Parish Profile

COLL linked with CONNEL.

Charity No SC0006738

Please note: following our recent link with Ardchattan the profile for the new linkage is available on our About page.



1. Introduction

The Parish of Coll linked with Connel is vacant after the retirement of our previous minister, Rev. George Cringles in February 2017. The congregations of St. Oran’s, Dunbeg and Coll wish to call a new minister and have obtained permission from Argyll Presbytery (Unrestricted call).

This Church profile has been prepared to provide a description of the parish in order to provide applicants with an overview of the parishes of Connel and Dunbeg.

Parish congregations of the three churches are part of the wider fellowship of believing people who worship the one true, living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who confess Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, seek to walk in His Ways and serve Him in the world.

Our Parish Vision

Our ongoing ambition is to be a church where people meet to be with their God in worship and to enjoy the company of other Christians and those who wish to learn more of the Christian faith and experience a change to their life that Jesus wishes us each to have.

To help us on this path in sincere and faithful worship, we have been (and are) praying for a new minister to teach the message of God’s love and forgiveness – the promise of a new life to those who put their trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Further, we ask for a minister who will –

  • Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is relevant to today
  • Provide spiritual help and sacraments to those who live in the parish
  • Help us all to grow in faith on our spiritual journey
  • Incorporate traditional and contemporary style worship in the services
  • Provide leadership for the church and demonstrate good people skills
  • Work in a shared ministry utilising the skills of the elders and congregation
  • Provide pastoral care to those of all ages in the Parish
  • Respond to the needs of people of all ages and recognise their value
  • Be a visible presence and active member of the community.

Our congregations are generally of the older generation and an inspirational minister who would help the younger generation be actively involved would be greatly appreciated.

Our Promise

Our Minister will receive the support and encouragement from the Kirk Sessions and the whole church family.  We are firmly committed to reach out and care for our whole church family and community, responding to their individual needs.

  1. Charge of Coll linked with Connel


The linked parishes are –

  • Parish of Coll is situated on an island in the Inner Hebrides between the Islands of Mull and Tiree.
  • Parish of Connel is situated on the West coast of mainland Argyll, 4 miles North of Oban,

These two parishes were linked as a condition of calling the previous minister. Although some miles separate the two parishes, there is a direct CalMac ferry link from Oban to Coll with 8 weekly sailings in July and August, 7 weekly sailings April, May, June, September, and part of October and 5 weekly sailings over the winter months.

Population of the Parishes are as follows –


Age-groups Connel Parish Coll Parish
Infants & School Children 208 55
Students 108 11
Adult 633 112
Elderly 244 27
Total 1 193 195



The shared Parish Minister is based at the Manse in Connel.

Sunday services in Connel (10.30am) and Dunbeg (Noon) are led by the Parish Minister.

Much of the ministry is within the Connel Parish or local area.


Coll Ministry

The shared minister scheme works well with the Minister visiting Coll four or more times a year and organising a rota of supply preachers.  Accommodation for the Minister and visiting preachers is provided in the island manse.  Those preaching have the opportunity of a holiday on this beautiful island.

Due to the Parish history and distance between the churches, Connel and Dunbeg churches have one Kirk Session and Coll another.

Challenges and Opportunities

The church members of the two parishes wish to be a welcoming church with a Christian message relevant for today.  Considerable scope exists for increased church attendance. Greater involvement of young people and initiatives to encourage more members to attend services is necessary.  It is hoped that the minister will be able to relate to both young and old and bring enthusiasm and experience to the Parishes.

Members are responsive to new ideas and hope that more people will be attracted to joining and participating in the life of the church.

Hopefully, our new minister will be able to help all members of the congregations become more focused on outreach and be able to help grow the church family in faith as well as a loving and caring social role within the community.


  1. Connel Parish Profile

This section describes the Connel St. Oran’s Church, Church Hall, Manse, and Dunbeg Church together with the church life in the parish.

Further, there is a short description of the Parish of Connel, description of the churches and manse, education, local housing, employment, and a summary of the surrounding area with its range of amenities and transport links.

3.1 Parish Introduction

Connel Ferry developed as an important crossing point below the Falls of Lora.  A railway bridge was constructed, later becoming a road and railway bridge.  Then, when the railway branch-line to the North closed, the bridge became a road bridge.

