Thursday, 21 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 32

Today we are visiting St Columba's Church in Queen Street, Nairn.

In the early days of Scottish Church life, the Dean’s benefice was that of Nairn, and was dedicated to St.Columba, the dedication of the present Church. 1729 saw the death of the last Episcopalian Incumbent before the Revolution, after which occasional services were held in various locations.

A church dedicated to St. Ninian, was built in 1845 at the corner of Lochloy Road. The congregation persistently refused to accept the authority of the Scottish Bishops and continued as one of the ‘English Episcopal Churches’ in Scotland. In 1853 Bishop Eden appointed the Reverend John Comper to gather together a Scottish Episcopalian congregation in the town. They met in an ‘upper room’ until a Church was built in 1857, dedicated to St. Columba.

The two churches continued separately until 1879 when the schismatic church ceased to exist. In 1870 St. Columba’s Church was extended to its present size, and in 1889 the pipe organ was built.

The interior of the Church is rich in stained glass - the rose window is very special, as are the windows by Sir Ninian Comper, (with his “strawberry signature”) one of which is in memory of his father, who established the congregation.

Rock of ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure,
cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Not the labour of my hands
can fulfill thy law's demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Saviour, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyelids close in death,
when I soar through tracts unknown
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.

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