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BBC documentary: Does the Sabbath still exist on the isle of Lewis?

Rev Angus Smith

Rev Angus Smith

The isle of Lewis in the outer Hebrides is said to be the last place in Britain where the fourth commandment – Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy – is still strictly observed. But how has modern life changed attitudes to the Lord’s Day on this island of 20,000 people?

They used to talk of the Scottish Sabbath, then it was the Highland Sabbath and now it is just the Lewis Sabbath, as the number of places keeping Sunday free for God has dwindled.

The Reverend Alasdair Smith, who is now in his 80s, and his wife Chrissie remember the days when people would be “horrified” by someone riding a bicycle on the Sabbath – even if they were cycling to church.

Chrissie says: “I went to Sunday school and enjoyed it because you could walk to the school with your friends and if it was a nice day you ambled back. Because that was the only time you got to go for a walk – to church or Sunday school – not for pleasure.

“But Sunday was special,” she adds.

One of the people interviewed for the film, the Reverend Angus Smith, protested against the first Sunday ferry to Skye in 1965 and again when Lewis eventually got its first Sabbath sailing in 2009.

He says: “Things have changed. We have so many incomers on the island that the whole balance has changed.”

• Full story at BBC Scotland.

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