Around seventy members of the local community heard that despite previous denials by the Church of Scotland (COS) that there was ever any plans to sell Stothert Memorial Church and / or the manse in Lumphanan, both were now officially for sale.
Dr Alison Carroll addressed the meeting in the village hall on behalf of Lumphanan Heritage Society which was a joint meeting of the Heritage Society and Lumphanan Community Council
She said there had been a lack of response and “uncooperative behaviour” from the church, and also Mid Deeside Presbytery, who have since sent a legal letter saying they will not answer any correspondence from the Heritage Society and in future all correspondence should be sent direct to COS Edinburgh.
Dr Carroll said the point of meeting was to see if the local community still supported efforts to secure the church and to see if there was support to change Heritage Society to a “Community Interest Body” in order to pursue purchase of church.
There was unanimous support on both matters and all members of Heritage Society are to receive letters outlining the changes.
Dr Carroll said the sole interest was in the church building, which is available separately and was of less value than the manse.
The meeting heard that funding sources for the purchase were being investigated and that the community would be looking for donations by way of trades’ skills such as from joiners or plumbers who could volunteer their labour.
It was agreed that a register should be set up where community members can sign up to donate their skills and that the community group would be interested in hearing of any further fundraising ideas.
Dr Carroll said it was heartening to see so many people turn out for the meeting and also to know that the efforts of the Heritage Society and the Community Council had the continued backing of the community.