The Church of Scotland

Ballantrae Parish Church

Our mission, as the people of God in Ballantrae Parish Church,
is to understand the good news of Jesus Christ
and to share it with all who live in the Parish
and in the wider community.
In this we share with our friends in our linked Parish of St. Colmon’s.




 Painting of Ballantrae Old Bridge by Bob Travers

  • Contents
    Introduction                                                                                                                  3
    History of the congregation                                                                                   4
    Worship life                                                                                                                   5
    Active Community Church                                                                                      7
    Pastoral care                                                                                                                  8
    Christian education                                                                                                    9
    Ecumenical context                                                                                                    10
    World church                                                                                                                 11
    Stewardship and Finance                                                                                         11
    Church buildings and manse                                                                                  12
    Community life in Ballantrae                                                                                 16
    Contacts and web links for further information                                            19



Ballantrae is a rural Parish Church with 200 members. Our church, a Grade B Listed building, with a Grade C Listed Manse built in 1736, is situated in the coastal village of Ballantrae.

We have been a vacant congregation since August 2017, when our previous minister moved to another charge after 8 years as our minister.

We are a friendly church and our doors are always open to locals and visitors, as we join together to learn more about what our faith means to us and how we can better serve God in our communities and in the world.



Shortly after 661, St. Cuthbert, Prior of Melrose, and the Apostle of the Borders, visited Galloway, and as the custom of naming Churches after living saints continued to a later period in Scotland than anywhere else in Europe, it is probable that the Church at Kirkcudbright-Innertig (the Kirk of Cuthbert at the mouth of the Tig) was built as an immediate result of his visit and was named after him and dedicated to him.

The first church built within Ballantrae was ruinous by 1600. The only part which remains today is the aisle leading to the Kennedy Mausoleum within the Old Cemetery.

Joining to Glenapp Church

In 1985 Ballantrae Church was joined to Glenapp Church, a small and very attractive Arts and Crafts influenced church on a local farming estate. Built in the mid nineteenth Century, it sits in a beautiful spot above the A77 about six miles south of Ballantrae.

Linking with St Colmon

In 2008 Ballantrae Church was linked to St Colmon Parish Church, which is situated 5 miles inland from Ballantrae. Despite the distance between the two church buildings, with the manse in Ballantrae, which has no church hall, while Colmonell has a very handsome and useful hall, the linkage between Ballantrae and St Colmon’s worked successfully under our previous minister, who was the first minister of the linked charge.




Services are times of fellowship, prayer, worship and reflection on God’s word, as we get to know the living God more. Weekly worship takes place at 1130am every Sunday morning at Ballantrae Church; there is a regular monthly service at Glenapp Church, led by members of the congregation. In addition, a number of special services take place throughout the year, in both Churches and, for the brave, at dawn at Ballantrae harbour on Easter Sunday morning. 

Weekly Services in Ballantrae Church

There is a regular pattern to the 11.30 Sunday services, set by the minister, with involvement of members of the congregation in reading the first lesson. 


We have a small modern organ and three organists who rotate services throughout the year; a small choir lead the singing. Our main source for hymns is CH4, but Mission Praise and Junior Praise are also used regularly.  Print copies are available, and words are also projected onto a screen, which is at times also used to highlight the intimations and occasionally to show video clips and photographs.

Once a month we have a cup of tea or coffee after the service and a time of fellowship, with donations going into our fund for Malawi.

Over the last 7 years, the first Sunday of the month has been an All-Age Service to encourage families with children to attend and remain in the church for the entire service. A Sunday School has operated as the ‘Sunshine Club’ for several years and there are members of the congregation who have been PVG-checked and are ready to become involved in this again. However, at the moment we only have one small child and a baby in regular attendance with their family.

At present, Communion takes place four times per year. Children have been able to take part in the last couple of years with the introduction of non-alcoholic wine. Members of the congregation who wish to do so are invited to partake of the common cup, rather than receiving the wine in individual glasses.

 Monthly Service 

The Glenapp Service: Listening for God (the first Sunday of each month)

The Glenapp Service offers a time of fellowship, prayer, worship and reflection on God’s word. Congregational involvement plays an important part, both in the responsive prayers with which it begins and ends, and in the invitation, accepted by many, to take a role in leading the worship, for example, by reading from the bible or some other source. The service is ecumenical and liturgical in style, which is one reason that the congregation often includes friends form other churches, especially the Episcopal Church of St John the Evangelist, Stranraer, who regularly contribute by reading and leading prayers.

