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Community / ‘End of an era’ as new church presbytery linking isles with Aberdeen prepares to launch

Tingwall kirk, one of many to receive funding from the Shetland Churches Council Trust.The Tingwall Kirk.

A VIRTUAL service is being held on Sunday to mark the new partnership of churches in Shetland and Aberdeen.

The Church of Scotland’s new presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland, which will oversee all churches in the city and the isles under a single management structure, will be formally established on Monday.

It is part of wider proposals to reduce the number of presbyteries across Scotland and the size of the church estate.

It comes after it was announced in 2018 that the Church of Scotland would be closing 20 kirks in Shetland.

On Sunday at 11am a virtual service will be streamed on the presbytery’s Facebook page to celebrate the new partnership.

It will include a virtual choir and orchestra and a video message from Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, who is moderator of the General Assembly.

Rev Hutton Steel, the new moderator of the Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland, said: “The merging of the two presbyteries is a natural progression to the strong ties which exist between the city and the islands.

“The church is moving forward with this positive reorganisation of our structures to enable us to serve the people in new and exciting ways, whilst at the same time preserving the best of our traditions.”

Moderator of the Presbytery of Shetland Andrew John Williamson said: “We have mixed feelings because it is an end of an era.

“But we need a bigger group to handle the business and we are very glad that Aberdeen is willing to join with us to create a joint presbytery.

“We are happy that we can come together and hope that it will be a successful merger.”