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  • Debbie Thrower

Radio Church on Orkney

Updated: Jun 18


Revd Fraser Macnaughton, Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

'Everyone has a radio'

I was taking part in a webinar yesterday (16 June 2020) organised by Christians on Ageing and another contributor from Orkney, a group of islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland, told us about Radio Church.


'Everyone has a radio,' said the Revd Susan Kirkbride, as she extolled the virtues of this form of worship which has sprung up during lockdown.


Now the islands' care homes are gathering residents together at 3.00 pm every Sunday afternoon to listen to the half-hour service on the 'wireless'. 'They gather around, all together, thanks to the huge graciousness of Radio Orkney,' she said.


Last Sunday's Radio Church (14 June 2020), for example, was led by Fraser Macnaughton,

minister of St Magnus Cathedral. Known as the 'Light in the North', the cathedral in Kirkwall was founded in 1137 in honour of St Magnus, who was martyred in Orkney.


Also taking part was Salvation Army Lieutenant Rebecca Mitchinson. The theme was Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know.


There were readings and times of silence to allow the theme to develop fully:


Be… do not do or pretend to be anything… Be still, calm those anxious, unruly, whirling thoughts into stillness… Be still and know… as the flower knows the sun's rays, as the mouth knows bread, as the heart knows love, open yourselves to knowing. Be still and know that I am…


At a time when care homes are closed to visitors because of the pandemic, and Susan (who is the minister at the United Reformed Church's Peedie Kirk in Kirkwall) can't lead services in residential homes in the ways she and others have been used to doing, Radio Church has, clearly, been a lifeline.


She added: ‘Our wonderful local radio also have 'Friday Requests' – EVERYBODY listens to it. People have been putting in requests for folk in our homes, and the folk in the homes have been requesting. They did a few extras for Dementia Awareness Week. Also, they have extended the time slot for the programme. We have been blessed.’


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