ONE of Alloa's oldest churches has announced that the Congregation will be dissolved, owing to a steady decline in numbers over the past few years.

Moncrieff United Free Church of Scotland has decided that they shall close the church, with the last service due to take place in June.

John Forrest, session clerk, explained that congregation numbers have waned in recent years and that it is no longer practical to continue operating.

He said: "It's been in decline for some time and when everything was taken into consideration, the congregation decided that there was not a lot of point continuing.

"We had only a very small number and we also had no prospect of calling a minister so we decided that we were as well dissolving to allow our members to join different congregations around the area.

"It's a very sad decision – a lot of us will be pretty unhappy about it but we reckoned it was the pragmatic thing to do."

John explained that regular attendees at the Church was around 12-14, whilst the full congregation sat at around 30.

Moncrieff has been without a permanent minister since December 2021, when residing minister Reverend Jason Lingiah left the church after four years of service.

Since then, services at Moncrieff have been presided over by visiting ministers of the Presbytery; however, this would have been seen as a temporary solution before a permanent minister could be appointed.

John continued: "The charge was dissolved which meant we didn't get a permanent minister. And left to our own devices, we wouldn't have managed to sustain the salary of a minister.

"We sold the Manse at the Church which secured some funding for us, but without a minister to continue the church, the funds didn't mean much.

"There's a couple of options for members to go in place of Moncrieff – there is the Sauchie UF Church and the Menstrie UF Church where people can go.

"There is also the Alloa Ludgate Church, which has kindly taken up our Boy's Brigade group which needs a church to continue."

Moncrieff plans on having their final service of worship on Sunday, June 18. John hopes to attract a large turnout from the community who may have been part of the church in the past.

"I was baptised in Moncrieff, I was brought up in Moncrieff," John added. "There's a lot of history attached to the church.

"We hope there are people in the area with connections to the church who might look fondly on their time at Moncrieff who might want to come along to the final service."