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World News

Church of Scotland to consider closing 30 churches in 'pruning' spree

by Sophie Drew

The Church of Scotland is meeting in September to decide the fate of more than 30 churches.

The presbytery meeting will focus on streamlining ministry - and would likely see up to 31 church buildings and seven manses released from the Kirk. 

Congregations - many of which are already dwindling - will be combined with worshippers at other churches nearby.

The list includes churches across Inverness and West Moray. Rev Mike Robertson, convener of Inverness Presbytery's mission planning group, said: 

"The task we are faced with is to produce a mission plan for the next five years, which ensures we are using limited resources as best we can and doing it as equitably as possible," he said.

"This is a draft plan and is still to be considered by Presbytery in September. However, change is necessary in order to deliver sustainable and realistic new expressions of ministry and church and ensure all buildings are suitable for the needs of mission in the 21st century.

"We recognise that throughout the Inverness Presbytery and beyond, there are buildings where congregations are engaging in positive outreach work to support their communities, so we know that some of these decisions will be difficult. 

"However, a proposed closure of a particular building is not a judgement on the congregation, but part of a mission plan for the whole of the Presbytery area."

Likening the church closures to gardening, he continued: "It is pruning and re-shaping to be a missional church, fit for today and the future, for growth."

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