Tain Museum Image Library

Open air service
Tain Museum Image Library
Open air service

This post card shows a large crowd participating in the Sacraments service in the open air at Ferintosh in 1873. This would have been quite a common ocurrence at that time. Scattered communities could not all have their own church and their own minister. People would have come from far and wide to attend this important occasion.
Picture added on 15 February 2006
This Ferintosh communion is at The Burn (Grid reference, NH 579 577), now a nature reserve. The small building with the preaching booth on the gable end, to protect ministers from the weather (see umbrellas), still stands. The most remarkable difference is the absence of trees in 1873, the area is now heavily treed. The hills beyond, seen across the Cromarty Firth are near Dingwall. The largest recorded attendance at a Burn communion was in 1814, when it is said that as many as 10, 000 were present. The preacher that year was the Rev John MacDonald, who had been inducted to the parish of Urquhart the previous year. This, his first communion in the parish, was to have been held a few days after his wife's sudden death and when it was suggested to MacDonald it might be postponed his courageous remark was, "Let not the death of my wife interfere with commemorating the death of my Saviour." (John Kennedy, The Apostle of the North, London: T Nelson, 1866, p.79.). An annual service, though not a communion, is still held by local congregations.
Added by John Ross on 07 March 2008
I wish we were as numerous and as faithful today. I can't imagine such a crowd, especially outdoors & in the rain!
Added by Shauna Brown, Toronto ON Canada on 18 August 2015
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