MEMBERS of Johnstone High Parish Church's congregation have shared their concerns over plans to close the building as a place of worship.

We previously reported how, under cost-cutting plans, parishioners face having to travel to St Paul's Church, in Quarrelton Road, which will also house the congregation of St Andrew's Trinity.

It is expected that the Johnstone merger will take place sometime in 2026.

Local resident Raymond Anderson said the congregation of Johnstone High Parish Church, in Ludovic Square, could "not see the reasoning" behind the decision.

The 71-year-old told The Gazette: "We are disappointed as we are a vibrant church that is well attended, with a multicultural congregation and a sizeable amount of youth within our congregation, organisations and Sunday School.

"We have a regular attendance of over 100 people every week and have always paid our way.

"Our church works with organisations such as the Johnstone Business Consortium, particularly during the Christmas season, with the church playing a large part in helping needy families."

Fellow congregation member Margaret Whyte said it would be a "big loss" for Johnstone if the church closed.

She added: "The whole of Thorn Primary comes down for the annual Christmas service and at Easter as well.

"It's not an option for them to go to St Paul's instead, as it's too far for them all to walk there.

The Gazette:

"This is concerning as children are the life of the church and essential for whether churches will keep going in the future."

Joe Graham, who has been a member of Johnstone High Parish Church's congregation for over 40 years, highlighted the role that the building plays outwith the festive holidays.

The 64-year-old said: "For me, it's not just about Christmas and Easter, but what we would lose throughout the full year.

"People have been brought up with weddings, funerals and christenings at the High Parish church, which has a massive history going back to 1792.

"Anybody coming to the church would see that it's actually increasing in numbers and, as a Christian, it's a spiritual place to go to every week."

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: "Clyde Presbytery, like our other presbyteries throughout Scotland, produced a five-year Mission Plan to allocate limited resources to parishes and congregations to ensure well-equipped spaces are in the right places to effectively deliver Jesus' call to mission and discipleship and to continue to serve our communities.

"The Church has four buildings in Johnstone and under the Mission Plan proposals, the Johnstone High Church building sanctuary would cease to be a place of worship, but its halls will be kept in use to allow for a missional presence to be retained within the heart of the town.

"The St Paul's Church building in Johnstone will also be retained, as it is deemed more suitable for the demands of a modern worshipping congregation and more economical to maintain, with the congregations of Johnstone High, St Paul's and St Andrew's Trinity forming a three-way union.

"However, the proposals for Johnstone High Church are currently under review by the national church at the request of the congregation and no final decision will be taken until the review process is complete.

"If the Mission Plan is approved, Johnstone High is not expected to close until 2026 at the earliest and will remain open as a place of worship until then."