The Story of Saint Paul's Church

There has bee an Episcopalian congregation in the glen for hundreds of years and Craven lists Rectors of Strathnairn as far back as 1560.  Part of the effect of the 1689 - 90 revolution in Scotland was that the Presbyterian Church of Scotland replaced the Episcopalian one.  There were though exceptions and one was in Strathnairn where the Reverend Michael Fraser continued his ministry as Episcopalian parish priest in Daviot and Dunlichity parish churches until his death in 1726.
A Presbyterian minister then took charge of those churches and for the next 50 years the Episcopalian congregation met in private houses or in the open countryside.  Sometimes there was a resident priest in Strathnairn and sometimes the congregation was cared for by priests from the Black Isle.  A church building was eventually provided at Knocknancroishag and later a new church, further up the glen, was built in 1817, the year in which Duncan Mackenzie began his long ministry in Strathnairn.  For much of this time (in a reversal of the previous pattern) he also served Dingwall, Fortrose and the Gaelic Mission in Inverness, as well as being Archdeacon of Moray and Ross.

The present Saint Paul’s was built  in 1868 on the site of Parson Duncan’s church, to a design by Alexander Ross, the distinguished Inverness architect.  Duncan Mackenzie was succeeded as priest in Strathnairn by Archibald Macgillivray (1858-1874); John Matheson (1875-1918) and  R. (Christian name unknown) Bruce 1918-19.  Between 1919 and 1988 there were only occasional services in Saint Paul’s but the situation improved in 1988 when a link with the Cathedral in Inverness was established.  There was a further improvement when Stewart Mallin, Dean of the Diocese, retired and came to live in the Parsonage at Croachy – Strathnairn had a resident priest again for the first time in 73 years!  In 1997 the link with the Cathedral formally ended and Stewart became priest-in-charge of Saint Paul’s for the remainder of his life. He died in 2000, and the new hall was dedicated in his honour in 2002.

Stewart was followed as priest by John Evans (2000-03) and Peter Mosley (2003-09).  Peter retired at Easter 2009 and Gerald Stranraer-Mull, became priest-in-charge later that year.

The Very Reverend Gerald Stranraer-Mull came to Saint Paul’s in 2009 on retiring after 37 years as Rector of Ellon and Cruden Bay and 20 years as Dean of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.  At the request of the Bishop, he left St Paul's in the summer of 2011 to be priest of St Michael and All Angels in Inverness until November 2012, but remains the Dean Emeritus of Aberdeen and Orkney and Warden of the Society of Our Lady of the Isles – a community of nuns on the Island of Fetlar in Shetland, whose chapel is the most northerly Episcopal church in the British Isles.

The most recent priest-in-charge, the Reverend Richard Burkitt, left to concentrate on his work in Inverness with the charity For the Right Reasons, a charity helping addicts and alcoholics in their recovery, and there is currently a vacancy.