High Kirk on Dundee Law is “99% likely” to close.
Dundee Presbytery clerk, the Rev. James Wilson confirmed that the church on The Law has balloted its members on whether or not the church should close down.
He said it was “likely to be the case”, saying that dwindling membership numbers were the cause.
Officially known as St David’s High Kirk, the Gothic church sits on Kinghorne Road on the slopes of Dundee Law.
Its prominence is further heightened by being raised above street level, with a flight of steps leading to the front door which faces south over the city.
When first built in the late 1870’s it was close to the mouth of the tunnel carved through The Law as part of the Dundee and Newtyle Railway.
The Rev. Wilson said: “A lot of businesses have indicated how terrible Covid-19 has been for them and have blamed Covid-19 for all their ills.
“But for many of them, they were struggling already.
“In terms of the church, the General Assembly report that has come out indicated that Dundee Presbytery will see a reduction. That’s nothing to do with Covid. That’s been coming for years, 30-years at least.
“The broader picture is one that counts against the church anyway. The population is also ageing, and the last two generations have not been as interested in the Church as we would have liked.”
The National Records of Scotland figures show 49,863 births were registered in 2019, down 1,445 on the previous year. It is the lowest level since 1855.
Papers prepared for the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly last year showed congregations across Scotland were dropping by around 4% a year.
Rev. Wilson continued: “So there’s been a long term decline, which we’ve tried to manage, but not very well. So membership loss is a big one. We’re down to 302,000 members of the Church of Scotland.
“We were one million members around 30-years-ago.
“I’m 99% sure that High Kirk will no longer be used for worship, beyond de-commissioning. But it’s future is not in worship.”
Three churches in Broughty Ferry will also be merging due to declining membership numbers – St Luke’s and Queen Street, the Broughty Ferry New Kirk and Broughty Ferry St James.
Rev. Wilson said that a decision had not yet been taken on which church building would be used.