Fortrose Free Church hopes to erect a brand new building with facilities suitable for a modern congregation.
The current building has been used for over a century but due to structural engineering problems the building is slowly sinking and the necessary repairs – thought to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds – would not make financial sense nor greatly increase its expected lifespan.
The congregation held their final service in the old building earlier this month. They will now decamp to the local town hall in Fortrose with regular services each Sunday at 10 am and 6:30 pm until work is completed on the estimated £750,000 project.
Minister Rev Sandy Sutherland explained, “Normally there would be a sense of sadness at a church building being demolished, but, while we would not have wished things to be as they are, there is, in the congregation, a great excitement at the prospect of new facilities. We can’t wait for the work to begin.”
“We are well aware of the prospect of further housing in the area, and hopefully a care home too, so it’s only right as we seek to reach out to people in the village with the Gospel and provide a facility for weddings and funerals that we have first-class facilities that folk would expect.”
“We are thankful to have had a number of young families coming to join the congregation in the last two or three years, and at the recent baptism service, both in the main church and also the hall afterwards, it was very clear that the current building is too small and unfit for purpose.”
The congregation is stepping forward in faith, so far they have managed to raise just over £600,000 for the £750,000 project – leaving a shortfall of around £150,000.
Mr Sutherland added: “We very much look to the Lord to provide, and we have been touched by the kindness and generosity of people living in the village as well as others with connections to the congregation now living further afield.”
“Since the first tender two years ago, costs have understandably gone up, and the professional fees mount up over this period too.”
“We are under no illusion, it’s a lot of money to raise, and we have to find it before the building project is completed next year.”
“With the building being demolished, we have had interest from folk wanting to buy pews or doors, and the pulpit might go too!”
“All reasonable offers will be entertained – but most of the pews have now been spoken for.”
Donations can be made to the congregation’s treasurer: Mr Jack Kernahan, 'Loch Skerrow', Wester Bulmungie, Rosemarkie, Fortrose, IV10 8SL.