Who we are and where we meet
The Scottish Episcopal Church is the Anglican Church in Scotland, in full communion with the Church of England and the other Churches within the Anglican family.
The Northwest Charge comprises a group of congregations of the Scottish Episcopal Church situated in the beautiful Northwest Highlands.
It forms part of the United Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness, under the episcopal oversight of the Most Rev’d Mark Strange, covering the whole of the far Northwest Highlands from Kinlochbervie, on the north-west coast, to Dundonnell, south of Ullapool, with worship-centres dotted around the coast at Ullapool, Achiltibuie, Lochinver and Kinlochbervie.
The Dioceses of Moray, Ross and Caithness came together to form the present United Diocese under Bishop Eden in 1864.
These three Dioceses were founded in the 12th Century, although the Church was active through the work of the great Celtic missionary saints and bishops before that and throughout the dark ages. The Northwest Charge is proud to have two of these missionary bishops as its patrons – St Boniface of Ross and St Gilbert of Caithness.
Today the Diocese comprises some 40 congregations which are drawn together from an area roughly the size of Wales.
In the 1970’s Bishop George Sessford sent Priests on a monthly basis from Inverness to provide for the pastoral and liturgical care of souls in this remote area. Notable among these were the Rev’d Donald Strachan and the Rev’d Canon Stewart Mallin, until a resident priest, Fr. Stanley Bennie, was appointed in the mid 1970’s.
Fr. Christopher Dormer succeeded him in October 1981 as “Itinerant Priest” of the West Coast Charge (everything from Kyle of Lochalsh to Cape Wrath.) During the interregnum from October 1998 until Fr. Nicholas Court was licensed at Epiphany 2009 as Mission Priest – and then Mission Rector of the newly-formed Northwest Charge which came into being in March 2011 – the congregations were cared for by priests from further afield in the Diocese. Fr. Nicholas continued as Mission Rector until his retirement in the summer of 2020. After a short interregnum, Revd Dr Clare Caley was licensed as Priest-in-charge of the Northwest Charge by Bishop Mark at the beginning of Advent 2020.
Of our four congregations, three of them make ‘holy space’ in community centres – no cold stone buildings with roofs to maintain, but warm and intimate gatherings to celebrate Christ’s presence among us. The fourth congregation, in Ullapool, meets in a delightfully bright chapel in a specially converted house.
Our worship is centered upon the Holy Eucharist, our congregations being enriched by those who join us from many traditions. We aim to make our outreach into the life of the communities of the Northwest Highlands bear the marks of discipleship of Jesus Christ.
We extend a very warm welcome to you to join us in worship and fellowship whether you live here or are just visiting this beautiful part of God’s Creation!
Click on the images below to find out more about our congregations and where they meet.