URC’s Most Northerly Church

Revd Susan Kirkbride outside Peedie Kirk

At the end of June, I spent a few days visiting our most northerly church: the Peedie Kirk in Kirkwall on the Orkney main island.  Peedie means small, but it is small only in relation to St Magnus Cathedral, which is less than 100 metres down the road.  Incidentally, St Magnus is one of the best maintained cathedrals I have ever seen, due mainly to the fact that it is the council’s responsibility to maintain it.  Revd Susan Kirkbride and her husband Mark were my hosts, and very hospitable they were too!

Whilst I was there I met with the elders and a number of people for the local ACTS council of churches, including the Presbytery Moderator.  I was left with the distinct impression that the local churches work really well together, which is good news.  The church has deep roots in the community and is involved in a range of activities, including providing an ‘open house’ lunch venue for the Orkney International Science Festival!

‘Postmaster General’ Mark with his new assistant, Kate



Susan and Mark have integrated well into the community, so much so that Mark now runs the Post Office in Finstown – where he tried to recruit my wife as an assistant!


Almost midnight in Orkney: Kate and Alan take coffee in the wind.

Whilst Kate and I were in Orkney we came to understand their unique climate, which is mild and windy.  You may have seen the Facebook post (copied here) showing us drinking coffee by the coast at 11:30 PM (and it was still light!).  You can tell it was windy, but what you can’t see is that it was so windy that the coffee was being blown out of the cups!


Overall, a great visit to a lovely church on a fantastic island.  Thanks, Peedie Kirk.



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