The first Connel Sunday services were held in the railway station waiting room, led by the minister from St. Columba’s Church in Oban. Worship moved to the Scout Hall before St Oran’s Church was built in 1888.

In 1910, St. Oran’s Parish was created as a stand-alone parish from St. Columba’s Church Parish in Oban.  It extends over the area south of the Falls of Lora and covers the Connel and Dunbeg villages from Achnacloich to the Halfway Garage.

Dunbeg Church services were held in a Nissan hut until the church was built by the congregation and dedicated in 1981.

3.2 Worship and Churches

There are two churches in Connel Parish, St. Oran’s in Connel and one in Dunbeg, both have services on Sunday, led by the minister. A monthly evening service is held in St. Oran’s during summer and Dunbeg Church in winter.

Statistical Return


1. Number involved in Life of Church 114
2. Children 15
3. Not on Communion Roll 33
4. Elders 10 Male, 7 Female
5. Baptisms 3
6. Weddings 5
7. Funerals 10
8. Supplementary Roll 4


St. Oran’s Church, Connel

A cruciform church designed in the likeness of Iona Abbey is positioned on a rise in the centre of the village.  It is of granite construction with a bell-tower and a single bell in the centre.

In the forward part of the church there is a raised platform with a pulpit, lectern, communion table and font.  At the side of the church at the front is the vestry. The church is noted for its beautiful old and modern stained glass.

A short tarmac road leads up to the church.  Around the church is a well laid out garden with parking space for a few cars, the remainder parking on the road.  Beyond the back door of the church is a separate building housing a minimal kitchen, toilets, and store.

Approximately 30 to 40 people attend the Sunday service with worshippers sitting on modern chairs.  To one side is an electronic organ and electric piano for accompaniment.  A PA system is installed with a range of microphones, T-loop system and recording facility.

The church is in good condition with ongoing maintenance carried out as necessary.

Dunbeg Church

A modern A-frame building with white rendered gables is situated in a side road near the school.  There is a gravel car park on one side and grass on the other.

The church was built primarily as a place of worship but also to double as a hall for meetings as it can be quickly heated.

The church sanctuary is entered through a double door.  A raised platform at the front has a communion table with lectern and font.  Behind the communion table is a stained-glass depiction of the Burning Bush and a cross.  Music is supplied by a small electronic organ.  The church PA is a portable amplifier with remote microphone.

On both sides of the platform there are small rooms, one for storage and the other doubles for the photocopier room and as a changing area for the minister.

Worshippers sit in the open area furnished with chairs that can be arranged to suit the occasion.  Approximately 20 to 25 people attend Sunday worship.

Inside the front door, there is a kitchen and toilet facilities.

The church is in good repair and grounds are well maintained.

Connel Church Hall

The building was a Victorian Free Church that was given to St Oran’s Church when the congregations reunited.  It is a stone building with a slate roof situated in grounds on Connel main street.  The hall consists an entrance lobby, hall area with high wooden ceiling, kitchen, and toilet.

General condition of the hall is good, with ongoing maintenance to keep it operational.

3.3 Congregational Life


Sunday worship at St. Oran’s, Connel and Dunbeg is at 10.30am and Noon respectively with a monthly evening service. A short prayer meeting is held before the start of the service in St. Oran’s Church. The format for morning service is the same at both congregations.  A member of the congregation usually participates in the reading and sometimes the prayer. In Connel, tea and coffee is served after the service.

A small Sunday School attends both morning services and leaves for their own children’s service, except for the monthly Sunday family service. Children take part in the Connel Christmas Family Service with a nativity play and singing.

Formal Holy Communion is celebrated quarterly at the morning services and monthly, in the evening, the service of Holy Communion is more informal.  Communion is also held on Maundy Thursday evening and at some evening worship services in Connel. Good Friday is celebrated with service in Dunbeg.

Baptisms are held during the Sunday service. Other special services include an evening of Christmas Carols & Readings often with a choir formed from church members and friends.  Armistice is remembered in both churches. At St. Oran’s, the Brownies attend in uniform. At Dunbeg, the school also holds a Remembrance Service in the church. There is a service for the World Day of Prayer.