Annual Services 

World Day of Prayer Service

Each year the Church Guild takes the lead role in a World Day of Prayer Service, using materials produced each year by Christian women in different parts of the world.

Glenapp Easter Service

Since the advent of regular service at Glenapp Church the first Glenapp Service after Easter has been a special celebration. 

Dedication Service

The annual dedication Service each year, which grew out of the Guild Dedication Service, is an opportunity for members of the congregation to reflect and publicly to re-dedicate themselves to the life of the Church, or to do so for the first time.

Ballantrae Christmas Carol Service at Glenapp

Since the advent of regular service at Glenapp Church the traditional carol service there has become a Service of Lessons and Carols, based on the Nine Lessons and Carols Services at Kings College, Cambridge, with lessons being read by members of the regular reading rota and others. The church is decorated and lit by candles for this service. 

Church Guild

Though, with its concern with social and political issues, its focus is much wider than formal (or informal) worship, the Ballantrae Church Guild, which is part of the Church of Scotland Guild, is part of the worship life of the church community. It meets on the third Monday of every month from September to May, in the Buffet Room of the Community Centre.  Among other things it provides a regular opportunity for a small corporate act of worship for members from both congregations of Ballantrae and St Colmon. At the moment the Guild includes only one man, with one occasional attender, though we hope through time to attract more.


Outside regular worship, members of the congregation are active in witnessing to their faith in different ways – both in the life of the church community and in the life of the community at large. For example, one member opens the church during the summer months from Easter to October so that visitors may enter and look round. It is always interesting to see who signs the visitors book and we send Christmas cards to those who have visited in the last year. 

As a church with a smallish congregation, there are many roles to be fulfilled and tasks to be undertaken. A large number of different people are involved in these duties, often with multiple roles. Everyone has the opportunity to use her or his talents to the full and contribute, for example by:

  • ‘Meeting and Greeting’ people at the church door before services.
  • Providing flowers for the church and delivering these to people in our community who are bereaved or ill.
  • Being part of the Reading Rota for services at Ballantrae and putting together and organising our regular services at Glenapp.
  • Providing and serving refreshments after services, both at Ballantrae and at Glenapp.
  • Cleaning both Ballantrae Church and Glenapp Church and decorating them for special occasions.
  • Organising and manning stalls both at the Church Summer Fair and other village events.
  • Organising, staffing and providing food for events such as the Lenten Lunch; the Malawi Cream Tea and the Malawi Two Spoon Supper.
  • Making available their homes for fundraising activities, including barbecues (which they also organise)

Ballantrae is a true community and we come together to meet across many aspects of village and rural life. The congregation work together in putting on our many events, which include:

Lenten Lunch
Each year during the season of Lent a simple lunch of soup, cheese and bread is prepared and served in the village hall, with money raised going to support the church funds.

Church Fair
The Church Fair takes place in mid-summer each year and is one of the main fundraising activities of the year.

Malawi Cream Tea 
Supporting our Malawi Ministry by an afternoon of tea or coffee with scones.
Two Spoon Supper
Each Autumn members of the congregation host a Malawi ‘Two Spoon Supper’ – an evening of soup, followed by puddings and cheese and biscuits to help fund our partner church in Lwambaza, Malawi.

The Best of Ballantrae

As Ballantrae has such a good community spirit, we are looking for people to reconnect to the local church. As one way of approaching this we held a very successful ‘Best of Ballantrae’ event in the church in September 2017. Many members of the congregation shared photographs and artefacts relating to the history of the Church and local area; there were lots of old pictures and documents from members of the community as well as local historians. Teas, coffees and home baking were served and enjoyed in the Manse. With over 150 visitors, the event was a great success with old friends meeting and having time to reconnect with each other and with the church. We plan to do something similar in 2018.

We recognise that everything belongs to God and we are stewards to all that God has given us including our time, abilities and money. This was the inspiration for our ‘Best of Ballantrae’ event to reconnect the local community with the church building.


