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Sundown by the sea


On a gorgeous evening in Dunure, overlooking the Isle of Arran and the Holy Isle, the Alloway and Fisherton Churches came together for an extraordinary service. This event marked the start of the Sundown Services by the sea, warmly attended by around 40 people from both churches and some delightful passers-by.


As the evening unfurled, a medley of praise hymns filled the air, adding a harmonious backdrop to the insightful talks led by Neil and David. The talks provided fresh perspectives on the summer solstice and the Holy Isle, leaving attendees both enlightened and entertained. Following the service, the atmosphere of fellowship and camaraderie continued in Kennedy Hall with an inviting spread of tea, coffee, biscuits, and cakes, and a merry sing-along.


Neil initiated proceedings with an upbeat exploration of the dwindling summer nights. He delved into the significance of the summer solstice, once a pagan celebration symbolised by the alignment of Stonehenge's heel and altar stones with the rising sun. The summer solstice, however, was adopted by Christians, making it a moment of remembrance, not only for the physical sun but also the Son of God.


Neil linked the solstice to the birth of St. John, who was among the first to recognise Jesus as the Messiah, the light that had arrived into the world. As Neil highlighted, St. John’s birth, unlike the norm of celebrating a saint's death, is commemorated. With an infectious enthusiasm, he playfully reminded everyone that the gradual decrease of daylight also signals the onset of Christmas in approximately six months!


Next up was David, sharing his personal experiences and fascinating insights about the Holy Isle. This island, inhabited by wild ponies, goats, and sheep, is steeped in spiritual significance, dating back to the sixth century when it was founded as a sacred site by monk St. Molaise.


David narrated the intriguing story of Kay Morris, a devout Catholic who owned the island in 1992. Kay, following a profound dream, gifted the island to the Buddhist community. The island now hosts a variety of retreats, offering individuals the opportunity for peace, meditation, and contemplation. However, David light-heartedly cautioned that, while these retreats are peaceful, they aren't cheap, and attendees might even find themselves doing some cooking and cleaning!


Inspired by the tranquil solitude on Holy Isle, David challenged everyone to take moments of calm from their busy lives. He encouraged setting aside five, ten, or even fifteen minutes a day to be still and spend time with God. His talk underscored the need to take time to connect with one's soul and God amidst the everyday hustle and bustle.


Both Neil and David's enlightening talks concluded with a heartfelt prayer, offering thanks for the opportunity to gather, share insights, and extend comfort and care. The prayer called for assistance in finding time to relax and truly be in God's presence, reminding everyone of the need for tranquillity and contemplation in our lives.


The evening wrapped up on a cheerful note, with a call for volunteers to help serve refreshments at Kennedy Hall. The congregation then joined in a joyful sing-along, embodying the spirit of unity, celebration, and fellowship that had characterised the evening.


Whether you attended the service or not, we hope that this recap brought a bit of its magic to you, and perhaps even inspired you to create a bit of quiet time for yourself in your daily routine. Stay tuned for more updates from our Sundown Services by the sea.

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