The Islands Study Conference

The 2020 conference will take place from 7-9 February


About the Conference

Running since 1983, the Islands Study Conference is an inter denominational Bible conference which is held on the Isle of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

The weekend conference takes place annually from Friday evening until Sunday evening — the fourth Sunday in April — with guest speakers being invited to deliver lectures on specific topics. As well as hearing inspiring Bible teaching, we also hear about mission work and enjoy great fellowship together.

The Harris Hotel, Tarbert, has been the venue for the conference since its inauguration, although we have joined the local churches for Sunday worship over the last number of years. Whilst it is a residential conference in part, day visitors are also very welcome, and encouraged, to attend the conference at any point.

We would be delighted to have friends from near and far to join us and feed on God’s Word.


7 February 2020
“The Praying of Christ” (1)
Rev. Alasdair I Macleod
Tea/Coffee and selection of home baking
Followed by a time of Fellowship
8 February 2020
8:00am - 9:00am
Morning Worship
“The Body”
Rev Dr Robert Murdock
Free Time
“The Praying of Christ” (2)
Rev Alasdair I Macleod
“The Love Story”
Rev Dr Robert Murdock
Followed by a time of Fellowship
9 February 2020
8:00am - 9:00am
Morning Worship
Morning Church Service
Rev Dr Robert Murdock
The Athlete
Afternoon Focus: My Years in Ministry
Rev Kenny I Macleod
Evening Church Service
Rev Alasdair I Macleod
Burning Hearts and Opened Eyes
Fellowship Meeting/Close of Conference


We are pleased to welcome the following speakers to this year's conference.

  • Rev. Alasdair I Macleod

    Rev. Alasdair I Macleod

    Rev Dr Robert Murdock

    Rev Dr Robert Murdock

The Venue

As is traditional, the conference will meet this year in the Harris Hotel, Tarbert, Isle of Harris. If you need directions to find it, we have marked the location on Google Maps.

Exterior shot of the conference venue, the Harris Hotel.


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About the 2015 Conference

Over 100 at Islands Study Conference in Tarbert

April 28, 2015

With attendees from Rosskeen to Raasay, Sleat to Shawbost, North Tolsta to North Harris, as well as large contingents from other island congregations the 33rd Islands Study Conference was held in Tarbert last weekend.

The speakers at this year’s conference were the Rev Dr Sinclair B Ferguson and Rev Alasdair M. Macleod.

Not only was the Harris Hotel booked up with attendees but also the nearby Hebrides Hotel housed many who came to stay in Harris for the weekend. Supplemented by others who came for evening sessions or the whole day, the conference sessions were well attended with regular attendandes of 100 people.

Rev Dr Sinclair B Ferguson speaking at the lectern

The theme chosen by Dr Ferguson (pictured above) was the sacraments. Over two sessions he unfolded the significance of the sacrments for our ongoing Christian life. Challenging the listeners to imagine how they would describe what takes place at a baptism or Lord’s Supper service, he then communicated, with clarity and passion, how and why we have been given these two sign and seals, and what difference they make to us.

Ullapool's Rev Alasdair Macleod (pictured below) took as his subject the ‘raw material’ of Peter, James and John, those apostles closest to Jesus during his earthly ministry, and saw how their characters were changed, shaped and moulded to become useful instruments in the hand of God.

Rev Alasdair Macleod speaking at the lectern

Copies of the six talks are available on CD for £10. Orders can be made by emailing David MacIver (

Chairman of the Conference Committee Norman Macleod, an elder from the Stornoway Free Church, summed up the weekend:
"It was a genuine privilege for us to be in Harris this weekend.
"The conference was a very special time, with many commenting on how this weekend ranked as one of the best conferences we have had. Thanks to our speakers and all who attended.
"It was so heartening to hear some first-time attenders commit already to next year’s conference. The more the merrier!"

