St James the Great Church lies in the growing town of Dingwall, some twelve miles north of Inverness. The church building dates from the second half of the nineteenth century (replacing a similar structure destroyed by fire) and is simple and compact (seating a hundred). Attached to the church is the hall built in 2005.
St Anne’s Church lies in Strathpeffer, five miles west of Dingwall. Strathpeffer is a spa town which still has a substantial tourist presence. Also from the nineteenth century the church is ornate and larger than St James with seating for 180.
Service times alternate week by week with a 9.30 a.m. Said Eucharist (once a month including matins and an 11 a.m. Sung Eucharist. Most people in the congregation are happy to worship in either building. With the exception of the matins service we use the 1982 liturgy. Music is mainly traditional, although this is supplemented by modern material from a variety of sources.
The congregation is mixed in many ways. We have children and teenagers as well as adults of a variety of ages. We have many incomers but also those with strong local roots as well as people from other parts of Scotland. We have people from a variety of social backgrounds.
Amongst the activities that take place in our congregational life are Young Church, Choir, Wednesday Club (a weekly coffee morning), Growing Space (a fortnightly discussion group), a fortnightly Fairtrade stall, a weekly collection box for the local food bank, links to CMS missionary work, pilgrimages to stay with the Iona Community and to visit places more locally for the day, a monthly whist drive, various social and fundraising events.
Members of the congregation are encouraged to explore and use their gifts. They take a leading role in many of the above activities as well as being involved in serving, reading lessons, leading intercessions, singing and music, flower arranging and the usual round of church tasks.
For the future there are many challenges including that of how we invite and encourage others to join us on the joyful and challenging journey of faith. There are opportunities for engagement with the growing number of migrant workers in the community and for dialogue with modern ‘spirituality’ in the wider sense. Issues of the environment and social justice are of concern to many of our members. There is a concern by many not to lose that of value from the past.