There is a strong sense of community throughout the parish, although all three areas have their own characteristics. Various events throughout the year provide entertainment and are a draw for tourists and visitors. All three villages have their own village halls and these are well used for clubs, fund raising events etc. The Minister has usually been a trustee of Balquhidder and Strathyre Halls. A Luncheon Club which is held in the Scout Station in Lochearnhead caters for folk from all three villages. Church members help with the organisation of the club and cooking of lunches. Most of these events give the Minister the chance to meet local people as well as visitors.
Local employment is very reliant on farming, forestry and tourism, the latter, both for visitors coming to stay in the area and others passing through. In recent years, the trend of many properties being sold for holiday homes has eased, with more folk coming to stay who are self employed in tourism and computer services. Internet connection is much improved though no doubt many experts would like to see it even better!
Lochearnhead makes full use of its share of Loch Earn with water sports activities. Until 2014 there was a thriving water sports centre but a fire destroyed the building in 2014 although the sport continues. The Highland Games in Lochearnhead is a major annual event which is combined with the gathering of clan societies. The Macgregors and MacLarens are always well represented and these two clan societies hold services in the church on the games weekend at the end of July: the Clan Gregor Society has a service of its own that Sunday afternoon in our church and the Clan MacLaren Society join us at the regular Sunday service that weekend. An internationally famous event is the Black Face Sheep Shearing competitions held every year in Lochearnhead.
Strathyre relies mostly on tourism these days although the Forestry Commission is always much in evidence. In the centre of the village is a monument to Dugald Buchanan who was born in Strathyre in 1716 and died in 1768. He was a poet, evangelist and teacher as well as a translator of the scriptures into Gaelic. The hill race from the village up Stuc a` Chroin every year is now a major event with runners coming from all over Scotland and beyond.. Coming right up to date, a recently established music festival held in early summer is proving to be very successful. It features a wide range of music including traditional Scottish, folk and country music as well as jazz and blues.
In Balquhidder, the church has always been appreciated for its good acoustics and, until 2013, The Friends of Balquhidder Church used to host a summer season of classical concerts. These are no longer financially viable, but the church is used for concerts by other organisations from time to time, most recently by members of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The church fund raising concerts are popular with many local talented artists from all parts of the parish generously donating their time and talents. This also has the effect of drawing together folk from all parts of the parish.
In such a large rural parish there can be problems because the nearest doctors` surgeries are in Callander, Comrie and Killin, all some 30 minutes drive away from the three villages. The local community hospitals are in Stirling, Falkirk and Crieff, all about an hour away, with the main hospitals in Perth and Larbert even further away. Patients can also be sent to Glasgow hospitals. Local care services from district nurses and those run by Stirling Council are very good despite frequently being under pressure.
There is one primary school in the parish, in Strathyre, after those in the other two villages were closed in recent years. Strathyre is considered by many to be a very good school which draws pupils from outwith the parish as well. The school likes to hold a service in the church occasionally, for example at Harvest Thanksgiving.
Most secondary age children go to McLaren High School in Callander by school bus. Other bus services are limited and restricted to the A roads with local services provided by Stirling Council as a Demand Responsive Transport which appears to work well, including bringing folk to church if necessary.