The first pews in a Tayside kirk have been taken out as the congregation prepares for sweeping changes to its landmark town centre home.
Worshippers at Carnoustie Church are looking to raise around £750,000 to transform the more than 100-year-old building into a flexible community space and base for religious services.
The changes will free up the church’s hall which, after being used for services during the renovation period, will be sold to generate funds for the modernisation project.
As well as removing the pews, soundproofed meeting spaces, a kitchen, underfloor heating and modern audio-visual equipment will all feature in the fully-refurbished space.
Irene Hoar, session clerk, said they hoped to keep those community organisations already using the hall, as well as attract others, including those looking for a suitable space for conferences.
She said she was aware the scale of the changes may surprise some.
She said: “We’ve taken some pews out of the aisle. They were bought within a fortnight of them being taken out.
“There has always been a thing about pews, but when you think about it they are stuck in place. People have to be open to change. The world is changing and the church needs to change.
“We are not asking anyone to worship in a different place, but in a different way.”
The team behind the plan is holding an open meeting for the community on Friday, November 8 in the church on Dundee Rd at 7pm.
The church will be open in the afternoon from 3pm to allow time for people to look around, see the plans and speak to members of the project team.
Irene said churches across Scotland are having to find new ways to operate.
“Financially, we can’t afford to keep two buildings running as it is costly. There are repairs needed to both buildings. Congregation numbers are dropping so our income is not increasing.
“What we are creating is a well-equipped space in the best place. The Church of Scotland is undergoing a huge change and they are looking at all their buildings, though we have been planning this for some time.”
She said the congregation were now starting to raise funds to finance the changes, which should take around nine months to complete once the money is in place.
“I would like to see it finished by next Christmas, but that may be optimistic,” she added.
The church first opened for worship 1902 after replacing the Old Parish Church on the opposite side of the main street.