Hoping to halt Larbert churches merger

Larbert Old Parish Church
Larbert Old Parish Church

Parishioners have come up with a plan to halt a planned merger between Larbert Old and Larbert West churches.

In 2016 Church of Scotland arbiters decided the two should unite.

It followed the minister and 120 members walking out after the church’s General Assembly voted to allow gay men and women to become ministers.

However, parishioners have come up with proposals in an attempt to keep the historic building open and have submitted a plan to Falkirk Council to create disabled access.

The congregation had applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding to replace the heating system, upgrade the toilet facilities and install disabled access at the B-listed building.

But they were rejected as the plans didn’t match the criteria. Larbert Old’s congregation has now applied to the local authority for planning permission and if successful  will use their own funds to complete the work.

Eric Appelbe, session clerk, said: “We were told by the Heritage Lottery Fund that heating is not part of the historical aspect of the building.

“But we feel they are misdirecting themselves. If you don’t have heating you don’t have a building. Further down the line we want to repair the stain glass window. They might help then.

“But in March 2017 the Larbert Old congregation was told by the Falkirk Presbytery they had five years to prove the building should remain open.