Ballantrae Parish Church has a Model Constitution. There are currently 16 elders in the Kirk Session, aged from 42-90, comprising 7 females and 9 males.  We normally meet 5 times per year and each elder has responsibility for an area within the parish for pastoral care.  Elders are encouraged to visit their allocated parishioners regularly as well as distributing Communion cards twice a year.

The congregation
Over the past few years several people have joined the congregation as members of Ballantrae Church, including both young people and adults. Alongside these there are a number of new, committed and active members of the congregation who have chosen to become adherents of Ballantrae Church. All who attend regularly are encouraged contribute actively to the life of the church by doing bible readings, distributing flowers or door duty.

Baptisms, funerals and weddings
During 2017 there were 3 baptisms, 7 funerals and 3 weddings. Some funerals are in the church, whilst others are held at Masonhill Crematorium at Ayr.  The weddings are sometimes local people, and, at other times, they are arranged through the local Glenapp Castle Hotel, whose owners join the congregation when they are in the area and often bring guests from the Hotel with them.


Belief in the Bible as the Word of God
As a church which can trace our beginnings back 1,500 years. The Ballantrae Church community is built on a history in which the Church is at the centre of the village and that the Bible is central to its life. Our mission, as stated at the beginning of this Profile reflects this: ‘Our mission, as the people of God in Ballantrae Parish Church, is to understand the good news of Jesus Christ and to share it with all who live in the Parish and in the wider community.’

The importance of prayer, both private and corporate
In conjunction with our linked charge in St Colmon’s, there is a weekly Bible Study group and monthly prayer mornings within the parish.

Alpha courses
There have been several Alpha courses which were attended by those both within the congregations as well as out with.

Mission and outreach, especially to the younger generation
Ballantrae Church is at the centre of village life and we reach into all the local youth groups and over the past years the work with the local school has developed and the link between the two organisations is very strong. Further links into the local youth group and the Scouting organisation has been part of an all year-round outreach. We want to continue these links.
Ballantrae Church, like many others, has experienced a falling of numbers, which is most notable in the younger age range, so that now there are only two very small children in the congregation. That is why we would like to find ways of bringing more young families into the church.
We have signed up for the Year of Young People 2018, which we plan to incorporate into community events that are happening within the village and linking into the Youth Club, Scout Group and school.
At the beginning of December invitations were sent out to every house in the parish to invite people to come along to some of our Christmas services. There was a lovely time of fellowship and refreshments before the Watchnight service at 11pm on Christmas Eve, which mirrored the Candle lit Lessons and Carols service at Glenapp a couple of weeks earlier. 

The importance of Christian fellowship

We are a small congregation in a small community. We have a willingness to help in the tradition of a rural community. We look out for each other, look after each other and comfort each other.

Being social is very important to us and this charge needs a leader who will go out to the community, get to know everyone and be part of the community. Christian Fellowship must reach into the homes of our elderly population. There are also great opportunities when we are doing other activities around the church.
We are looking for a minister who can provide strong leadership, enjoy country living within the village community and have fresh ideas and encouragement. Pastoral care must be a priority; to connect with people who have faith as well as those who have lapsed in their faith and to invite those who have never even given it a try.

The congregation of Ballantrae Church is supportive of the manse family and recognises the need for the minister to have private, family time away from the needs of the congregation, parish and community.

Ballantrae Parish Church is part of the local South Carrick Churches Together (SCCT) group.

Ballantrae Church includes, within its congregation, not only people who have grown up in the Church of Scotland, but others who have grown up in other churches, including the Methodist and Catholic Churches and Episcopalian/Anglican churches.

Members of our congregation have attended the annual Rural Church Conference which has now been meeting for over 3 years within Ayr Presbytery. It is an excellent opportunity to meet with others from rural charges, to discuss problems and concerns and to take back to our churches ideas for support. It is important for us to remember we are part of a much wider community than just our parish boundary.

Ayr Presbytery has been given funding for a Pioneer Minister to the Farming Community based at the local cattle market at Ayr. This should be seen as a support to the parish ministry. There was a very successful Carols at Ayr Market in December 2017 to introduce everyone. 

Ballantrae is linked to Lwambaza Church, Malawi through Ayr Presbytery’s link with Bandawe and Limphasa Presbyteries, Malawi. We have members who have gone out on 4 different occasions to visit our linked church. This linkage has progressed over 7 years from sending out practical support in the way of tools, school books and pencils, clothes, bikes, wedding dresses, to improving the church and manse buildings and now helping to financially support the minister of Lwambaza Church. Communication can be difficult; however, it is always good to get an e-mail giving us an update on their situation.