Weddings and Funerals are held during the week as required.


The Guild meet monthly, usually with a guest speaker and participates in the national project.  About 10 members attend.

A house-group meet in Connel on a fortnightly between September and Easter.

The older parishioners meet at the Etive Club each month in Connel Church Hall.

A craft group meet and sell their wares for both the church and to support Mary’s Meals kitchen in Malawi.

An enthusiastic Church Brownie Pack and Rainbow Pack meet weekly in the Connel Church Hall.

Note that Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Girl Guides meet in North Connel Hall in the Parish of Ardchattan.

Church Government

Our church follows a Unitary Constitution with a Kirk Session overseeing temporal and faith matters. The Session also acts as Trustees for the Church. The Kirk Session has 17 elders and meets 6 times a year for regular business.

The Minister currently takes on the role of Chair with elders and congregation members taking responsibility for roles of Session Clerk, Treasurer, Property Convenor, Safeguarding Convenor, and Presbytery Elder.  Committees for Finance, Property and Safeguarding meet as required. Those of the congregation who have responsibility for young people, have attended Safeguarding training.


The Church Magazine is distributed quarterly.  The magazine is prepared by a member of the Congregation with input from the Minister.  It is printed using the church photocopiers.

Congregational cards for Easter and Christmas are distributed to members in Connel and Coll Parishes.

A website carries information about the parish and is maintained by a member of the congregation.

Welcome packs have been produced for people moving into the area, newlyweds, and new parents.


The congregation has a collection for Christian Aid Week in the parish.

Mid-week lunches during the summer have been held in aid of church funds.  Other lunches and coffee mornings are held in aid of specific charities.  There is also a Flower Show and a Christmas Fayre.

Community Activities

Members of the congregation usually attend both Community Councils.  Dunbeg Community Council meets monthly in Dunbeg Church.

A number of unrelated groups use the Connel Church Hall for dancing, yoga and for a nursery.  It is also used for private meetings and parties.  When the church has a larger function like the Church Christmas Fayre, it is held in the village hall.

In Dunbeg, there is sheltered accommodation where a church service is held 4 times a year.

3.4 Manse

The manse is situated back from the main Oban Road in Connel village, with a view out over the lower part of the Falls of Lora.  It is a granite and sandstone Victorian villa with slate roof with a rendered brick extension to the rear. The windows have uPVC double-glazing. A tarmac drive leads up to a wooden garage and gravel parking space for two cars.  The moderate sized garden at front and rear is laid out in grass.

Ground floor consists an entrance lobby to lower landing with a study and living room to the front.  A door leads to a passage to the rear into open-plan kitchen-dining area, larder, utility cupboard and toilet.  A back door provides access to the car-parking area.

The stair ascends to a half-landing that leads to the rear bedroom with w.c. and linen cupboard and another bedroom/study, bathroom with separate shower and storage cupboard.  From the half-landing, the stair ascends to the upper floor where there are two bedrooms, a third bedroom/workroom and a large walk-in cupboard.

An oil-fired boiler in the kitchen, runs off an oil tank to the rear of the property and feeds radiators throughout the house.  Additional electric fires are provided in the livingroom and study.

Hot water is provided from a hot water tank in the rear bedroom.  All sanitary-ware is modern and in good order.

The general condition of the manse is fair.  It is maintained on a regular basis. A survey has been made of the manse and minor upgrading work is being carried out.  Decor and carpets in public rooms and passageways will be agreed with the new minister prior to moving in.

3.5 Parish and Amenities

3.5.1 Connel Parish

Housing & Future Developments

Connel is a village mainly of older stone houses with more modern infill development providing a variety of accommodation. There is one housing development under construction in the village.

Dunbeg village was a development by Scottish Special Housing based on the wartime marine repair base housing is still growing with new housing and a Marine Industry Park.  Further development to the south of Dunbeg is planned for 600 houses and other amenities extend as far as Ganavan.

Adjacent Churches & Other Denominations

No other mainstream Christian denominations have premises in Connel or Dunbeg.

