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Reform Magazine | May 23, 2024

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The churches that make us: Peedie Kirk, Orkney - Reform Magazine

The churches that make us: Peedie Kirk, Orkney

Continuing a series covering the breadth of churches in the URC, Reform visits Kirkwall

All churches face barriers to overcome in their ecumenical relationships, but the Peedie Kirk in Orkney has its own special obstacles: its twice yearly joint service with Shapinsay Kirk, in the Church of Scotland, is only accessible by boat. Things are different on Orkney.

The Peedie Kirk is the most northerly church in the United Reformed Church – 59° north, the same as Oslo. I’m tempted to say that the Peedie Kirk is remote, but if you’re already in Orkney, I suppose it’s nothing of the kind.

The Peedie Kirk is in Kirkwall, the largest town in Orkney, home to 9,000 people, which accounts for 40% of all Orcadians. The word Peedie means ‘little’ in Orcadian, and the church is thought to have got its name from standing, almost, in the imposing shadow of St Magnus’ Cathedral, just across the road. The islands resound with history – neolithic monuments, bronze age houses; the cathedral is a Viking construction; the Peedie Kirk’s neighbour is the ruin of a renaissance palace; and the mass street-football game of Kirkwall Ba’ played at Christmas and New Year dates back at least to the 18th century…

Stephen Tomkins is the Editor of Reform. Do you know a church that Reform should cover in ‘The Churches that Make Us?’ Please get in touch on reform@urc.org.uk, or see page four for other contact details

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This is an extract from an article published in the April 2022 edition of Reform

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