Argyll Presbytery 2004
“We take into our care the islands of the West: Iona, where Columba first planted the tree of life; Lismore, where Moluag laboured whose staff still calls us to the Way, the Truth and the Life; the great isles of Mull, Islay, Jura, Bute, and all the little islands.  We take in blessing the noble lands of Dalriada, first Kingdom of the Scots, of Lorn, of Kintyre, of Cowal.  We embrace parishes rich in the tradition of the mighty men of old, rich in the tradition of men and women of faith down the ages. All around us the ancient stones look down, a remembrance that the search began many thousands of years ago. We offer to the men and women of Argyll Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the end of our search and the start of a wonderful journey”.

Words spoken by Rev David Kellas, the first Moderator of Argyll Presbytery, at the first meeting of the new Presbytery in Inveraray on 2 March 2004, and quoted by Ian Bradley in his book, “Argyll:  The Making of a Spiritual Landscape”.

The Presbytery of Argyll  brings together ministers, deacons, elders and readers from the 60 congregations of the Church of Scotland that make up the Presbytery. It seeks to help and support them in several ways:

  • Facilitating Ministry: By supporting and encouraging all those involved in the worship and ministry of the Church within the Presbytery.
  • Facilitating Mission: By supporting and encouraging congregations in engaging with their local communities, discerning the needs of individuals, families and groups and helping to meet these needs. By promoting initiatives which will help individuals, families and communities to understand the Christian faith and its relevance to their lives.
  • Promoting good practice: By helping congregations, ministers and church members to act within the principles and practices of the Church of Scotland.


Important current initiatives include:

  • an annual Presbytery Conference, held in Portavadie in September
  • welcoming newcomers to Argyll, especially the Syrian refugee families
  • promotion of pilgrimage and faith tourism across Argyll
  • expanding work with children and young people
  • circulation of weekly prayer news to Presbytery members.

For more information on the work of Presbytery, please see our Guidance Notes for new Presbytery Elders, Jan 2014


History and Character of the Presbytery.   The Presbytery of Argyll came into being on 1st January 2004 as a result of the union of the former Presbyteries of South Argyll, Lorn & Mull and Dunoon. Its bounds more or less coincide with the former County of Argyll plus the island of Bute plus a small area of Perthshire / Stirlingshire round Crianlarich. The principal centres of population are Oban, Dunoon, Campbeltown and Rothesay. Loch Fyne effectively bisects the mainland area of the Presbytery. At the last count there were 155 ecclesiastical buildings (including manses) in the Presbytery.

On account of the transport difficulties in Argyll the Presbytery only meets quarterly for ordinary business. All the standing committees have full delegated powers to make whatever decisions are required to keep business moving. Much of the committee work is done by telephone and email.

The quality of life in Argyll can far surpass the quality of life in Scotland’s cities and in the central belt. Driving on a deserted single track road is actually more enjoyable than being in a four miles queue of static traffic on a motorway or shuffling from one set of traffic lights to the next on a main urban artery. Travelling by ferry provides opportunities for fellowship which travelling by car does not and it is not unknown for Presbytery business to be conducted in the observation lounge of the Clansman or the Hebridean Isles while presbyters watch the Treshnish Isles or the Paps of Jura slip by. Congregations tend to be smaller and more intimate. There is a real community spirit in most towns and villages.

Argyll has been described by at least one member of Presbytery as “if not utopia then the next best thing”!