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SCIO to be set up to take forward community acquisition of St Callan's Church, Rogart

By Caroline McMorran

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A NEW organisation is being set up to take forward the community acquisition of Rogart's B-listed St Callan's Church.

Rogart Community Council chairman Frank Roach told members at their meeting earlier this month that he had started working on setting up a Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO).

Frank Roach, inset, is setting up an SCIO to progress the community purchase of St Callan's.
Frank Roach, inset, is setting up an SCIO to progress the community purchase of St Callan's.

“This will be a constituted body that will be able to negotiate with the Church of Scotland to acquire the building for the community,” he said.


Rogart community considers staking an interest in historic St Callan's church before it gets "flogged off"

Community acquisition of Rogart church would see vestry tribute to well-known local historian

OBITUARY: John Macdonald, Rogart

St Callans is one of a number of churches in Sutherland set to be put on the market by the Church of Scotland following a review of its buildings across the country.

The Rogart community is keen to keep the church, with the vestry being turned into an archive in honour of local author and historian, John Macdonald of Little Rogart, who died in December.

Mr Roach, who is also treasurer of St Callan's said: “John Macdonald’s archive is already in there – boxes and boxes of paper.”

He added that another argument in favour of the community taking over the building was that it was a designated safe place for pupils and staff of nearby Rogart Primary School to seek refuge in in the event of a “terrorist or similar type of attack”.

Mr Roach said that the sale of St Callans had had an impact beyond Rogart with people living further afield expressing a desire for it be retained as somewhere they could go and visit.

He added that there was a "debate to be had" about what the purchase price of the building should be, and that research was being carried out into how the church was funded and built and also where the money came from for a refurbishment that took place in 1996.

"There is a moral argument to say that we should get this for very little," he said.

Mr Roach also said that the Church of Scotland was assuming that some £300,000 belonging to the St Callan's congregation would be transferred to the new 'super parish' structure being put in place - a union of Clyne, Golspie, Kildonan, Loth and Rogart.

"We have to make the case for retaining these funds", he told the meeting.

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