The Mustard Seed Cafe

The Mustard Seed Cafe starts tomorrow.

Sleat & Strath Free Church is committed to replanting a church in Broadford after a ten year absence. The latest step in that process is starting a free community lunch called the Mustard Seed Cafe.
Jesus illustrated the Kingdom of God, likening it to a mustard seed – a small, insignificant seed that grows to become a great tree where the birds of the air find shelter. Through the Mustard Seed Cafe we hope to do just that: provide, in the first instance, a warm, friendly place for people to meet up. We hope to serve the real needs of people, providing them with a hot meal. We also hope the lunch will give us opportunities to build relationships with people in our community.
Please pray for this work – it is the first outward step towards re-establishing the Free Church in the second most populous part of the Isle of Skye. In the coming weeks we will be starting Christianity Explored, and plan to shortly resume Sunday Services in the area.
If you are in the Broadford area, stop in for a free lunch at the Broadford Village Hall, 12:00-2:00pm Wednesdays 3rd, 10th 24th Novermber and 8th, 22nd December.

Donations in support of this and other outreach aspects of our work (as opposed to the upkeep of a preaching ministry) can be forwarded to Mr. Harry Saunders, Brookside, Old Kyle Farm Road, Kyleakin.
Sleat & Strath Free Church is a registered as a Scottish Charity, No. SC034148.

Press Releases

South Skye & Lochalsh Candidates Debate

A coalition of churches in South Skye and Lochalsh today announced their plan to host a hustings-style event in the Lochalsh Hotel, Kyle on Monday 19th April at 7:30pm.   The event, South Skye and Lochalsh Candidates Debate, was envisaged several months ago, as a way for local churches to provide a venue for their own members, but also the wider community, where the candidates will face ordinary voters with real questions.

“Very often the church is seen lamenting lost influence in public life,” said Gordon Matheson, minister at Sleat & Strath Free Church.   “There are a few ways we, as Christians, can respond to this: – we can either withdraw into ever more exclusive groups and isolate ourselves from public life; others might set up ‘Christian’ parties to reassert what we see as lost influence; or we can take every effort possible to engage in the political process, and through that make a contribution for the good of our communities.   This event was planned to give our own members that chance – to put their issues to the candidates.

“As we discussed an event like this, we realised our community at large doesn’t get that opportunity to interact with all the candidates together.   We saw this as one area where we could do something beneficial to serve our community, and so we decided from the outset that this should be a public event.   Of course we remain concerned about moral issues in public life, and society; but Christians are concerned, to varying degrees, about taxation, the deficit, the size of the state, military spending, Trident missiles, or social justice.   So it would be unfair to for candidates to expect to be faced exclusively with questions on moral issues.”

The event doors will open at 7:30pm, aiming to begin the debate at 8:00pm.   This will give time to set up primed questions, make sure questioners are seated near mics, etc.   The candidates will each have 2 or 3 minutes to make a pitch to the audience, and this will be followed by a “Question time” style discussion.

At the time of this release we have confirmed commitments to attend from: Charles Kennedy (Lib Dem); Alasdair Stephen (SNP); Donald Cameron (Conservative) and Philip Anderson (UKIP).   The event will be chaired by Duncan Ferguson, Head Teacher at Plockton High School.   Invitations have also been extended to UKIP and the Greens.   John McKendrick (Labour) will not be attending due to professional commitments elsewhere.

The event will be recorded, and Cullins FM plan to broadcast it in full the next day.

People attending are encouraged to contact Gordon Matheson on 01471 833 281, or by email at if they want to ask a specific question.   Comments are allowed on this post (below).


Why are we changing the Sunday School?

Sleat & Strath Free Church
New Sunday School Setup
Parents’ Briefing

After the October school holidays we are planning a change to the way we run and organise Sunday school in the congregation.   This information bulletin has been provided to help explain why the Kirk Session feels we need to make the changes and how we hope the new setup will benefit the congregation.

Present Situation
On the face of things, the present setup is operating just fine.   This might leave some people wondering why we are in a rush to chance this feature of our congregational life.   The Kirk Session have some concerns about how things work at present.   One of our concerns is the spiritual health of our Sunday school staff and helpers.   Right now the same small team run all of our Sunday school program – from pre-school right through to Secondary-aged pupils.    That means that three adults in the congregation are missing at least one service every week, for four fifths of the year.
As we investigated the options to lessen the burden on our team, we discovered a number of other problems.   Firstly, the upper class are at a stage where they should really be trying to apply Biblical teaching to real life situations, but they lack the basic Bible knowledge to do this effectively.   We discovered the reason for this was the very broad age-range in the younger class, where there is far too broad an age-range to teach them all effectively.
This led us to consider other options, e.g. expanding the number of classes, so that we could have a well supervised pre-school crèche; a younger aged class and an older aged class.   However, the bottom line is that we do not have enough members to provide the regular commitment needed to teach two classes, and supervise a crèche.

A coincidence or God’s plan?
At the same time, Gordon was talking to John Urquhart and discovered that the Church of Scotland congregation at Kilmore have much of the same problems.   Their facilities are poor, and the teachers there are facing spiritual burn out, trying to carry the load of a weekly Sunday School class.   The conversation turned to ways in which we could cooperate in this area of our work, and it was agreed to approach both Kirk Sessions to see if they would consider a joint Sunday School.   Both Kirk Sessions agreed to investigate the possibility, and later representatives from both congregations met to discuss how we might organise a joint Sunday School.
In a meeting clearly marked by the presence of God’s Spirit, we were able to overcome a number of obstacles – where (a “neutral” venue with good facilities); when (our own Kirk Session had been discussing a change to 11:00am already); who (a core team who would carry the bulk of the teaching, with extra helpers).   Following these discussions, both Kirk Sessions agreed to bring the proposed changes to their congregations.

The Plan & The Benefits
Meet in the school                        
Excellent facilities, more room for classes, neutral venue, familiar to all our kids
Meet at 11:00am                            
A longer afternoon, making it easier for people wanting to attend services in Sleat and Strath
Continue our own crèche
Younger children will still be near / with their parents at church – we should also say we are flexible about the age when kids move up from crèche to Sunday School, if you would rather they stay at crèche until P2, that’s OK.
Smaller Classes                               
Better teaching for the kids, with more opportunity for staff to attend church services themselves (we envisage a “3-on-3-off” rota)
Outreach Opportunity                 
Having the Sunday School “away” from church might encourage some parents who don’t currently attend to send their kids, opening up new outreach opportunities

Children in Church?
We want to underline and emphasise that we are always delighted to see children in church.   We hope the new setup for Sunday School will not make the kids feel unwelcome at church.   Therefore we have two other things to consider.   Firstly, at Sunday School, part of the time will “feel” like church, with group singing, someone praying, and reading the Bible.   Secondly, during the school holidays we plan to adapt our services to a more child-friendly format.   Crèche will still be on for pre-school kids, but we want to encourage older kids to stay in for the whole service.   In the long term, we hope this plan will help kids see church-attendance as something they will continue with, even after it becomes uncool.

Sleat & Strath Kirk Session

October 2009