2017 Conference Summary

Conference 2017 speakers

A large number gathered at the Harris Hotel for the Islands Study Conference from Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd April with guest speakers, Rev James Maciver (Stornoway Free Church) and Rev Hector Morrison (Highland Theological College) being invited to deliver lectures on specific topics of interest.

James Maciver’s subject was ‘The signs of the times.’ He spoke comprehensively and passionately about ‘the last things’ covering the wider eschatological landscape of the Lord’s return, the resurrection and the final judgment.

Rev Hector Morrison addressed the topic of the ‘maternal aspects of the Godhead.’ His thought-provoking lectures focused on the birthing God of Isaiah 42:14 bringing Israel to life and the compassionate God of Isaiah 49:14-16 who does not forsake or forget his own children.

Both speakers also conducted services on Sunday in the local community centre in conjunction with the congregation of North Harris Free Church.

As well as hearing inspiring Bible teaching, delegates also heard about the mission work of God is Good Africa from the conference hosts, Rev Calum Iain and Dina Macleod (Back), following their recent short-term mission trip to Uganda.

Copies of the conference lectures are available on CD for £10. Orders can be made by emailing

Chairman of the Conference Committee David MacIver summed up the weekend:

“It was good to renew fellowship and friendships over the weekend and a privilege to have had two such accomplished and experienced speakers with us to teach and preach God’s Word. We heard four lectures and two sermons, which were excellent, and we are indebted to the Lord that His blessing accompanied the Word and our fellowship.

“A special mention must also go to the ‘Conference Hosts’ as their presence and contribution really enhanced the conference.

“With advancing years and changing circumstances preventing many of those who faithfully supported the conference over many years from now attending, it was particularly gratifying to have had new attendees with us this year, both as hotel residents and day visitors. We hope to see each of them, and many more, back with us at the next conference! That is scheduled to take place, all being well, from 20th-22nd April 2018.”

2018 Islands Study Conference

Conference 2018 speakers

On the 20th April 2018 the Islands Study Conference assembled at their well-loved venue in the Harris Hotel, Tarbert. This year the Speakers were Rev Dr Malcolm Maclean from Greyfriars Free Church, Inverness, who took for his study ‘The Trinity in the Christian life’ and the Rev Calum Iain Macleod from Back Free Church, Isle of Lewis, whose address to the audience was ‘Living the Christian Life in a 21st Century World’.

It was a weekend of true Christian fellowship and, in the teaching, one was aware of an almost tangible sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit warming our hearts to the realities of our existence in God.

Although slightly lower in number this year, the conference drew friends from many parts, as well as those who joined for fellowship from the local congregations of Scalpay and Leverburgh. The Sunday services were hosted by Rev David Macleod in his congregation at North Harris Free Church, which, for some, was another new experience worshipping in a converted inn. Both speakers took the services, expanding further on their chosen subjects.

The Mission Focus on the Sunday afternoon was centred around the provision and support of children’s camps in Nispireni, Moldova. The address was given by Mrs Anne Macaulay from Back, who held our attention giving us an insight into the practicalities which makes the camps the great success they have proved to be in sending the good news of the Gospel.

The Islands Study Conference still exists to bless and encourage all those who, with great expectations, gather in the name of Jesus. We sincerely pray for its continuance in God’s providence.

At the close of the conference it was announced that next year’s conference will take place from 8th-10th February (note the earlier date) when the Speakers expected are Rev Alasdair I Macleod (Edinburgh) and Rev Roger Simpson (Archbishop of York’s Evangelist for the Northern Province and Associate Minister at St. Michael le Belfrey Church, York).

Recordings of this year’s conference are available on c.d. Sets including the 4 lectures and 2 sermons are priced £10. Those can be purchased by emailing .

2019 Islands Study Conference

By the Grace of God, the Islands Study Conference this year had four of the most passionate evangelists that I have ever heard! Does Scotland today have a greater need than fervent prayer and passionate evangelism?

