Comment: Polwarth gardens will be peaceful retreat

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these are times of great change in the Kirk. For sale signs are popping up outside kirks and manses as the church adjusts to the reality of falling congregations.

The great challenge for the Kirk though remains the same as it has been for many years – how does it stay relevant to people’s lives in an ever-changing world?

That is where the Reverend Jack Holt and the congregation at Polwarth Church deserve great credit for their vision.

It is easy for church buildings to become little more than part of the scenery for those who do not attend services.

Church halls can be busy places with Brownies, play groups, and so on, beating a regular path to their door.

But apart from that – and annual school harvest festivals – most people will rarely if ever set foot within their local church or grounds.

Polwarth Church stands on the doorstep of a growing and active community along the banks of the Union Canal. What better way to engage with the local community than open up the church grounds to all those walkers, joggers and cyclists who pass by every day.

The waterside gardens promise to be a place of peaceful retreat where some will find spiritual solace. Others might just find them a pleasant place to while away some time. The planned boat and moorings will open up many more possibilities.

Some of those who are welcomed in to the church ground in this way are likely to go on to become members of the church community in some way or another. Others won’t.

Either way the church will have succeeded in breaking down those invisible barriers that can all too easily grow between a kirk and its local community. And that in itself has got to be a good thing.

Well done to the Back to Work charity, Hardies Surveyors and everyone else who helped make it possible too.