Lunna for Sale

This is Lunna Kirk on Shetland, one of the islands' oldest, and possibly, most charming, places of worship. It belongs to the Kirk, otherwise known as the Church of Scotland, the nation’s state Presbyterian Church. The leaders of the Kirk are planning to sell it off this year or next. It is part of a whole raft of planned sales, including the churches at Weisdale, Sullom, Bigton, Fair Isle, Quarff, Sand and Fetlar. If this is not cause for concern, bear in mind they also announced twenty closures back in 2018.

Shetland’s local press reports such closures with interest. Is this decline a response to population changes? Folk today prefer to live in towns, not crofts and remote farms. Or might it be due to financial pressures? Several Kirk clergy have been interviewed who seek to put a brave face on their church’s decline:

"We are facing a crisis in the church, and we've got to trim back," said Rev Ian Murray, the Kirk’s ‘assessor’ for Shetland.

The lack of money, however, is a symptom of the problem, not the root cause. The denomination’s slide into insipid liberalism led to its sister church, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, severing ties with it back in 2018. When the Church becomes a pale imitation of the state, espousing the same values, advocating the same ideology, the population sees no need to engage with it. The real gospel offers an alternative world view, a radical departure from prevailing worldly norms. Expect more churches to close, as the Spirit of Truth finally completes His withdrawal from the Scottish Kirk, much as the Kirk has completed its departure from His word. The denomination's Burning Bush motif is more a smouldering wick, a weak glow from a pile of damp ashes, blowing away in the wind.

In the meantime, there are some fabulous properties for sale on the Church of Scotland's website. Go grab yourself a bargain.