IT has welcomed generations of Bankies, been witness to their lives from beginning to end, and been at the centre of support for the local community – but now a much-loved Duntocher church faces an uncertain future.

Members of the congregation at Duntocher Trinity Church were in tears as it was announced that their church is one of a number of Church of Scotland buildings that could be closed as part of a mission plan being developed by Clyde Presbytery.

The Post previously reported that another Clydebank congregation – Kilbowie St Andrew’s Parish Church – is also on a mission to keep their building open after it was revealed they too have been earmarked for closure.

A member of Duntocher Trinity Church told the Post that the impact of closing the building would be “massive”.

They said: “I was brought up in Duntocher. I was christened and married here. I was a member of the Girls Life Brigade, Youth Fellowship, I was a Sunday school teacher, and the list goes on.

“I am 70 this year and I came to the church when I was three years old. It’s been part of my life all throughout.

“We don’t have a huge congregation but it is a very enthusiastic one. What we have here is really special and we want to keep our church open.

“This is more like a community and the impact on the area will be massive. We need to fight as much as we can to keep it open.”

Members of the Duntocher Trinity congregation are also central to the annual Remembrance Sunday commemoration at the war memorial in Goldenhill Park, next door to the church.

A draft plan drawn up by Clyde Presbytery - the Church of Scotland administrative area which oversees all the congregations on both sides of the lower River Clyde - suggests the possible closure of the church but that a formal decision is yet to be made.

The plans have been drawn up in a bid to address the steady fall in the number of people attending Church of Scotland services, and the rising cost of mantaining the large number of buildings.

A Clyde Presbytery spokesperson said: “The draft Presbytery plan does indicate the possible closure of Duntocher church, but Presbytery has yet to make a formal decision with regard to that.

“All parties will have an opportunity to present their case before Presbytery before it comes to any decision.

“Sadly, in a time of general church decline, we have too many buildings and need to reprioritise the resources of the Church for mission.

“Should any such decision be taken the congregation will be assisted towards the process of union with other neighbouring churches and the Church of Scotland will continue to serve the parish via new expanded charge.”

The news was announced at Duntocher Trinity at the beginning of one of its services in November.

Several members of the congregation left briefly as they were “in tears when they heard the news”.

A second member of the congregation added: “We found out at church. We were told at the beginning of the service, and I never heard a word after that. I couldn’t concentrate.

“Another member of the congregation commented that I looked really upset - and I was. Several people went out, and they were in tears when they heard the news.

“They just feel it’s a part of their lives. It always has been. It’s their community - it’s where they come to at the age we all are now.

“If that goes, what do we have? We need the community at the church.”

Despite the building itself not requiring much work, members explained they are aware that they are at a “slight disadvantage” due to the church not having a food bank or running many clubs.

However, the congregation has since appealed the proposals and is determined to keep their community hub open, saying they are “not just a number” and fear the devastation permanent closure would have.

A decision on the representations made by each closure-threatened church will be announced in February.

The Post's source continued: “We do realise that we are at a slight disadvantage in that we don’t have a food bank and we don’t run a lot of clubs – but that’s not to say these things couldn’t start up again.

“We’re all very, very aware of the fact that some churches will have to close. But it’s all very well sitting in a room in Edinburgh and looking at the numbers when you’re not living here.

“They aren’t here in the community. They don’t know the devastation this is going to cause to the community in this area.

“They’re just sitting looking at the numbers, but we’re not just a number.

"Churches everywhere are struggling. That is a problem, and we know that, but it is going to be a massive loss to this area.”

Local politicians have rallied behind the church’s efforts and support their fight to keep the building open.

Martin Docherty-Hughes, West Dunbartonshire’s MP, said: “It’s difficult to hear the Clyde Presbytery is having to consider closing so many local churches. These aren’t just places of worship - they’re hubs of our communities.

“I hope that the community served by the Trinity Church will rally to its aid and ensure it can continue to play such an important role locally.

“I fully support the congregations in their efforts to save this building from closure.”

Douglas McAllister, West Dunbartonshire’s Provost and a local councillor for the Kilpatrick ward, where Duntocher Trinity is located, added: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of the scale of the Church of Scotland’s proposals for potentially closing a number of local churches in Clydebank. 

“I appreciate that with declining congregations every church and faith group across the country must consider change, and the Clyde Presbytery of the Church of Scotland is no different. 

“I understand that the proposed new mission plan includes a number of churches in Clydebank closing. However, I fully support the congregation of Duntocher Trinity Church with their aim to persuade the Clyde Presbytery that Duntocher Trinity should survive. 

“We cannot have the community of Duntocher and Hardgate without a Church of Scotland. The church building itself is a beautiful church in the heart of Duntocher and Hardgate.  

"I have a great fondness for Duntocher Trinity and the Guild. They do great work in our community beyond just the business of the church, and the Guild is perhaps the largest Guild in Clydebank. 

“I will fully support them in their attempts to save the church and the building because I am certain that Duntocher Trinity Church is much needed and remains relevant as a source of spiritual guidance and support to our residents.

“It is essential that Duntocher Trinity Church continues to exist in some form within Duntocher and Hardgate.”

Marie McNair, Clydebank’s MSP, commented: “I am disappointed that the Duntocher Trinity Church is being considered for closure. I am pleased that there is an appeals process in place and that the church have appealed.

“I hope the church is successful in their appeal and I am confident that they have made a really strong case.

“The closure of the church would be a real loss to the local community and I hope that this can be avoided.”