Kirk’s Gaelic prayers reach global audience

Each week since the start of the lockdown, the Church of Scotland has joined with other denominations and organisations across the country to publish a call to prayer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Gaelic translation has even reached as far as Australia and Canada, as well as Harris and Skye.

Lismore, an island lying just off Oban. Photograph taken by Dr Duncan Sneddon.
Lismore, an island lying just off Oban. Photograph taken by Dr Duncan Sneddon.

This invitation to join with Christians across Scotland and beyond in prayer and reflection has been welcomed by many as an important and encouraging reminder that while our buildings of stone may be closed, the true Church consists of the living stones, God's people, wherever they are.

Thanks to the Kirk's Gaelic Language Development Officer, Dr Duncan Sneddon, who provides translation into Gaelic, we have been able to provide a Gaelic version of the call to prayer and the prayer itself each week.

"Congregations and individuals have been using these prayers in their new online services, sharing them on Facebook and sending them around their congregational mailing lists," says Dr Sneddon.

"Most of the congregations making use of the Gaelic prayer are in the Highlands, Skye and the Western Isles, but the Gaelic congregations in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been using them as well, along with Gaelic speakers across Scotland.”

“The prayers are being circulated in the Gaelic diaspora,” Dr Sneddon added.

"There's an annual Gaelic-English bilingual ecumenical service in Melbourne, as well as ecumenical Gaelic services in Nova Scotia, where a few churches incorporate Gaelic in different ways.

“We send the prayer around these groups every week, which means people around the world are joining together in prayer in Gaelic; in Australia and Canada as in Harris and Skye.

“Separated from each other physically, we can still join with each other to worship in spirit and truth, to praise God and to seek His protection and guidance in these dark and troubled times.”

As well as being published on the Church of Scotland website, the call to prayer in Gaelic has also been distributed through an email list and on social media.

Resources for Gaelic speakers and learners

If you would like to be added to the mailing list, and receive the Gaelic translation of the ecumenical prayer, or if you are interested in joining a Gaelic learners group reading the Bible, please send an email to Dr Sneddon.

More Gaelic prayers, including prayers for children, prayers arranged by subject, and prayers for each day of the year, can be found on the An Sgeul Mòr website. The website also includes a collection of worship and devotional resources in Gaelic, including hymns, prayers and guidance for reading the Bible.

BBC Alba frequently features Church of Scotland ministers on Alleluia, broadcast on Sunday evenings. This Sunday (21 June) at 7:25pm, Rev David Nicolson will be presenting.