Old church building decommissioned

End of an era . . . Lumsden Balfour Presbyterian minister Mike Kirkby-Sing and Southern Presbytery moderator Anne Thomson shut the doors of the church building on Sunday after it was decommissioned as a place of worship. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Another step has been taken towards the building of a new Presbyterian worship centre in Lumsden.

A decommissioning service for the town’s present Presbyterian church building was held on Sunday.

The building, which was built in 1891 at a cost of about £400, had been part of the Lumsden-Balfour parish but has now been sold.

Congregation members plan to build a new facility on the site once the building has been removed.

Church minister Mike Kirkby-Sing said many people in the congregation had attended significant events in their lives in the building.

Some people had been baptised, married or farewelled family members there, he said.

‘‘As we remember all the things that have happened here, there will be a mixture of emotions — some happiness and also some sadness.”

About 80 people attended the service.

Southern Presbytery moderator Anne Thomson spoke at the service.

The building had been a centre of Christian service and witness in the town, Mrs Thomson said.

“Now the time has come for the congregation to leave this building and move on, as God is leading you into the future. We know the worship and witness will continue but not in this space.”

After the service, Mr Kirkby-Sing said the congregation was already holding services in the church hall.

“We look forward to the new thing that is going to be here.”

The new facility was still in the planning stages.

He was not sure when the former church would be removed, he said.

“It could be next year.”

Earlier in the year, a petition was launched to save the 14 Lawson cypress trees planted in the church grounds.

The trees, which were estimated to be about 130 years old, needed to be removed to allow the building to be taken off the site.

About 400 people signed the petition.

It had been a hard decision to sell the church but ongoing maintenance costs meant it was impractical to keep the building, Mr Kirkby-Sing said at the time.