179 years on.. The bell falls silent

 

Queen Victoria was just 20, the first commercial electric telegraph line came into use and Ireland was hit by the worst cyclone in 300 years. It was 1838, and the Douglas Family (the then Laird of Glenfinart) had commissioned a small church on the banks of Loch Long. 

Last weekend Ardentinny Church held its final service, a celebration of Harvest Thanksgiving, closing its doors some 179 years after its opening. Ardentinny’s unique little church seated approximately 100 and was one of the Church of Scotland’s three ‘Shore churches’, the others being Kilmun and Strone. The decision to close it came as a surprise to many.

When asked to comment on the closure, a spokesperson from Church of Scotland said:

“The Church of Scotland manages one of the country’s largest property portfolios comprising over 5,000 properties. These include churches, manses, halls and houses as well as a large number of care services and a variety of other buildings.

We have had an excess of church buildings since the 1920s and must continually assess our need for these properties to ensure a prudent use of charity assets, particularly when they may no longer be in suitable locations.

Following the closure of Ardentinny Church and the proposed closure of Kilmun Church, the Kirk Session, Presbytery of Argyll and General Trustees of the Church of Scotland will work together to decide on the future of the two buildings.”

During the final service which the Rev. Joseph Stewart and his congregation kindly agreed for us to film, Reverend Stewart said that this was a celebration, not only of Harvest Time but a celebration of the saintly souls who had worshipped in this sanctuary over the years, leaving their spiritual imprint and example for those who came behind them. The congregation was also encouraged to work together to ensure that there is a future for The Church on ‘The Shore’

Please feel free to share your thoughts and/or memories of Ardentinny Church via comments below or on our Facebook page

With thanks to The Rev. Joseph Stewart and the congregation of Ardentinny Church. 

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