness Church of Scotland Presbytery, followed by refreshments at Wick St Fergus Church from 7pm.
The Moderator will continue his local parish visits on Thursday with a trip to Pentland Parish.
On the morning of Friday, September 27, Rt Rev Sinclair will make his final two school visits to Newton Park Primary School and Wick High.
In the afternoon, he will be visiting Wick harbour and the town’s RNLI station. During this time, he will be shown some of the new developments at the port including the new Beatrice base.
In the evening, he will attend the Lybster Friday Club at the Parish of Latheron Church of Scotland from 6.30pm.
On his penultimate full day in Caithness, the Moderator will spend his afternoon at a tea dance in Caithness with Enable Scotland, which was set up to make life better for people who have a learning disability, as well as their families.
On Sunday, September 29, he will lead the worship service at Halladale Parish Church from 11am, before later leading the worship service at Pulteneytown Parish Church from 6.30pm.