A very warm welcome to St. Magnus Church.
Whether you are visiting Shetland on holiday, have recently come here to live or are just passing by, we are pleased that you have visited us. We hope that this website will help to explain something about us and that you will be able to join us in worship. You will find details of our services elsewhere on this page.
We hope that you enjoy your visit to St. Magnus and your time in Shetland.
Shetland lies over 200 miles north of Aberdeen and a similar distance from Norway. This isolation has created a self-reliant spirit and a strong sense of identity and community. The main forms of travel to the islands are by boat via Aberdeen and aeroplane from Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow.
The Shetland Isles themselves consists of over 100 islands although only 10 are inhabited. They are beautiful islands, with three miles being the furthest distance you can be from seeing the sea. The majority of Shetlanders live on the main island. Lerwick the main town has a population of 7,000 people. After this, the rest of the 22,000 population is quite evenly distributed throughout the rest of the islands.
The main sources of economic activity in the islands are the oil industry, fisheries and aquaculture, agriculture, knitwear and tourism. Shetland Islands Council is the single largest employer. In recent years, Shetland has experienced a degree of economic instability due to a decline in the oil, fishing and aquaculture industries. However, there has been a growth in tourism. Shetland is not a quiet back water where nothing happens. Rather it is a vibrant, active community with lots of cultural and social activities. It boasts excellent sports and community facilities in addition to the diverse wildlife and scenic walks. The life of the church is closely connected with the life of the community.
St Magnus Life and Progress in Recent years
St Magnus Church is based near the centre of Lerwick. It is the main Scottish Episcopal Church in Shetland and its congregation are from all over Shetland. Although there is a solid core of members turn over can be quite high due to people moving to and from the islands. St Magnus Church started the year 2009 with 70 communicant members and 130 adherents (i.e. baptised and associated with the church). There are at present some 200 members on the roll. The Rector of St Magnus Episcopal Church is also Rector of St Colman's Episcopal Church on the island of Yell (15 communicants, 50 members). The Society of the Our Lady of the Isles is located on the island of Fetlar. The Rev Liz McNab, non-stipendiary Assistant Priest, is currently developing her ministry working ecumenically on the west-side of Mainland as well as being an important part of our ministry team here. As a result of Mission 21 and following the Local Collaborative Ministry programme we also have a group in the South Mainland who meet regularly for prayer, study and mutual encouragement.
The congregation of St Magnus has a lot of talented and capable people who are keen to build the life of the church. Over the past three years, the congregation has been actively exploring the concept of Local Collaborative Ministry without coming to any definite conclusions as yet. Members are involved in all the various levels of the Church in terms of the life of the Church and pastoral care. Fund raising activities such as social evenings, coffee mornings and sales are frequent events in the well appointed Church Hall. Sung Eucharist is at the centre of our worship, and the choir and music play an important role in church services. The Sunday school is growing and active with attempts also to involve the children in worship and we are following a new style of teaching called 'Godly Play'. We also have Evening Prayer each Sunday and there are many other opportunities for prayer both private and corporate.
There have been opportunities for the congregation to learn and study together and group study sessions which have frequently been led by LCM specialists from the Diocese and elsewhere have been well supported. The Vestry meets on a regular basis and there are three sub-committees which consider (a), Development themes, (b), Administration, Finance and Property and Fund Raising (c), Coordination of events and organisation, Reports from these committees are made to the Vestry. This current structure is quite new and is under review every year. However, we must always be aware to develop our spiritual life in the church.
The physical condition of the church building has meant a determined effort to raise the funds for completely re-slating the roof, replacing the guttering and pipework, pointing the whole building and repairing the structural damage brought about by encroaching moisture and wind-stress. We have also replaced the leading within the stained-glass windows and clean and secure them. Thanks to hard fund-raising, several generous grants (from both local and national bodies) we have completed phase one of this task with Tower work now being the final phase so far anticipated..
The church is open each day, seven days a week and used by a variety of individuals as a place for quiet time and reflection. A relatively high percentage of the congregation have been involved in other denominations previous to St Magnus with a sizeable proportion being incomers to the islands.
There are a small number of young people in the church. There is an increasing awareness of involving them in activities and giving them more responsibilities within the church.
St Magnus and Other Churches in the Community
St Magnus maintains good relationships with all the churches in Lerwick and, in particular, the congregation has worked together with St Margaret's Roman Catholic Church in social events. The Rector and two other representatives from the church are members of the Shetland Churches Council Trust. St Magnus shares in the responsibilities for services at the local hospital and care homes.
Rev Liz McNab continues to be the assistant priest for St Magnus and St Colman she also has an active ministry ecumenically on the West side of Shetland.
St Magnus actively supports inter denominational events and encourages co-operation with other churches. Shetland Bible week is an annual event.St Magnus participates in the week of prayer for Christian unity. The established church in this community is the Church of Scotland. Some of our members have also been involved in an inter-faith group working to create greater understanding and trust between all faiths and groups within the Christian community.
Our Priorities as a Congregation (Aims for the Future)
The main priorities of the Congregation were established at the Annual Review Visit to St Magnus. It is thought that our energy and skills should be concentrated on these four areas: children's work, pastoral care, worship and administration. There also needs to be continuous communication between these groups and the Vestry (church council). For example, it was identified that further work needs to be undertaken on welcoming newcomers into the church.
The two main foci will be the further development and implementation of the concepts of Local Collaborative Ministry including the involvement of members in worship, continued church growth and outreach into the community and, secondly, the restoration and refurbishment of the church building itself (an application for funding has been submitted to the Lottery Heritage - a substantial sum has been awarded to the Church subject to a host of conditions which are being worked through as bids for the work to be done are sought).
Address of St Magnus Church and Rectory.
St. Magnus' Rectory,
14, Greenfield Place,