The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
United Free Church Tabernacle Stanley


The nonconformist church is in Barrack Street. The United Free Church has five congregations, the Tabernacle being one of them.


The Nonconformist Tabernacle

Many of the shepherds hired from Scotland belonged to the Free Kirk of Scotland. Those at Darwin, the Falkland Islands Company’s main farm, felt the need for a minister, probably not only for church activities but to educate their children.  No provision was being made for the education of shepherd’s children. Education and church activities were closely linked, from as early as 1840 Government’s interest and responsibility was minimal and education, irrespective of religion, was provided solely by the church. This continued until Governor Callaghan in 1870 recommended that travelling teachers be appointed.
In 1871 the Company assisted them to employ a minister for Darwin, the Reverend Yeoman taking up the post of minister and schoolmaster in 1872. In 1873 an iron constructed church was brought from England and erected at Darwin. A bell for the new church came from a ship the ‘Rotomahana, which wrecked in Elephant Bay. The Darwin ministers travelled by horseback and boat to other settlements including Walker Creek, North Arm and San Carlos to conduct baptisms, funerals and marriages.
The Darwin minister also travelled to the growing town of Stanley to hold services in the infant school.  In 1888 a Baptist minister of the famous preacher Spurgeon’s following, from the ‘Metropolitan Tabernacle', the Rev. George M. Harris, arrived in Stanley. Services were held in a room in the ‘Speedwell’, Stanley’s first church once used by Moody.
In 1891 a second Spurgeon minister the Rev. Good, moved the nonconformist church, to a newer larger,  tabernacle. Sited in Barrack Street, the wooden kit building, designed by the Rev. C H Spurgeon himself (who also contributed to its freight to the islands),was brought from England and  erected by the Falkland Islands Company. It served as a school and church combined. The school had a good stage and was often used as a place of entertainment.
The Reverend Forrest McWhan was minister for 31 years, working in harmony alongside Roman Catholic and Anglican colleagues for the good of the community. Despite working tirelessly for the town and travelling to camp to conduct services in 1952 he published a book The Falkland Islands Today and also published a Weekly News magazine. He died in 1966 and the new Government motor vessel the ‘Forrest’ was named for him.
Other ministers followed the Reverend Paul Charman 1967-1971, Reverend Forrester and lastly Reverend Queen in 1978. Since then the Tabernacle has had no long term minster but is served by its lay membership.


Photographic credits: Robert Maddocks
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