Chalmers Church of Scotland
Interiors within the Protestant Church of Scotland are usually plain, even austere. Chalmers Church of Scotland in Port Seton is anything but. Built in 1904 in the fishing and coal mining community of Port Seton, it has become known as the 'fishermen's church' because of the elaborate stencilling of fish and waves of the sea throughout the interior, and because of the shape of the building which resembles the hull of a boat.
I discover again the limitations of my photography skills. Taking shots of the interior of the church in artificial light at the end of a dark November afternoon was a challenge too far, but I was kindly given permission to take some photos so I persevered. The shot above towards the Chancel shows some of the original fish stencilling. Apart from the local fishing connection it refers to the secret sign used by early Christians during the times of persecution. The fishing boat has no religous significance, but is a reminder of the fishing community who worshipped here.
The steps leading up to the pulpit have on one side this carving of fishermen hauling in their nets. The men each have a different expression - I'd guess they were very different characters. They remind me of the little Vikings Oliver Postgate created for his Noggin the Nog sagas. Of course as Scottish east coast fishermen they're probably in direct lineage from the Vikings.
I took other photos, but they really didn't come out. Nor did photos of the exterior, as I was buffeted by a gale force wind and driving rain.
Our daughter was part of a clarsach and song recital in the church, along with her teacher and another student. After the recital tea and home baking were laid on in the church hall, with tables set with the Women's Guild china and tartan napkins and ribbons in honour of St Andrew's Day. I longed to take a photo of the festive tables, but it wouldn't have been appropriate (i.e. people would have thought I was weird, and more importantly our daughter would have been mortified). But I did catch this shot of an embroidery made by the Guild for the centenary of the church. The strip lights in the hallway don't enhance it, but if you can ignore these it's a lovely interpretation of church life, with all the youth organisations to the right of the church building. The burning bush on the left is the symbol of the Church of Scotland.