St. Maelrubha's Scottish Episcopal Church, Poolewe



Welcome to St Maelrubha's Scottish Episcopal Church, Poolewe.

St. Maelrubha's Church is one of the western most churches in the United Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness whose Bishop is The Rt. Rev. Mark Strange.

In 2017 Bishop Mark was elevated to the position of Primus; head of the Scottish Episcopal Church


Bishop Mark conducted a special service at St Maelrubha's where the First Wester Ross Air Scouts Colours were presented and blessed, and are now in the church. Bishop Mark was very pleased because he was a scout and is still involved in scouting.



Our Priest-in Charge at St Maelrubha's is the Reverend Heather Widdows who also serves Courthill Chapel at Kishorn.


Heather was ordained to the Diaconate in St Maelrubha's in February 1996 and priested in St Andrew's Cathedral, Inverness at Petertide - June 27th 1997. She was the first woman to be priested in the Cathedral and second woman in the Diocese. From Easter 1999 when our then paid priest, Reverend Chris Dormer left, Heather also served Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Achiltibuie, Ullapool, Poolewe , Kishorn and Nostie (Kyle).


Awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the people of Gairloch Parish in the New-year of 2016, Heather also taught full time in Gairloch Primary from 1974 to Christmas 2007 and following her retirement continues to be involved in numerous activities in the community. Heather regards her ministry as being to the wider community as well as to St Maelrubha’s congregation, making regular visits to the elderly and housebound and holding services at Isle View Nursing Home for the residents. She is also a Scout Leader and Scout Padre and serves on both the Gairloch Community Hall and Swimming Pool Committees, bakes for and assists at Tea Dances and is a member of West Coast Arts and various choirs, to name but a few of her activities!


Services of Holy Eucharist are held every Sunday at 11am. Services are also held once a month at 4pm on a Wednesday at Isle View Nursing Home. See our Facebook page for dates.


The church bell was gifted to St Maelrubha's by the congregation of St Columba's Church, Southwick, Sunderland.


The other members of the South West Charge are Courthill Chapel at Kishorn where Holy Eucharist is at 10-30am on Sunday, and St Donan's at Nostie, Kyle of Lochalsh where Holy Eucharist is also at 10-30am on Sunday. Our Mission Church at Kinlochewe hold a service in the Kinlochewe Community Centre at 2-30pm on the first Sunday of each month.


All visitors to this beautiful part of Scotland are welcome to attend our services and to share Holy Communion with us.



St Maelrubha's a short history


Episcopal worship in the North West of Scotland suffered severe oppression from 1745 until the late 19th Century. In the early 1950’s an Itinerant Priest was appointed to minister to the West Coast of Ross (excluding Ullapool), Brora, Dornoch and the Black Isle. Services in Gairloch and District were conducted fortnightly in various venues until 1960 when Poolewe Village Hall became the home of Episcopal Worship. On being advised that the hall would have to be demolished the congregation sought permission to build their own Episcopal Church in Poolewe. That permission was given and a building fund was started. The fund attracted grants from the Episcopal Diocese and Province. A cow byre gifted to the congregation by a local crofter was pulled down to be rebuilt on a site donated by the landowners, the MacDonald-Buchanan family. A more detailed history of our church is produced in the form of a booklet, on sale in the church hall for £2.


This is the first Episcopal Church to be called St. Maelrubha’s, built since 1745 was dedicated by the Bishop Rt. Rev. D. MacInnes on 8th April 1965. An historic event!

Easter Sunday 18th April saw the first Holy Communion and a Baptism celebrated in the church by the then Itinerant Priest Rev. S. A. T. Mallin.


Over the years prudent stewardship and sale of some land has enabled the congregation to build a church hall and a two bedroom holiday home attached, both of which provide the church with income through their hire.


Fair Trade Church


St Maelrubha's Church is now registered as a Fair Trade Church.


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Charity number SCO 20389

Rev. Heather Widdows

The  Very Reverend Mark Jeremy Strange

Our Bishop, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.


Mark was Brought up in Aberdeen where he was a choirboy and server in St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Whilst studying Divinity at Aberdeen University he also worked as a bar man in the city. He then attended Theological College in Lincoln and served the Diocese of Worcester before becoming Rector of Holy Trinity, Elgin in our Diocese. He was Convenor of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Youth Committee and ran the annual summer youth camps at Glenalmond, Perth. Mark was consecrated as Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness in 2007 and, at the age of 56, is the youngest member of the College of Bishops. He was elected Primus this year on June 27th 2017. It has been 82 years since a Bishop of Moray was last elected Primus. He is married to Jane , a teacher in Bishop Eden’s Episcopal Primary School, Inverness, and they have a son and two daughters.

On his election he said, ‘I am deeply privileged to be the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and will continue to serve in my beloved Highlands while I also step into new and exciting journeys of faith in both Scotland and the wider international church. I am humbled by the confidence shown in me by my colleagues and I will seek to serve the church as Primus with love and strength.’


Dean of Moray Ross & Caithness


Very Reverend Alison Simpson was appointed Dean of the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness in 2014. She is a graduate of St Andrew’s University and a Master of Theology from Princeton University, U.S.A. She served for ten years as a Church of Scotland minister in Glasgow and Aberdeenshire from 1988 to 1998 where she began the process of transferring into the Scottish Episcopal Church. Dean Alison has been in our Diocese on the east since 2002, initially as Rector of Christ Church, Huntly, Holy Trinity, Keith and St Marnan’s, Aberchirder, then as Priest- in - Charge of Gordon Chapel, Fochabers, and has been Rector of St. Columba’s, Nairn since 2009, as well as Chaplain to Inverness Airport and Fort George. She served as Diocesan Synod Clerk from 2012- 2014.


Rev. Heather Widdows, 01445 712176

Services of Holy Eucharist are held

every Sunday at 11am