Aberfeldy (1803)




About that time, however, the glen secured an evangelist for itself. In 1806 the Rev. James Kennedy had been ordained as Independent minister at Aberfeldy. He had done much to keep alive gospel truth in the whole surrounding district. Hardly knowing the full extent of what had taken place, he came in the course of his work to Glenlyon in October 1816. He found the valley aflame. So eager were the people that three weeks passed before he returned home, driven away by sheer exhaustion. During that time, he preached sometimes as often as three times a day, and hardly a service was held but "some new case of awakening occurred." As opportunity offered, he returned again and again to the glen and proved an able and anxious coadjutor of the work. Several picturesque descriptions are given of his services. No adequate place of meeting was possible, and the crowded congregations had to seek what accommodation was to be found on the hillsides or in the woods. One wood in particular was used. In later days it was spoken of as "a place which the divine presence had rendered venerable." We read of the people listening eagerly to the gospel message, "sometimes amid bleak winds and drifting snows, with their lamps suspended fairy-like from the fir trees." Writing to Kennedy's son, the Rev. David Campbell of Lawers, a native of Glenlyon and one of the fruits of the revival, said, "I have seen your father stand almost knee-deep in a wreath of snow, while at the same time it was snowing and drifting in his face all the time he was preaching, and the people gathered round him, patiently and eagerly listening to the fervent truths that proceeded from his lips."

The following is from, ‘Revivals in the Highlands and Islands’ by Alexander Macrea – Republished in 1998 by Tentmaker Publications.

Aberfeldy shared in the blessing. Mr. Dewar, afterwards Principal Dewar, of Aberdeen, writing in 1803, reported that fifty-seven converts there attributed their salvation to Mr. Haldane's missionaries. In 1806 Mr. James Kennedy was called to the pastorate of the Independent congregation at Aberfeldy. As a dissenting minister his difficulties were great. At first he taught a school, and his wife taught a sewing class, in order to augment his stipend. But his labours were blessed. The Rev. David Campbell, of Lawers, wrote of him: "Scarcely a sermon was preached but some new case of awakening occurred, the moaning and sobbing like a flock of lambs separated from their dams. However busy at their lawful avocations the people might have been, when the hour of prayer was come all work was thrown aside, and a rush to the barn, hamlet, or hillside might be seen from every corner of the glen. I have seen your father (the letter was written to Mr. Kennedy's son, Dr. John Kennedy, Stepney), stand almost knee-deep in a wreathe of snow, while, at the same time, it was snowing and drifting in his face all the time he was preaching, and the people gathered round him patiently and eagerly listening to the fervent truths that proceeded from his lips." At the time of the great revival of 1816, 1817, Mr. Peter M`Laren, of Callander, on his return from the scene, was asked what was being done. "Oh," he replied, “the great MacDonald (Ferintosh) is going about like thunder, and Kennedy after him like lightning."