First Sabbath flight arrives on Scotland's staunchly religious Isle of Lewis

Posted: Friday, November 01, 2002

STORNOWAY, Scotland (AP) -- A 34-seat propeller plane landed at tiny Stornoway airport Sunday -- the first-ever Sabbath flight to the staunchly Presbyterian Isle of Lewis off Scotland's northwest coast.

Church leaders urged islanders to boycott the Sunday flights and preserve a traditional way of life that includes strict Sabbath observance.

The flights ''are a breach of God's law and will have an adverse effect on the whole community life of this island as we know it,'' said Calum Maclean, local representative of the Lord's Day Observance Society.

Lewis, a wind-battered island in the Outer Hebrides with a population of 22,000, is the spiritual home of the Free Church of Scotland, which allows only work of ''necessity and mercy'' on Sundays.

On Lewis, where most people belong to the Free Church or other Presbyterian denominations, almost all business and leisure activity stops for the Sabbath.

Loganair, a local affiliate of British Airways, inaugurated flights between Lewis' main town of Stornoway and Edinburgh and Inverness. Another airline, bmi british midland, also scheduled flights to and from Edinburgh seven days a week beginning Monday.

Some islanders believe Sunday ferries will be next.

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