Village church transformed into a seven day week community hub

Inchture Church
Inchture Church minister, Rev Dr Marjory MacLean, Moderator Right Rev Dr Russell Barr and Rev Liz Kay, convener of the church's development group.

A village church has been transformed into a seven-day-a-week community hub following a £500,000 refurbishment.

Inchture Church in Perthshire was described by Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, as “quite stunning”.

He was the guest preacher at a special service of thanksgiving on Tuesday evening to mark the end of 10 months of interior and exterior renovation work.

The project, which was more than seven years in the planning and began in May 2016, was expected to take around six months to complete.

But the work was delayed for three months following the discovery of a historic arched burial vault.

Fit for purpose

It belonged to the Kinnaird family and the remains have been kept within the Victorian sandstone church.

Inchture Church Perthshire
Inchture Church

With the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland and local fundraising, the interior has been converted to accommodate a café, kitchen, disable-accessible toilets, cupboards, a vestry, a lift, a meeting room and a gallery with a seating capacity for 60 people.

Important life event

Dr Barr, who preached to around 130 people on the theme of Special Occasions, said: “A tired and crumbling Victorian sandstone building has been transformed into something bright, flexible and fit for purpose for the 21st century.

“It was an excellent evening and good to see the whole community coming together to celebrate such an important event in the life of the church and village.”

Rev Liz Kay, convener of the church development group, read a prayer of dedication during the service.

Local folk musician and piper, Neil Paterson, performed a specially composed tune called ‘Return to Inchture Kirk’ and Church organist, Andrew Morrison, performed a new hymn for the occasion.

Inchture Church interior
A bright and airy space.

Parish minister Rev Dr Marjory MacLean said she is delighted with the outcome of the works and “looking forward to busy times ahead”.

“The congregation was touched by the kindness of the Moderator to come in person to preach at such a special event,” she added.

“Everyone is excited by the beautiful refurbishment of the building, and most of all by the new possibilities for mission and community engagement it offers.

“The service on Tuesday highlighted that wonderfully.

“Inchture Church is a seven-day-a-week community focus where all sorts of things will happen for all sorts of people and organisations.

“And always, we hope, with an openness and welcome.”

Inchture Church inside
A welcoming place

Dr MacLean said a series of different health and wellbeing meetings were planned for the near future and folk music concerts would be held throughout the summer.