Christian Aid is supported twice a year through donation envelopes. Our harvest collection is usually donated to the work of Christian Aid as well as supporting Christian Aid week. Balllantrae is very generous when giving to the work of the world church.

An annual collection is held for the work of the Leprosy Mission.

The Treasurer of Ballantrae Church is a qualified accountant and he followed on three years ago from our previous treasurer who was in position for 29 years. We pay the fees to the Church of Scotland in full and on time. The finances and investments of the Church are very well managed. The church has been very fortunate receiving bequests in the past, these have been saved and the income is used to maintain church life.

We are active in the development of Stewardship and recently we have focused on “time”. Our slogan is ‘Time to Reconnect’.


Ballantrae Church and Manse

The present Parish Church was built in 1819. It is a dignified building with corbie-stepped gables and steep roof, being the old Scottish type of architecture not uncommon in smaller towns. The clock tower was added in 1891. The vestry, to the rear of the building, was enlarged in 1961. The small entrance vestibule at the front of the building gives access to two sets of stairs to the gallery. All told, the church has seating for approximately 350 people.


The inside of the Church, though simple, has a bright and pleasing appearance, the notable feature being the Regency pulpit.

On the West wall there are two stained glass windows in memory of the father and mother of Mr George Oliver, proprietor of Laggan.  On the South wall is a stained-glass window in memory of the Rev. Fergus Williamson, minister of the parish for 38 years.

The church is generally well maintained and in good order. Repairs advised by the 5 yearly Presbytery inspections are undertaken.  The church was completely redecorated in 2008.


Ballantrae Church is located on the A77 between Girvan and Stranraer, around 13 miles south of Girvan and 11 miles north of the Irish Ferry terminals at Cairnryan. For the length of the village the A77 is known as Main Street and the church is situated on Main Street on the corner with The Vennel, as seen below:


Ballantrae Manse

The manse is a listed Category C detached house built in 1736 with later additions. It faces south with the rooms on the upper floors enjoying a good outlook across the village toward the sea, the mouth of the River Stinchar and distant headlands.

Situated behind the church in Ballantrae, on a quiet street, the manse is a substantial property, but well-loved over the years. It provides a comfortable family home with space to spare for those family members who wish to come and stay.  Work currently being done inside the manse will be completed before the minister takes up residence.

The Manse is a two and a half storey building with accommodation over ground, first and attic floors. There is a modern porch at the front of the house.

Ground floor: Entrance porch, hall, 2 reception rooms, study, toilet, large kitchen, utility room and rear hall.
First floor: Master bedroom with en-suite, 3 bedrooms and a large bathroom

Attic floor: 3 bedrooms

There are new double-glazed windows on the front of the manse and upstairs in the attic rooms. The building is heated with oil central heating.  There is a driveway with ample parking at the front of the manse and a secure, dry garage.  The extensive rear garden has a summer house and is surrounded by an attractive, high stone wall, which provides privacy and a safe place for children to play.  Some help can be given to maintain the outer grounds. 

Glenapp Church
Grade B listed, Glenapp Church is simple in outward appearance. It has a small belfry at the apex of the gable its interior, which is reminiscent of the arts and crafts movement, gives Glenapp Church a feeling of calm even when the weather outside is stormy. The church has been renovated twice – in 1909/10 and again in 1930, in memory of Elsy Mackay, daughter of the Earl of Inchcape, who died while attempting to fly across the Atlantic.  Among the stained-glass windows by Douglas Strachan and Kelley & Co, is ‘The Stilling of the Tempest’ which, above the door, serves as a memorial to the first Earl.

For many years the church, also known as ‘The Glen Church’, ‘Glenapp Church of the Mark’ and ‘Butter’s Chapel’, had been used only occasionally – for weddings, funerals and baptisms, as well as a carol service at Christmas. However, for the past two years it has become a place for joyful reflective worship once a month.


Glenapp church is fully maintained by Glenapp Estate, which is owned by the Inchcape family, who have had links to Glenapp for over 100 years.



Glenapp Church is located just off the A77 between Ballantrae and Stranraer, about 6 miles south of Ballantrae and 4 miles north of Cairnryan.


