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Community / Final service at the ‘much loved’ Gulberwick kirk this weekend ahead of closure

The church in Gulberwick has been earmarked for closure. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

AFTER more than 120 years of worship the Gulberwick kirk is set to host its final service this weekend before it becomes the latest church in Shetland to be sold off.

The service will take place on Sunday (17 March) at 3pm.

Once it is closed the Church of Scotland building will then go on the market.

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

Many have already been disposed of in locations around Shetland.

While some have been sold publicly, some kirks have been bought by community groups – the most recent of which being the church at Brough in Whalsay.

Regarding Gulberwick, a Church of Scotland spokesperson said: “As with any of former churches, we hope it finds a new and responsible owner who will safeguard the future of the building and would welcome any interest from community groups who might wish to take on ownership”.

The church, which sits next to a graveyard overlooking the sea, was opened in 1898.

Rev Fran Henderson, minister for South Shetland, said: “It is with great sadness that we are holding the closing service for Gulberwick Kirk this Sunday at 3pm.

“The congregation has worshipped God in this place for 126 years, and it is very hard to say goodbye to such a much-loved building. The last service within its walls will be a chance to give thanks to God for the long witness of the congregation in this place, even as we mourn the closure of the building.

“The village of Gulberwick remains part of the Parish of Shetland and in the pastoral care of the Church of Scotland.

“Meanwhile, the long partnership between Gulberwick Kirk and Lerwick St Columba’s will continue as the two congregations come together in worship on Sunday mornings.”

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