Adjacent parishes are the Parish of Ardchattan on the North-side of the Falls of Lora and Parish of Muckairn in Taynuilt on the East.  To the South, is the Parish of Oban.

Catholic, Free, Congregational, Baptist and Salvation Army all have churches in Oban.

3.5.2 Schools & Higher Education

Schools in Connel Parish

Both Connel and Dunbeg have their own primary schools.  The minister is chaplain to both schools and attends regularly.  Also, special Easter and Christmas services are held for the children in the two churches.  Dunbeg School also holds its own remembrance service in the Dunbeg Church and at the War Memorial in the church grounds.

Senior schooling is provided in Oban at the High School.  Spiritual care is ably provided by Hope to Oban (H2O), an organisation funded by local churches with full-time staff.

University and Further Education in Connel Parish

Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)

The campus is situated in Dunbeg, next to Dunstaffnage Castle and is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.  Courses are provided in marine and environmental studies.  SAMS has an international reputation and hosts international marine research work.

Further Education in Oban

Argyll College (again part of the University of the Highlands and Islands) provides a range of courses to provide skills applicable in the area including Information Technology, Engineering and Building Skills, Performing Arts, Agriculture, Languages, etc.

University of the 3rd Age (U3A) is an active organisation in Oban, holding a wide range of courses for the older generation.

3.5.3 Health

In Connel, a local surgery manned by doctors, practice and district nurses cover an area more extensive than the local parish.  The local surgery also has a cafe and hairdresser.

Oban and Lorn Hospital provides A&E cover and longer term medical care.  Simpler operations are performed here by both resident and visiting doctors.  More complex operations are carried out in Vale of Leven Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank or one of the more specialised Glasgow hospitals.  For planned appointments and operations to these hospitals and others in the area, NHS transport is available in a bus run by the ambulance service.  Emergency transport is either by ambulance or helicopter.


Osteopath, physiotherapy, and a range of alternative therapies are available in Oban.


3.5.4 Employment


SAMS at Dunstaffnage is the only large employer in the Parish. Various research companies based on marine products have been spawned and are housed in a new Marine Technical Development Park built opposite the SAMS campus.


There is little industry in Connel and Dunbeg villages except for farming.  Fishing and aquaculture provides some work in the area.  In Barcaldine, Fusion manufactures fish cages that are exported internationally.


Many residents in Connel and Dunbeg work in Oban or further afield in areas such as the shipping and oil industry.   Some self-employed specialists and tradesmen work from home. For the tourist industry in Connel, there are two hotels with bars and various B&B accommodation that provides work.


In Oban, there are a range of employers that include hotels, B&B, shops, charity shops, ferry operators, a distillery, legal and education establishments, hospital, builders, and maintenance companies.


Oban is a busy harbour for commercial and leisure vessels as well as ferry traffic to the islands.  Northern Lights operate from their base in Oban to maintain navigational marks on the West Coast.  The lifeboat station in Oban provides safety cover for the waters from Fort William to Jura and, in emergency, ferries patients from the islands.


A large quarry operation at Glensanda (situated on Morven) is serviced from Loch Creran with rock products exported by sea.  Bonawe Quarry is situated up Loch Etive and supplies road-building material to the area that is carried by lorry and inshore vessels.


3.5.5 Transport Links


Oban is the centre for road, rail, and marine transport in the area.  This makes it popular with tourists.


Road links are good in this area – north to Fort William, south-east to Glasgow and Edinburgh and south to Lochgilphead and Kintyre.


A regular bus service and rail link is provided to Glasgow.


CalMac’s ferry operations provide transport to Mull and other islands including Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and the outer islands.


Oban Airport in North Connel has flights to Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and Islay but no connecting flights to Glasgow.  The airport is mainly used as a refuelling stop for commercial and military planes, helicopters, and private aircraft.  In summer, aeroplane flights are provided for tourists.


3.5.6 Amenities of the Area


Local village shops are available in both Connel and Dunbeg.  Most other basic shopping requirements can be found in Oban.  Those that are not available locally can be purchased in Glasgow, Inverness, Fort William, Stirling or online.  Internet speed is reasonable from the Connel Manse.


