Church community cohesion work applauded at Holyrood

Ray Gaston
Rev Gaston with Gemma Lindsay and her twin sisters Lisa and Sally who attend Clackmannan Parish Church

A congregation has been recognised in the Scottish Parliament for its efforts to revive a village fayre tradition to mark its 200th anniversary.

MSPs have congratulated Clackmannan Parish Church for securing £4,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to host a community event next summer in conjunction with Clackmannan Development Trust, the local community council and primary school.

Fayres were regularly held in the community in the 1980s, 1990s and early part of the century.

Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Alexander Stewart, who has lodged a motion at Holyrood which has been signed by 20 MSPs so far, said the event would promote "community cohesion".

Locum minister Rev Ray Gaston said it was great to see the "value and positive contribution" of the church to community life recognised and celebrated.

Positive

The motion states: “That the Parliament congratulates everyone at Clackmannan ParishChurch of Scotland on it being awarded £4,000 by the Big Lottery Fund; understands that this will be used towards a community event to mark the bicentennial of the church in the form of the revival of the traditional town fayre; believes that the event will promote community cohesion, and wishes all involved with this well with their endeavours.”

Rev Gaston said he was delighted that the church had been recognised at Holyrood.

“Clackmannan is a lively congregation and is very much involved in the local community,” he added.

"The fayre will be an occasion that places the church firmly at its heart”.

According to research carried out by the congregation, a place of worship seems to have been founded where the present church stands, or thereabouts, around 680AD when St Serf passed through the area.

A church opened in 1817 and was called St Andrew’s on the Hill.

Divisions in 1788 and 1843 saw two other congregations being formed in the village but they merged in 1932. It was at this point that the name St Andrew’s on the Hill was dropped and Clackmannan Parish Church adopted.

Excited

Duncan Brember, a member of the church’s bicentennial group who is writing a book on the building’s history, said the congregation was very much looking forward to celebrating the church’s rich history next year.

He added that there were plans to hold a special event every month and the first one will be a concert featuring Clackmannanshire ChoralSociety on 21 January.

Mr Brember said: “We are very proud to have been part of the community and a place of regular worship for 200 years.

“Clackmannan is a strong community and everybody is excited at the thought of a year of celebrations.

“We hope that it will reinvigorate how people see the church and hopefully attract additional members.”