Two north-east churches have joined forces to appeal for a new minister after waiting 15 years for someone to take up the post permanently.
Crimond and Lonmay churches have been relying on retired and un-ordained stand-ins to conduct services, but locums are not permitted to perform marriages, communion or christenings
Now the two congregations have placed a joint advert in the Church of Scotland’s Life and Work magazine in the hope of attracting a newly-ordained minister to the north-east.
Last night, a spokesman said having someone permanently at the helm would show faith in the strength of the small village communities.
“Lonmay is just out in the country, but the congregation that does come is very good,” he added.
“We have maybe a slightly older age bracket now than maybe 40 years ago, but we’re quite an able church. We don’t need any help from Edinburgh or anything like that, we can still manage for money.
“We support one another, but the fact that we’re not in the central belt is one of the problems.”
The spokesman insisted that closure was “not an option” for either of the churches.
“In the past, churches that have gone half of this time with a vacancy have just packed in, but Crimond and Lonmay have carried on,” he said.
“It’s not an option to close either of the churches.”
Congregations in the Church of Scotland are responsible for attracting their own ministers.
However, last night the Kirk’s principal clerk, George Whyte, said help may be at hand for worshippers in communities such as Crimond and Lonmay in the form of a major recruitment drive.
“We know there are many congregations without a minister and we know that it is never easy to work without a minister in post,” he added.
“The real answer is to find more ministers. To that end the Church will shortly be launching a major recruitment initiative.”
In nearby Peterhead, the Church of Scotland is currently considering merging three of its churches to bring the congregations together. Under the proposals a new church could be built in the town.