All change for Church of Scotland parishes
CHURCH of Scotland parishes in Paisley and surrounding towns face a massive shake-up.
The number of ministers and full-time workers, such as deacons, are set to tumble from 56 to 41 while other churches face mergers.
The Express reported last week that historic Renfrew Old Parish Church has been earmarked for closure by 2017.
Now the Church of Scotland’s Draft Presbytery Plan – approved by the Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley – is looking to merge parishes and change boundaries in a bid to cut back on running costs.
In Barrhead, the three Church of Scotland congregations have been planning for many years to join up with the United Reformed Church.
But Bourock, whose minister recently retired, has decided that it no longer wished to unite, so a temporary minister has been allocated for seven years.
Neighbouring congregation, Barrhead South and Levern also currently has no minister but was denied a stand-in because this would take the plan over the allocated 41 ministries.
St Andrew’s Trinity Church, in Johnstone, is expected to link with Johnstone High, which means that there will be only one minister for the two congregations.
The Reverend Ann McCool, of the High Kirk, is opposed to this and St Andrew’s will be allowed a minister for a few years until the union can be created.
St Luke’s, in Paisley, will be linked with St. Columba’s, in Foxbar and the two congregations will share one minister, while St Ninian’s, Ferguslie, will unite with St James’s church in a few years’ time.
Linwood and Lylesland churches will lose the extra parish workers they both have and will go down to one minister in each church.
As previously reported in the Paisley Daily Express, Renfrew Old Parish Church will close completely when present minister Reverend Lilly Easton retires, or if she moves to another post.
The plan has taken two years of consultation by a committee that was set up to map out how the presbytery would achieve the reduction in numbers which was set by the General Assembly of the Church.
A spokesman said: “For many years, the Kirk has been drawing on reserves to pay ministers and the church agreed in 2010 to reduce the numbers of full-time ministers from around 1,200 to 800 throughout Scotland.
“Every presbytery was then allocated their share of ministers based on population and had to draw up a plan indicating how they would, over a period of 10 years, be able to get down to their number.”
At Tuesday night’s meeting to discuss the plan, the Moderator, the Reverend Stuart Steell of Renfrew Trinity Church, paid warm tribute to the convener of the committee, the Reverend Andrew MacLean, of Port Glasgow, for the hard work he had done.
Mr MacLean had himself been part of the adjustments, having taken on Langbank parish as well as his existing charge of St Andrew’s.