Almost Two-Thirds Of Shetland Churches To Close
On the Shetland isles, the number of church buildings and the cost of supplies and ministers required to run them has become 'unsustainable', leading to the Church of Scotland deciding to close almost two-thirds of kirks.
According to the BBC, the closures are down to dwindling numbers attending church congregations, as well as a shortage of ministers on the isles, which has a population of just over 22,000.
The Church of Scotland has confirmed that 20 out of 31 churches across the isles will close, but has not yet specified which ones will face closure yet, instead waiting after the individual congregations have been informed.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Church of Scotland said that the Shetland Presbytery has a legacy of many, many buildings, some of which have been open since the 18th century, which are surplus to requirement for religious practices: “"At the heart of our decision making is the desire to see a sustainable future for the Church of Scotland, its mission and pastoral care for the whole of Shetland,” they continued.
The Church of Scotland will instead be looking at a new model for ministry of Shetland, which could potentially see 13 separate parishes merged into one, and three parish ministers covering the whole of Shetland.
Elsewhere, the Shetland Presbytery may also be dissolved, giving stead to a joint presbytery between Shetland and Aberdeen. Of the 975 members of the Church of Scotland in Shetland, around two-thirds contribute financially, meaning that the amount of funding available and number of volunteers are both limited.
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