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Careful now! Sunday cinema showings to resume in the Western Isles despite church protests

'Down with this sort of thing!' Protesters greeted cinema-goers at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis today for a Sunday showing of the film Black Panther.
'Down with this sort of thing!' Protesters greeted cinema-goers at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis today for a Sunday showing of the film Black Panther.

Sabbath supporters have “deplored” the “sad” decision by the Isle of Lewis’s only public cinema to open again on Sundays.

Sunday cinema is to resume at An Lanntair in Stornoway after a successful trial on the island earlier this year.

The three-film trial – spread over three months – was met with protests by church groups, who are now promising to continue their campaign.


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The last Sabbath film was shown in April, but now blockbuster Aquaman will be shown on January 27.

“An Lanntair will be open on the last Sunday in the month from January 2018 for movies and family arts activities. The cafe bar will not be open for food, but there will be teas, coffees and snacks on offer,” said the centre.

“Drop in family arts activities will run in the cafe bar round room as part of An Lanntair’s new ‘Full Circle Family Arts Programme’ and a movie will screen in the auditorium from 2pm. Come along and enjoy!”

Some people previously called for An Lanntair to be stripped of its annual public funding of £400,000 from Creative Scotland and £60,000 from the Western Isles Council.

Rev Graeme Craig of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Stornoway said the resumption of Sunday cinema “is sad but not surprising.”

“An Lanntair are continuing to ignore the obvious rejection of Sunday opening by large swathes of our Island Community, many of whom are not church goers,” he said today.

“This can be seen by the fact so far over 1800 islanders signed a community statement organised by the DayOne/Lord’s Day Observance Society voicing concern against this.

“It is ironic that those who claim to preserve and promote our Island culture are in the vanguard of undermining one of the few things which make our Islands distinctive. Many visitors are attracted to the Island by what makes us different.

“The loss of a quiet family Sunday in the rest of the UK has contributed to the break up of family life and increased the stresses people feel.

“Moves such as this are selfish and self-defeating and end up pressurising people into working or giving up a quiet Sunday when they would rather not. We believe that Lanntair’s Sunday opening will do no good to the Island and is to be deplored.”

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