A BLACK Isle church is set for the wrecking ball — and its minister can’t wait.
That’s because the congregation of Fortrose Free Church plans to erect a state of the art £750,000 building on the current Church Street site.
The church has served the community for over a century but is slowly sinking due to structural engineering problems which would cost hundrdeds of thousands to repair. The congregation will decamp to the adjacent Town Hall for a year while the new building is built.
The Sunday services at 11.30am and 6pm on September 3 will be the last before demolition work begins.
Minister Rev Sandy Sutherland said while there would normally be a sense of sadness at a church building being demolished, there is 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, as the church has only raised just over £600,000 for the £740,000 project – leaving a shortfall of around £140,000.
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.
A special service takes place in Fortrose Free Church, Church Street, on Friday, September 1 at 7.30pm. The final Sunday services are at 11.30am and 6pm on September 3. All welcome as usual. From Sunday, September 10, services will be held in Fortrose Town Hall at 10am and 6pm.