Our very own Rev David Robertson Minister of St Peters Dundee, and his wife Annabel spoke alongside Rev. Roger Simpson Associate Vicar of St. Michael Le Belfrey, York and his fellow full-time evangelist Paul Myers. David spoke on ‘The Good News for Today’s Scotland’ and Roger spoke on ‘Lost for Words.’

The first lecture of the Conference was at 7.30pm on Friday night where David spoke from Romans 1 on the theme ‘Regressive Society.’ He was the Consultant giving us the diagnosis and interpreting the scans – Scotland is dieing and on life-support with a culture that is not PROGRESSING towards a tolerant and diverse utopia as the secularists claim but is instead actually REGRESSING to a Greco-Roman pagan culture where all manner of sin is not only condoned but celebrated! But it was in that ancient pagan society that the New Testament fledgling church grew and prospered!

On Saturday morning Roger spoke at 11am on the topic ‘Good News is Our Business’ where he read from Colossians 4. This was practical, step-by step advice about evangelism and how to do it. Prayer was double-emphasised because only God can give the increase. In his experience most people came to Christ through the faithful, loving friendship of a Christian. People will only take our invites seriously if we are good friends to them and will only find us interesting if we are interested in them!

After lunch David read from Romans 8 and spoke about ‘The Groaning Creation’ where he filled us with hope showing us the cure for a terminally ill Scotland – Jesus Christ and Him crucified! To be inward looking is devastating for a church, so we need to be outward looking, applying the word of Christ to the culture that we live in. We must communicate clearly who Jesus is as most people in the UK just don’t know!

Lecture 4 was at 8pm where Roger read from John 4 and spoke on the theme ‘Good News for Individuals’. His stories from being an evangelist for over 30 years were so inspiring! By the Grace of God, he has seen hundreds saved (including billionaires, gangsters and gladiators!) through personal evangelism or courses such as Alpha.

On Sunday all the Conference residents and visitors, including the Scaladale, Free Church Youth Camp, joined the 11 am morning service at North Harris Free Church where Rev David Robertson preached from Romans 8:38-39 on ‘The Conquering Church.’ The sermon was hope filled, encouraging and triumphant – who shall separate us from the love of Christ? No one and nothing! No matter what trials and tribulations we go through we are on the winning side because Christ died for us and our sins have been forgiven forever!

At 3.30pm we had the treat of Annabel Robertson being interviewed by her husband about her God given ministry as a Ministers wife, her own deep passion for outreach and how she had supported and helped people as part of that outreach in Brora and Dundee. We also discussed the role of women in the church and the importance of women being active in serving and evangelising.

At the 6pm service Rev Roger Simpson again blessed us by reading from 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, speaking on the theme ‘Good News in the Local Church.’ He exhorted us to tell people the things of ‘first importance’ - that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the grave! This is the Gospel - the message of hope that the sin ravished, guilt ridden, shame filled, failure feeling people around us need to hear! Paul Myers again spoke passionately and clearly (he spoke for several minutes every time Roger spoke) of his incredible deliverance from despair and addiction - a clear indication of the healing, transforming power of Jesus!

After the evening service we went back to the Harris Hotel where the Conference is held (The North Harris Free Church is right next door to the Hotel) and heard testimony from David about how he became a Christian and about his upcoming move to Australia. We also heard testimony from Roger on how he had once, by the Grace of God, after a long struggle and much prayer, helped a demon oppressed gangster, who he had invited to stay in his home, come to Christ!

What a blessed, blessed weekend! God willing, next year’s Islands Study Conference is from 7th to the 9th February 2020 and the speakers are Rev Alistair I Macleod and Rev Robert Murdock. If you want a wonderful weekend of great teaching and fellowship in beautiful surroundings you can get the booking details on this website.

Written by Alasdair 'Moley' Macleod

CD Shop

cd of the conference cover

Copies of the conference lectures are available on CD for £10. Orders can be made by emailing

Contact us

Booking Secretary
(Hotel Residents and day visitors)

Chrissie Macleod
25A Upper Coll, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0LS
Mobile: 07584 497567 / Tel: 01851 820632