Badminton, fitness and yoga classes, indoor bowling and country dancing are held in Connel Village Hall and St. Oran’s Church Hall.  Other activities, such as the gym, swimming, fitness classes and bowls are held in Oban.


In Oban, clubs include Rotary and Inner Wheel, bridge, golf, bowls, martial arts, rugby, shinty, sailing and photography.


Outdoor activities such as rambling, climbing, and skiing are easily accessible from Connel. A range of watersports is available including sailing (dinghy and larger boats), kayaking, diving, and waterskiing.  Wildlife watching of both birds and marine life is popular.


Many tourist attractions are available in the area.  In Dunbeg, the historic Dunstaffnage Castle with its ruined chapel is popular.  Oban has two museums.


Around the area, there are numerous locations of interest including St. Conan’s Church, Castle Stalker, the ancient Kilmartin area with its church, standing stones, ancient grave-stones and museum.


Within easy reach, for a day out, are Ben Nevis, Glencoe, Mull, and the Caledonian and Crinan Canals.


  1. The Parish of Coll

Coll Parish is linked with Connel and Dunbeg.


This section describes the island, church, and manse together with the church life in the parish.


4.1 Parish Introduction


The Isle of Coll is located in the Inner Hebrides, a 2-hour 40 minute CalMac ferry journey from Oban.  There is a plane service from Connel Airport on Monday and Wednesday provided by Hebridean Air Services.

Coll is 13 miles long by 4 miles wide. The population is around 200 but increases significantly from April to September with the arrival of the summer visitors, relatives and friends.

The main village is Arinagour (the Shieling of the Goats) where the Church is situated on the top of the hill and can be seen as the ferry approaches the pier.

Arinagour Primary School has 9 pupils. The minister is the chaplain to the school. The children hold their Annual Christmas Service in the church. Secondary Education is at Oban High School or at schools of parent’s choice on the mainland.

The village has several shops, a general store, a post office and gift shop, Tesco food shop, the Art Den gift shop and The Lighthouse Art Gallery. There is a fuel station for petrol and diesel. The Coll Hotel and the Island Café are well known places to eat out. An Cridhe is our Community Centre where there are many events held throughout the year.

Housing in Arinagour is a mix of privately owned property, ACHA Housing Association and Trust Housing Amenity homes. 2 new houses are currently being built on behalf of ACHA Housing Association.  Outwith Arinagour village are rural working farms and some private housing.

Coll’s main industries are farming and fishing. Employers are Project Trust, CalMac, Argyll Council, hotel, guest houses, the airport and the Medical Practice.

Coll is well known for its long golden sandy beaches, wildlife, birdlife, botany and sealife. The Island has been granted Dark Skies Status and Starlit Nights and the Aurora Borealis are seen regularly. The RSPB has a reserve at the West End and several species are seen including corncrake, geese, lapwing and many more. People enjoy hobbies such as painting, photography, cycling and walking to name but a few. The website is full of information and photographs of Coll.


4.2 Manse in Arinagour





The Manse is a three-bedroom detached house with an entrance hall, living room, kitchen and bathroom. Another large room downstairs can be used for dining or as a study or playroom. The kitchen has a full range of white goods, electric cooker, fridge freezer and microwave. Crockery, cutlery etc, are also provided. Central heating and hot water is from the coal fire in the living room and an immersion heater in the kitchen will top up the hot water supply. Coal is supplied. There is a telephone and television provided. The bedrooms are all upstairs. All linen is supplied.


The garden is wrap around style and laid to grass. Car parking is across the road opposite the house.


4.3 Church in Arinagour


Coll Parish Church is the only Church on the Island and we are a small congregation. The numbers attending services can vary from 6 to 25 and at special services up to 75.  The Minister visits 4 times a year usually arriving on a Tuesday and leaving the following Monday. This allows the minister to carry out pastoral duties, visit the school, hold session meetings, and take the service on the Sunday at 11:30am. The Sacrament of Communion is held twice yearly.  Our minister will be asked to conduct weddings and funerals when required.



Coll Parish Church


We are a unitary constitution, with 3 elders and a treasurer who attends meetings 4 times a year when the minister visits. The Elders act as Trustees of the Church.  Two elders take on the rolls of Session Clerk/Safeguarding Convenor, Property Convenor, and Presbytery Elder. The treasurer, a board member, was co-opted to our meetings when we became a unitary constitution. An Annual Stated Meeting is held to approve the Annual Accounts. We have 2 organists who manage the rota depending on availability.

