You will be bored by now with us spamming you about St Comghan’s Chapel and the various awards it has been shortlisted for but last week was a very significant event.
On a construction project, completion is marked in various ways – by certifying Practical Completion, the local authority accepting the completion certificate, by the removal vans arriving or the house warming party. For a chapel things are a bit more formal and last week was the Dedication Service when the chapel was formally set apart for the worship and glory of God.
Despite the diminutive size of the chapel it was a big event with around 90 guests and presided over by an ecumenical line up of local no less than four clergy. The Catholic Bishop of Argyll, the Right Reverend Brian McGee, was unable to attend as he was with a youth trip to Kericho in Kenya.
Obviously with these numbers the majority of the event took place outdoors and, despite the forecast, the day was glorious. The clergy arrived by boat along the loch echoing the journeys across the sea of Columba and Comghan. Nicolas Ibanez Scott welcomed us and set out his vision for the Kilchoan Estate and how it sits within the context of the economic, social and environmental challenges facing us and the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment and his vision for Kilchoan as a place where a dialogue can take place with a particular emphasis on the rewilding of the ecosystem, looking to the future with a clear understanding of the intellectual and practical legacy of the past. This was followed by a talk by the Moderator of the Presbytery of Argyll, Reverend Dr. Roderick Campbell who recounted the history of the area, the Celtic saints and of Christianity in Argyll.
The service itself started with a welcome from the local minister Reverend Dr. Kenneth R. Ross, in Gaelic, Spanish and English and singing the Old Hundredth Psalm. A candlestick, a bible and a chalice were presented by three local young people as symbols of the Light of Christ, of the Word and of the Sacraments.
The Right Reverend Monsignor James L. MacNeil read from Genesis 28: 10-22 and Colossians 3: 1-4 and then The Right Reverend Kevin Pearson preached on human and divine love before we shared in an ecumenical communion service.
The closing hymn, Be Thou my Vision, was appropriately originally written by the 6th century Irish poet Dallán Forgaill.
After an instrumental rendition of John Rutter’s Gaelic Blessing we all processed to the chapel where at the door a final litany of dedication was spoken and the symbolic objects were taken in. The door was then finally opened for everyone to enter. The sun was streaming through the new stained glass windows designed by Katherine Sanders and clouds of incense.
After whetting our appetites with some Chilean empanadas we all sat down for a delicious buffet lunch of local produce – beautiful venison, trout, langoustine, salads and strawberries, vegans also catered for.