 Living in Ballantrae

Ballantrae village has a population of around 400 people. Its location means that the vast majority of Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway are within driving distance for day trips.

The name ‘Ballantrae’, probably comes from the Scottish Gaelic ‘Baile na Tràgha’, meaning the “town by the shore”.  There is a picturesque harbour with a beach consisting of shingle and sand and offers stunning views of the islands of Ailsa Craig and Arran and further away to the Mull of Kintyre.

Fishing and farming is still at the heart of rural enterprise and the village is well served by a Scotmid shop (with Post Office), Medical Practice, Public Library, Community Hall, Garage/ Filling Station, Kings Arms Hotel and Garden Centre.  One mile away there is Glenapp Castle, a 5-star hotel and 3 miles away there is Pebbles Health and Fitness Spa.


Ballantrae has a Primary school with a growing roll. There are plans for the school to get £1M upgrade with work commencing in February 2018.  The parish minister has, traditionally, been chaplain to our local primary school.

Address: Ballantrae Primary School, 6 The Vennel, Ballantrae KA26 ONH.


Phone: 01465 716803. 


Secondary education is at Girvan Academy. 

Address: Girvan Academy, The Avenue, Girvan KA26 9DW


Phone: 01465 716816


 Community engagement                                                          

 Community Council

There is an active Ballantrae Community Council which meets on the last Tuesday of the month.

The Ballantrae Trust

The Trust has recently been set up to take over the work started 6 years ago by the Ballantrae Development Group in supporting local developments. This has led to them overseeing local events in the village such as the Food and Drink Festival, Smuggler’s festival and the Farmers Markets.

The Ballantrae News carries news that is local to Ballantrae and is produced and distributed quarterly by the Ballantrae Development Group. 

Ballantrae Rural Initiative for Care in the Community (BRICC)

BRICC is a local, community led Charity providing support for frail and/or older people in the area covered by Ballantrae Medical Practice. Its central mission is to provide Care in the Community – this allows people the opportunity to maintain independent and remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Though BRICC relies on financial support from South Ayrshire to underpin most of its costs, it could not function without fundraising by its many volunteers, especially through its very successful Thrift Shop.

In addition to Community Care, BRICC provides a number of other facilities including its successful Tuesday Club and Lunch Club, all run by volunteers, many of whom are members of the congregation. Many organisations, including the Busy Bees Craft Group and the Ballantrae Photography Group use BRICC’s premises for meetings.
Currently BRICC are looking for additional funding to allow them to progress with their aim of building a residential care home and sheltered housing.  This, along with additional community resources on an extensive site that they bought last year, adjacent to the present BRICC House.

In addition to providing opportunities for an army of volunteers in the Thrift Shop; in running the Tuesday Club and Luncheon Club; driving people to and from its various activities as well as providing transport to hospital, and serving on the Board of Directors, BRICC provides employment for a large number of people.

Other local employers are W & D McCulloch who are involved with maintaining railway lines all over the UK and abroad. They currently employ well over 100 staff.

Glenapp Castle Hotel is a luxury, 5 Red Star Hotel set in its own grounds outside Ballantrae village. They employ a large number of local staff as well as additional, seasonal staff from all over the world.  Previously, the minister has been involved in a number of weddings that are booked through the hotel. 

Local village events in which the church, its members and adherents participate.

The church will also support many other activities within the village, which include The Food Festival, The Smugglers Festival, The Gala, McMillan Coffee Morning, Scout Auction, The Flower Show, Children’s Christmas Party, Senior Residents Christmas Party, and many other village organisations.


      All events are managed and run by the members of the church.







Interim Moderator

Rev Ian McLachlan
The Manse
30 Henrietta Street
KA26 9AL
01465 713370

Ballantrae Session Clerk

Mrs Claire Strain
North Garphar Farm
KA26 0LR
01465 831246

 Convener of the Vacancy Committee

Mrs Margaret Maule
20 Kintyre Avenue
01465 831524

 Clerk to the Vacancy Committee

Miss Harriet Ellis
Craig House
Colmonell  KA26 0RU
01465 881221

 Church web links 

Community web link

Credits –         Stinchar Valley Photographic Group                        Mr Bob Travers


 Ballantrae Church profile March 2018 doc