The Church Magazine, Christmas and Easter cards are shared with Connel and Dunbeg and are sent over for distribution. Coll is part of the shared church website.

We have a preaching calendar which is organised by our minister. This comprises preachers from various denominations in the UK who come for a holiday.  They stay in the manse for a donation and give us a service on the Sunday at 11:30. Our calendar is well filled each year but if there are any Sundays unfilled there are 2 elders who will conduct services. Our calendar is open all year but is well supported from April to mid-October. In winter we have services once a month conducted locally if there are no visiting preachers. Remembrance Sunday Service is held at the War Memorial in Arinagour at 11:00pm and continued at the Church thereafter. This service is conducted locally if there is no visiting preacher.

Christmas Services are held and conducted locally. A small choir comes together to lead the carol singing at the service.  In the past, we have had musical evenings in the church and during the service, occasionally, visiting musicians accompanying the singing. This would continue to be welcomed, if requested.

The linkage with Connel has worked exceptionally well. The Presbytery Plan is for the Linkage to continue and as a congregation and community it is our prayerful wish for this to be the future for our Church and Island.

Statistical Return


1. Number involved in Life of Church 35
2. Children 0
3. Roll or Communicants 17
4. Elders 2 Male, 1 Female
5. Baptisms 0
6. Weddings 0
7. Funerals 0
8. Supplementary Roll 7


4.4 Church Building

Coll Parish Church door is open 24/7 to welcome everyone to a place of peace for contemplation and prayer.

The building is in Gothic Style, with buttresses and square bell tower designed by Robert Robertson. It has a herring bone patterned timber ceiling, which is a rare design and of high quality. The windows are handmade wood framed clear glass giving spectacular views out to Mull and the Treshnish Isles. The church has oil fired central heating and we are currently looking into installing a Loop/PA system.

At the front of the church is a raised area with the pulpit to the right, communion table and font. The vestry is to the right of the pulpit. The electric organ is situated to the left. Seating is fixed traditional pews.

 4.5 Fundraising

 A Collection Box, for visitors to the Church, to leave donations is positioned on the table inside the Church. These generous donations are placed in the fabric fund for the upkeep and repairs of the Church and Manse. The collection on Remembrance Sunday is donated to various Armed Forces Charities, a different one each year.

Coll Parish Church is on one of the most beautiful peaceful Islands of the Inner Hebrides. It demonstrates the wonder and beauty of God’s creation and we hope and pray for a minister who will support our office bearers and small congregation to continue the preaching of God’s word to everyone who lives on or visits our Island Parish.

  1. Applications

Formal applications for the position of the Parish Minister should include a covering letter and the applicant’s CV. Two References would be appreciated that can be followed up at a later date. These should be sent to the Secretary to the Nominating Committee.

Requests for further information or for assistance with informal enquiries should be addressed to either the Interim Moderator or Secretary to the Nominating Committee.

Interim Moderator –  Rev Dugald J R Cameron

Kilmore and Oban Manse,

Ganavan Road, OBAN,

Argyllshire, PA34 5TU

01631 562 405



Convenor to the Nominating Committee –


Esther MacRae


Isle of Coll

PA78 6TE


Tel. 01879 230340


Secretary to the Nominating Committee –


Aileen Binner


North Connel


PA37 1QX

01631 710264

Session Clerks –

Connel Parish                                                           Coll Parish

Marion Fisher                                                              Esther MacRae

6 Deirdre                                                                     Cornaigbeag

Connel PA37 1PL                                                       Isle of Coll PA78 6TE

Tel. 01631 710589                                                      Tel. 01879 230340


  1. Presbytery of Argyll


The Presbytery of Argyll meets four times a year for ordinary business.  Meetings are held at various locations and during the day to allow as many island-based Presbyters as possible to attend without having to spend a night on the mainland. Much of the regular business is conducted by standing committees under delegated powers using e-mail and telephone. There is ample scope for ministers to contribute to the work of the committees.