Shorn of their place of worship, there was a hole at the heart of the north-east village of Fetterangus.
Placed on the market and looking likely to be converted in housing despite a concerted effort to purchase the building there was dismay over its future.
Over the past seven years, however, Mintlaw Community Church (MCC) has begun to fill that hole and now it has emerged it will also bring new life to Fetterangus Church.
The congregation have successfully persuaded the its owner to sell the building to them and it will now become their first full-time home.
For Pastor Stuart Watt and his family – who returned to the Buchan area seven years ago to found the church – it will end months of uncertainty and ensure both the building and MCC have bright futures.
The congregation has grown significantly since it started and has become a vibrant and significant part of local life as well as spawning a second service in the village of New Pitsligo.
But with that growth has come problems, space one of the most significant, and with little room for weekly groups the congregation began to raise funds to purchase their own building.
Members looked to step in when Fetterangus Church was listed for sale in April 2018, but despite their bid it went to a developer who had hoped to convert it into accommodation.
Pastor Watt said: “We were really sad when we were unsuccessful with the bid but, long story short, we subsequently approached the developer who confessed he had taken on a lot at one time.
“We had raised the funds, mostly in-house to buy the property, and were able to raise a bit more capital on top of that.
“Now, we’ve bought it from him. It was the right thing at the right time for both of us.”
Mr Watt added: “For the metropolis of Fetterangus, the church closing had the knock-on effect of people losing their local place of worship, losing the place they may have wished to be buried in.
“There’s endless connections and people didn’t appreciate these until they were gone.
“So in buying the building we’ve saved them from the loss of their church.”
The acquisition of the kirk is not going to affect the services the MCC holds in Mintlaw and New Pitsligo each Sunday but will serve as a hall to facilitate the needs of the wider church family and the local community.
Mr Watt said: “We are delighted to have finally secured a building and excited to be able to begin initiatives for the benefit of the local community, which would have been almost impossible before.
“The building does need modernising. We’re hoping to raise around £100,000 to build an extension to add toilets and make it fully accessible for everyone.”
Anyone interested in helping with the fundraising efforts can contact the group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.