Falkirk Presbytery confirmed last month its intention to shut Bainsford Parish Church as part of a wider proposal to create ‘hubs’ in which clusters of churches will work together in geographical areas.
A meeting to “discuss practicalities” was held on October 6, and the Church of Scotland has indicated the matter will now be dealt with next Tuesday.
If given the go-ahead, the clusters would share ministries and any differences in tradition, theology or distinctive parts of congregational life would be laid aside so congregations could operate as one.
The move has been drawn up in response to a declining number of ministers in the kirk and financial restraints exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “The proposals around this church will be discussed at a full meeting of the Presbytery of Falkirk on October 27.”
Campaigners have reacted furiously to the idea of closing a church which acts as a focal point and offers support to various community groups, charities and schools.
A change.org petition titled ‘Prevent the closure of Bainsford Parish Church’ has gathered more than 700 signatures.
Campaigners have pointed to the importance of the church not only to churchgoers but its surrounding area.
Home to two of the largest youth groups in the region in 8th Falkirk Company Boys’ Brigade and 8th Falkirk Girls’ Brigade, it also supports one of the largest sheltered housing complexes in Falkirk district.
The petition, created by Paul Mitchell, also highlights the significant contributions Bainsford Parish Church makes to charities such as Falkirk Foodbank and Christian Aid.
As well as its charitable work, the church has ties with Bainsford Primary School, Langlees Primary School, Harley Court sheltered housing and Newcarron Care Home.
The petition states: “The youth groups with their fellowship and connection offer better outcomes for the kids in the parish in regard to better mental health and well-being.
“Closure of Bainsford Parish Church could be catastrophic for the already seriously deprived Bainsford and Langlees community, reducing children’s and elderly people’s access to church and to youth work.”