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Kirk explains why East Church in Inverness is now for sale

By Neil MacPhail

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Inverness East Church of Scotland.
Inverness East Church of Scotland.

The Church of Scotland has explained further the reasons behind the closure and sale of the East Church in Inverness as well as others across Scotland.

The East Church in Academy Street has now joined Inverness's Old High Church on the market place.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We recognise that the historic East Church has meaning and value to the local community, many of whom will have family connections to the church and will be sad to see it close.

"However, Inverness Presbytery, in common with all Presbyteries, is in the process of developing a mission plan which will ensure it continues to serve the people of the city and wider area by making the best use of its limited resources with well-equipped spaces in the right places to effectively deliver Jesus’ call to mission and discipleship.

“The union between East Church and Inshes Church in Inverness, which draws on the strong relational and theological ties between the two congregations, will allow them to grow stronger together and combine resources to create new opportunities for service and mission in the east of Inverness, which continues to grow as new housing developments are completed, as well as support those who work and study in the area.”

The East Church, a substantial B-listed building that is almost 200 years old, is up for sale at offers over £230,000 along with the adjoining church hall.

The iconic Old High is for sale at £150,000, and now local group the Friends of the Old High are determined to raise the money so that it can be retained as a community asset.

It has amazing historic links to St Columba, the Battle of Culloden, the Highland regiments and in more recent years, the globally popular historic drama series Outlander.

The group believes it has potential as a hub for multi-cultural entertainment, educational, social and tourism activity.

Friends secretary Jean Slater said: “We are looking for people who are really interested to back us in transforming the Old High into a non-profit venue but at the same time keeping the integrity of the church and the building with its links to St Columba, Culloden, the Tartan Pimpernel Donald Caskie, the Cameron Highlanders and Outlander.

“It is a hugely popular building and visitor attraction and it must be preserved with a useful function in keeping with its great history.”

The sales brochure says the East Church has been well maintained throughout and adds: "The interior comprises a spectacular sanctuary, offices, two kitchens, toilets, meeting rooms together with a large meeting hall."

The schedule also suggests possible future uses: "In addition to its current use it could be a day nursery, day centre, educational establishment, museum or public library without the necessity of obtaining planning permission for change of use.

"The property may be suitable for redevelopment for residential use subject to the necessary consents being obtained."

Prospective purchasers must contact the Church of Scotland Law Department in Edinburgh.

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