Sunday ferry crossing upsets Christians in Stornoway

Christians in Stornoway have been left angry and upset after a car ferry began its first Sunday crossing at the weekend between the small town on the Isle of Lewis and the Scottish mainland.

A small group of protesters held placards telling people to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy – the fourth commandment – as the MV Isle of Lewis left Stornoway harbour, while around 200 locals turned out to show their support for the Sunday crossing.

The launch of the service – which will run every Sunday at 2.30pm - comes after more than 20 years of fierce campaigning by local churches to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest.

Church leaders fear the car ferry will lead to the secularisation of the island, a Presbyterian stronghold. Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne said it would be breaking European laws if it did not run the service.

Rev Kenneth Stewart, a Free Church of Scotland Minister and opponent of the ferry service, told Premier Radio the Sunday crossing “entirely alters the way of life on the island”.

“When a ferry comes in everything else has to open up too because you can’t have X number of people and vehicles trooping off a ferry without a knock on effect in terms of business opening and shops opening,” he said.