Historic Fife churches facing closure are thrown a lifeline by report

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Historic churches in Fife have been thrown a lifeline after the threat of closure was lifted – for some.

Seven landmark places of worship, many dating back centuries, feared for their future as the Church of Scotland reviewed its property portfolio as it faced up to dwindling income and falling congregations.

A working group set up to study the case for each church has now reported back with its recommendations. It has proposed saving the 900-year old St Fillan’s Church in Aberdour - and encouraged its expanded use as an asset for the church.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It has also recommended retaining Crail Church, and encouraged the formation of local trusts to ensure Burntisland, Culross Abbey and St Monan’s remain in public use, but Cupar Old and Pittenweem still face the threat of closure.

St Fillan's Church, Aberdour (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)St Fillan's Church, Aberdour (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
St Fillan's Church, Aberdour (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

The Historic Churches Working Greoup (HCWG) was set up after disquiet caused by the Fife Presbytery proposal last May to close many historic churches. Seven were Grade “A” listed and recommended for “disposal.”

Its report described St Fillan’s as “very open to a wide variety of uses already, and has good relationships with school and local community organisations. There is a good body of keen members and office-bearers.”And it recommended: “On the weight of these considerations, we feel that retention by the Church of Scotland at this time would be of huge benefit to the congregation and parish, and would encourage a more expanded use of the building as an asset for the mission of the church within the parish. Retention comes with the condition that the congregation engage with the Historic Churches Support Group, in preparing by June 2026, or before, an action plan for the development of the church as an asset for mission.

While Presbytery has accepted the report, this only means that it will take this into account at the next review of the Presbytery Mission Plan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A spokesman for St Fillan’s said: “It is great news, however we still have a way to go before we can say we are safe. Thank you to the community for your support in preventing ‘disposal’. We will have to meet with the Historic Churches Support Group to work out how we move forward.

Related topics: