TWO churches in the Three Towns are set to host their last regular Sunday services this month as part of officials' plans to unite congregations in the face of a dwindling number of worshippers.

The church buildings at the High Kirk in Stevenston and St Cuthbert's Parish Church in Saltcoats will close under the Church of Scotland's plans to rationalise its estate.

The congregation at St Cuthbert's will unite with those at Saltcoats North and at Park Church in Ardrossan to form the new Ardrossan Parish Church, with the united charge to be based at the Park Church building on the corner of Stanley Road and Dalry Road.

The basis of union was agreed by all three Kirk Sessions last month, before the congregations also gave their approval in the weeks that followed.

The unions were proposed by the Church of Scotland's former Ardrossan Presbytery, now part of the Presbytery of South West Scotland, whose planning committee approved the 'basis of union' last week.

The union will be officially formed on Monday, July 1.

It means the final Sunday service at St Cuthbert's will be held at 10.45am on Sunday, June 30.



Interim moderator Andrew Black commented: "I know that there are strong emotions within you as you face the sad consequence of losing your beautiful Church building, a place that has played such a vital part in those important stages of life.

"I pray that amid all the hurt, disappointment and turmoil being felt, we will find the strength to continue to follow Jesus and so continue his ministry to your community and beyond."

The North Parish church building has already closed, with a final service held back in November.

Sunday, June 30 will also see the final service in the current High Kirk building in Stevenston, beginning at 10.30am.

The High Kirk congregation is to unite with Livingstone Parish Church and Ardeer Parish Church.

However, that union will not officially take effect until August 1, when the Rev Scott Cameron, minister at the High Kirk, demits his post. 

The presbytery has also agreed a month of shared worship at Livingstone Parish Church in New Street until the union is officially formed.