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'A Place Where God is Pouring In'

'A Place Where God is Pouring In'

Monday March 21

Alistair Barton introduces a Christian centre on Arran which celebrates two important anniversaries this year


Sannox Christian Centre nestles among the trees a few hundred yards from the north-east coast on the beautiful Isle of Arran. A haven of peace and tranquillity, Sannox takes its name from the original Gaelic name for the bay – Sannaig - meaning Sandy Bay.

Sannox celebrates two key anniversaries in 2022. In 2012 the site containing the empty church, manse and stables was purchased by a newly formed charity with a vision to renovate the existing buildings and add to them to create a retreat, prayer, worship and creative arts centre modelled on Celtic Christian traditions and values. 

Ten years on, the former stables have been transformed into Dundarroch Cottage, offering four attractive, en suite bedrooms, dining room, kitchen and lounge for nine self-catering guests. The church has been renovated to a very high standard providing a modern worship and meetings facility with kitchen and toilets. A new gatehouse (office and prayer room), laundry and tool shed have been added.   

Over 250 years ago, local services were held in the open air. In 1800 James Haldane visited the Sannox area to bring the Good News of Jesus. A ‘spiritual awakening’ took place in 1804-06 and local people formed what we would now call a House Church. The congregation grew and in 1821 obtained land for a church, which opened in 1822 and was a centre for worship until the late 1960’s. 

So in 2022 we also celebrate the church’s re-opening and 200th anniversary. One of Scotland’s ‘ancient wells’ is once again a place of worship, prayer, creativity and fellowship.     

What we seek to provide at Sannox is a place of healing, restoration and equipping; a place where people come to be refreshed, restored and returned to their everyday lives, their jobs, their churches. It is a place of caring, blessing, teaching and mission. We seek to be a resource for the whole Church.

Visitors are free to take part in onsite activities, or not. There is a ‘Rhythm of Prayer’ based on Celtic Christian principles in the morning, at lunch time and evening. A team of ‘hosts’ welcomes guests and day visitors, and there is a programme of worship, prayer and other events on set dates. Close links with the community and local churches have been formed.  Sannox is a venue for the annual Arran Open Studios creative arts weekend and we participate in local Easter and Christmas events.

To date, through the generosity of many individuals and funders, around £900,000 has been raised and hundreds of volunteer hours have been contributed to restore and renovate this special place where God’s peace and presence can be experienced. There is still much to do!  The next phase, which we hope will start this year, will see the former manse converted to provide another four bedrooms with six beds, plus kitchen and dining area, allowing us to host more who wish to spend time at Sannox. Then we can start on the new buildings.

Sannox is a work in progress.  We are on a journey – building a physical Centre and a spiritual community based on ancient values. For more information, or to book a stay, visit www.sannox.org 


Alistair Barton is a Trustee of the Sannox Christian Centre and an elder at Kirkliston Parish Church