Church meger

TWO church congregations will be merging together as one minister retires and the other takes charge.

After 33 years as minister of Battlefield East church, the Rev Alan Raeburn will take his final service on June 13.

On the same day, Mount Florida church will host its last service.

It will then join Battlefield East to become Clincarthill church under the leadership of the Rev Mike Gargrave.

The service of union will take place on Wednesday, June 16 at 7pm.

Mr Raeburn, who will be 65 on Saturday, told The

Extra: "I am looking forward to my retirement and spending time with my two grandchildren Katie (6) and Rebecca (4).

"It will be a big wrench to leave the congregation and all of the many friends I've made since being here for over 33 years.

"It will also be extremely difficult for my wife Dorothy (64) who has been extremely active in the church — being involved in the guild, editor of the church magazine and co-ordinator of the youth group".

The father-of-two, who was educated at Hutchesons' grammar, will move to Straven when he retires to be closer to his family.

He added: "I love gardening and will now have more time to be out doing it. I will keep in touch with my friends here and am glad to be leaving them in the safe hands of Mike".

The Rev Mike Gargrave has been minister at 140-year-old Mount Florida church — only one street away from Battlefield East – for 18 months.

Originally from Edinburgh, Mr Gargrave worked in the housing industry before he entered the ministry at the age of 45.

The 52-year-old told The Extra: "He will be missed by all.

"He and Dorothy have given my wife Mary and I so much support since we came here.

"He is well-known and loved in the community and we wish them both a happy and peaceful future.

"Clincarthill is the name of the historic hill both churches are on — which is why we picked it.

"I hope to continue the rich tradition of Christian worship.

"Although the congregations of Mount Florida and Battlefield have come to an end of one chapter, our story as Clincarthill is just beginning".

Clincarthill will have the first Sunday service at 11am on June 20.