Falkirk church in Scotland’s top 10

St Francis Xavier's came sixth in the Best Modern Churches competition
St Francis Xavier's came sixth in the Best Modern Churches competition

St Francis Xavier RC Church has been named one of the top ten modern churches in the UK in a national architecture competition.

The building was praised for its ‘unusual and arresting’ exterior by judges of the competition which was organised by the National Churches Trust to mark its 60th anniversary.

Over 200 churches were nominated for the title which was open to church buildings and extensions of all denominations which opened for worship after 1953.

St Francis was placed sixth when the awards were announced by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace in London last week.

First place went to St Paul’s Church, at Bow Common in London, which was described as ‘highly influential’.

Chairman of the judges panel, Sherry Bates, said: “In sixth place we have a largely unsung gem of St Francis Xavier’s, Falkirk.

“With its dramatic stone entrance façade designed by AR Conlon, the church has an unusual and arresting west end which should surely have made it worthy of even higher listing.”

St Francis Xavier parish priest Monsignor Philip Kerr said: “We are delighted that our church reached the final of this competition.

“It is a tremendous tribute to the vision of the people who built St Francis Xavier’s in 1961.”

Luke March, chairman of the National Churches trust, said: “As a nation we are rightly proud of our magnificent heritage of historic churches.

“But there are also many exciting churches which have been built in the last 60 years, designed for the changing nature of religious liturgy and practices and reflecting modern architecture and design.”

Two other Scottish churches made the top 10 - St Bride’s RC Church in East Kilbride, which received the bronze award, while Kildrum Parish Church in Cumbernauld came in ninth.

To see photos and videos of all the shorlisted finalists, go to www.bestmodernchurches.org.uK.