The Islands Study Conference

The 2019 conference will take place on 8-10 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.




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

  • Rev. David Robertson

    Rev. David Robertson

    “The Good News for Today’s Scotland”

    Roger Simpson

    Roger Simpson

    “Lost for Words”

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 .

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 only)

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

Booking Secretary
(Day Visitors for Meals/Buffets only)

Kathryn Graham
5 Catherine Hill, Vatisker, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0JS
Mobile: 07833 552101 / Tel: 01851 820696