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Community / End of an era as ‘much loved’ Dunrossness kirk becomes latest church to go up for sale

Photo: Church of Scotland

ONE of the most historic churches on the Shetland mainland is to be offered for sale following its final service at the end of this month.

Dunrossness Parish Church, which dates from the 18th century, is among the final kirks to be put up for sale as the Church of Scotland reduces its estate in Shetland.

Folk in the South Mainland will be “warmly welcomed” at the Church of Scotland’s Sandwick kirk once services in Dunrossness come to an end.

The B-listed Church of Scotland building in Dunrossness has an asking price of offers over £40,000.

The church dates back to 1790, and its gross internal area spans 319 square metres.

The Church of Scotland agreed in 2018 to close 20 of its 31 buildings as falling congregations made the retention of so many buildings unviable.

While some have been sold publicly, some kirks have been bought by community groups.

The Church of Scotland had been in discussion with local groups about a possible community use for Dunrossness, but despite delaying the sale for a year to explore the possibility of a purchase, this is said to be no longer an option.

Photo: Church of Scotland

Built in 1790, Dunrossness Parish Church is located within a graveyard, but this will continue to be maintained by Shetland Islands Council and the public, including relatives of anyone interred there, will continue to have access.

The final service at Dunrossness Parish Church will be held at 7pm on Sunday 27 August.

There are no plans to remove the pews or pulpit, but a new home is being sought for the lectern and organ.

Rev Frances Henderson, minister for Central and South Shetland, commented: “Although we have known for some time that this would happen, it is still very upsetting to see the day arrive.

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“We know that Dunrossness Parish Church is an important place for South Mainlanders, and has hosted not just regular services, but weddings, baptisms, funerals and other events for generations of islanders.

“We know its closure and sale will be a grief to many in the local area and beyond, which is why we are inviting all who have a connection with or interest in Dunrossness Church to join us at 7pm on Sunday August 27 to give thanks to God for the faithfulness of the congregation over the years, and say a proper goodbye to this much loved building.

“I am truly sorry for the sadness people will feel at the end of an era for this historic church and hope that people will feel able to speak to me about those feelings if they would like to do that.

“We pray that Dunrossness Church will have a good future, but most importantly, the population of Dunrossness and its surroundings remains in our pastoral care, and all members and friends of the congregation will be warmly welcomed at Sandwick Church for our regular 10am Sunday services.”

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