St Giles Church is one of the most prominent landmarks in Elgin and news it is closing has caught the attention of many.
The Church of Scotland says the move is part of a process of recognising it has to reduce the number of buildings it owns.
Plans have been approved that will mean St Giles Church in Elgin will cease to be a place of worship at some point over the next four years – and will be “disposed of” by August 2027.
Elgin High is in the same situation while St Gerardine’s in Lossiemouth and Burghead and Alves churches will also close on December 31 this year while Pluscarden and Birnie have already shut.
The fate of St Giles though could have consequences for the whole of Elgin due to its unique place in the heart of the High Street as one of the town’s most prominent landmarks.
Social media users have been having their say on the future of the building, you can have your say in the comments below.
What could St Giles Church in Elgin become?
The current St Giles Church was built in the 1820s and is an A-listed building but places of worship have been on the site since the 12th Century.
It is one of the most prominent buildings in the town centre with red pillars supporting an ornate balcony inside.
And there has been no shortage of ideas on social media for what it could be used for in the future.
Andrew Mulholland wrote: “Can the community not buy it like the town hall? It would be ideal for indoor markets and community events.”
Andrew makes a good suggestion, but worth clarifying Moray Council still owns Elgin Town Hall and lease it to a community-run group.
Richard Cumming posted: “An alternative to the community centre?”
Auds Graham replied: “Yeah, bring the community back into the High Street too. Only problem for many groups would be parking though.”
Jake Kelly wrote: “Save time and a lot of heartache. Demolish the steeple part, enlarge and turn the building into an indoor market same as Inverness.
“Bring back short-term parking on one side and maybe the High Street would regenerate itself?”
Several have suggested the space could make an ideal venue for gigs or shows.
Steve Christie warned the steeple could pose a problem for anyone wanting to take it over.
He wrote: “Like many old churches these create a headache for owners as insurers generally don’t like steeples and charge handsomely to cover them for insurance purposes.
“As for potential use could the building be used in such a way to enhance the town centre experience including the evening economy?”
Closing churches a sign of the times?
News St Giles Church in Elgin was closing was confirmed by the Church of Scotland as one of seven across the former Moray Presbytery.
Many more are being shut across the country as the organisation looks to balance its books amidst falling congregation numbers.
Some social media users have comment on the changing times for the prominent buildings.
Stephen Forsyth said: “Churches and banks now closing everywhere.
“The buildings (are) mostly very elaborate. It just shows how much power and control these institutions held over ordinary people a few generations ago.”
Richard Colvin wrote: “Too many churches for today’s dwindling congregations. I’d hate to see the buildings left to decay though. Need to find a new purpose in life.”
Christopher Bell quoted a statistic from a BBC article in 2017 about a survey released by the Humanist Society Scotland.
He posted: “72.4% of people in Scotland are non-religious. There’s really no need to have 14 churches in a town like Elgin.”