Moderator Designate heartened by resurging spirit at South Lanarkshire church

The Moderator Designate of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland believes the congregation at a church in South Lanarkshire which endured an unsettling split earlier this year will go from "strength to strength".

Rev John Chalmers conducted worship at Kirkmuirhill Parish Church on Sunday for over 120 people and enjoyed a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

In February this year, 133 members of the congregation followed minister Rev Ian Watson out of the Church of Scotland.

Since then, the remaining congregation, along with new members, have galvanized their energies into ensuring the church remains a nurturing centre for the community it serves.

Mr Chalmers said: "This is a congregation with a generous heart and an active and responsive faith; they can only go from strength to strength."

In his sermon, Mr Chalmers spoke of the relevance of the Church in a society where loneliness was a widespread problem.

He said that through the Church, friendships are formed which help sustain people through some of the most difficult periods of their lives.

Speaking personally, he recalled the days that followed the news his son had been critically injured while serving with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan.

He said: "At that time we experienced the silence of heaven, but it was the friendship of the people of God that sustained us and who restored our faith."

Following the service there was an impromptu retiring collection for Help for Heroes and more than £340 was donated.

The interim moderator at Kirkmuirhill Parish Church, Rev Alan Greig, said he had been heartened by the solidarity amongst the congregation.

He added: "There has been a real willingness for people to come forward and help with important tasks filled by previous members.

"There is a real positive energy here and a sense that the church is moving forward and looking to the future.

"It must be said that the support the congregation has received from the Presbytery of Lanark and from the national church has been very much appreciated."