Community / Bigton Collective secure community ownership of St Ninian’s Church

Bigton kirk.

A SOUTHEND community has taken ownership of its kirk 18 months after the Church of Scotland offered St Ninian’s Church in Bigton for sale.

The Church of Scotland is in the process to disposing 20 of its 31 church buildings in Shetland as part of a restructure of its parishes.

Rev Lynn Brady passes the key to Alice Ritch. Photo: May Macdonald

The keys to St Ninian’s Church were handed over to the Bigton Collective by the Rev Lynn Brady last week after the sale was finalised earlier in the month.

The collective secured £64,000 from the Scottish Land Fund to help buy the building to turn it into a multipurpose community facility.

The new ownership got off to a musical start when on Sunday the kirk was filled with voices for a singing workshop as part of the Culture Collective programme supported by Shetland Arts.


Wendy McConnachie from the Bigton Singers said: “The workshop on Sunday was excellent. It was so lovely to be able to be together and sing again in a group. The great acoustics in the kirk made it all the more special.”

Bigton Collective is planning an open event on 20 March where people will have the opportunity to come in for a look around the building, have a cup of tea and light a candle if they choose.

Some of the members and volunteers from the Bigton Band explore their new venue.
Photo: Dion Wilkinson

Alice Ritch of Bigton Collective said: “We are honoured to be custodians of this beautiful building for the next phase of its life and sincerely hope the building will continue to be a place of inspiration, joy, comfort, music and human connection for us all – and for the next 100 years.”

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A memory board will be set up so people can share stories, pictures and anecdotes about the kirk and any ideas, hopes and concerns they might have for the future.

There will also be a chance to hear a new song Bigton Bell that has been written to commemorate this new phase of the building.

Ritch added: “Thank you for believing in our vision, for your kind words and encouragement and to everyone who donated to our Crowdfunder.

“Also thank you to the Church of Scotland members who have tended to the building for so many years. We are so grateful to have this opportunity and to live in such a warm, positive and supportive community.”

If anyone would like to contribute to the next stage of the project or would like to make a regular donation to support Bigton Collective activities, follow this link.

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