Petition launched to save Bainsford Parish Church from closure

A campaign has been launched to save a Falkirk district church on the brink of closure.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 17th September 2020, 7:00 am

Falkirk Presbytery confirmed in its latest draft presbytery plan it intends to shut the doors of Bainsford Parish Church as part of a wider proposal to create ‘hubs’ in which clusters of churches will work together in geographical areas such as Central Falkirk, The Braes and Larbert.

If given the go-ahead, these 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 and Falkirk Presbytery will hold a meeting on October 6 to discuss the matter.

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Falkirk Presbytery is considering closing the doors of Bainsford Parish Church for good, much to the frustration of parishioners and campaigners. Picture: Michael Gillen.

However, the idea of closing a church which acts as a focal point and offers support to various community groups, charities and schools has been branded as potentially “catastrophic”.

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A change.org petition titled ‘Prevent the closure of Bainsford Parish Church’ was set up last week and has already gathered more than 600 signatures.

Campaigners have pointed to the importance of the church not only to churchgoers but to its surrounding area, as it is home to two of the largest youth groups in the region in 8th Falkirk Company Boys’ Brigade and 8th Falkirk Girls’ Brigade and 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, Blythswood Care 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 Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade offer connectedness and fellowship to the local youths who live in one of the most deprived areas of Falkirk.

“The youth groups with their fellowship and connectedness offer better outcomes for the kids in the parish in regard to better mental health and well-being.

“The church itself is a building which is in good order and cared for by a team of 13 dedicated elders and a strong-willed team of kirk session members.

“The church is in a good stable financial position with reserves of cash for anything which may arise and require attention such as building maintenance.

“Closure of Bainsford Parish Church could be catastrophic for the already seriously deprived Bainsford and Langlees community, reducing kids’ and elderly people’s access to church and to youth work.”

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “Falkirk Presbytery is committed to ensuring that the Church of Scotland has well equipped spaces in the right places to meet 21st century needs.

“Bainsford Parish Church is one of five church buildings within two miles of the centre of Falkirk and discussions about its future have been in train for many years.

“The building is included in the Presbytery Plan which is being discussed at a presbytery meeting on October 6. At the heart of the decision-making process is the desire to see a sustainable, growing, future Christian presence for the Church of Scotland and its effective mission and pastoral care for the people of Falkirk.”

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