Churches of the Strath - a Way of Life
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,
Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence .
The best known of the reformers was in fact an ordained Catholic priest – namely John Knox . The enthusiasm of Knox and his followers was blighted by the unnecessary destruction of churches, icons and indeed anything which could be attributed to the old faith . Despite being a card carrying member of the Presbyterian Kirk ,I distance myself from such behaviour . Ineptitude seems to have been replaced with a brand of intolerance I find unacceptable. In the 1970s I lived and worked in Iran when the Khomeini Revolution erupted. The violence and destruction personally witnessed draws a parallel with the Reformation centuries earlier. In nearby Perth the Dominican Friary ended its existence in a violent way. In St John's Kirk, John Knox's sermon against idolatry, preached on 11th May 1559 ignited the wrath of congregation. Some of them (Knox called them "the rascal multitude") took him at his word, stoned the priest, stripped the church of all its fittings and ornaments, then ran to the Greyfriars, Blackfriars and Charterhouse monasteries and stripped them down to bare walls. The ancient Abbey of Inchaffray at Madderty was targeted and we in the Strath lost forever a gem which was never to be replaced.
"New " Episcopal Church Perth Road
Former Episcopal Church in Lodge Street Crieff
( above )