A HISTORIC church in Gourock is to close down after running out of funds, it has been revealed.

St Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, which sits on the hillside at Barrhill Road, is a much loved landmark in the town but will be winding down with a final service in the summer.

The close-knit congregation spoke about the sadness they feel as they lose their long-standing place of worship.

They say that the dwindling number of members and the impact of the pandemic have left no way back.

Now after 160 years St Bartholomew's will hold its last service on in July.

Angela McLean, one of the leading members of the church, said: "We will lock the door on July 2 and then hand the keys to the bishop.

"Then it is up to the diocese what happens after that.

"It is very sad.

"We are a small congregation and tried many things over the years but I think we all came back after Covid and we'd lost members of the congregation, have all got older and are no longer fit enough to keep going.

"Everything caught up with us.

"We have no funds left, it is as simple and as sad as that and the decision was taken by the Episcopal Church.

"What happens next is out of our hands, we don't know what will happen to the building.

"We all feel so sad about it."

A recent visit from the Bishop of Glasgow and Paisley, Kevin Pearson, took place and he then went to the Synod seeking permission to close the church.

The separate church hall in Binnie Lane was sold off previously after falling into disrepair and is now earmarked for a luxury housing development.

Alan Jubber, 94, and his late wife Iris were devoted members of the church, donating one of its beautiful stained glass windows.

Alan said: "I came to Gourock when my dad worked in the Torpedo Factory.

"I married my wife here, she wanted to come to St Bartholomew's - that was in 1957 and we've stayed every since.

"The church has such a history, we will all miss it very much."

Friend and fellow member Margaret Hopkins added: "I have been a part of St Bartholomew's my whole life, I was christened here, married here and my daughter got married here.

"All our memories are wrapped up in here and I will miss it terribly."

St Bartholomew's was once open every single day and a key pillar in the community.

Jane Andrew, who moved to Gourock 17 years ago, said: "The first time I came I found friendship here and I came back ever since.

"They made me and my family so welcome."

Fellow member Jean Dalrymple added: "We always welcomed people with open arms and make sure everyone feels like they belong."

In keeping with the Episcopalian design and architecture, St Bart's has a beautiful altar and relics.

Angela told the Greenock Telegraph: "We don't know what will happen to the artefacts, but we think the McLean Museum may take some.

"It is an absolutely beautiful church."

In recent years St Bartholomew's has relied on two preachers for its Sunday services and even after Covid they managed to reopen.

The remaining members of the congregation will now each make a personal decision about where they choose to worship from now on.

The Episcopal Church in Gourock emerged from a growing number of people moving to the town from the mid-1800s onwards, particularly from England.

A congregation was first formed in 1855 and by 1862 the church building had opened.