view of Troon looking over Italian Gardens from Titchfield Road car park

About Church Union

The Presbytery Plan

In 2021, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decided to take radical action in response to falling numbers of ministers, a decline in membership and a drop in income both nationally and locally.  Presbyteries were required to produce a five-year mission plan to ensure congregations are properly equipped to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to serve their communities for the coming decades.

In this area, the Presbytery Mission Plan specifies:

Map of central Troon illustrating Presbytery Plan
  • The three formerly separate congregations of Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old will unite to form one new Troon Church.
  • The new church will be served by a ministry team built around two full-time ministers.
  • Portland and St Meddan’s sanctuaries* are to be retained for worship.
  • Troon Old sanctuary* is to close for worship.
  • Three sets of halls are required for mission (see Q&A).
  • The future of Troon Old halls is subject to a feasibility study (see Q&A).
  • There should be provision for a “Local Mission Church” in north east Troon.

Our Vision for Troon

The new Troon Church of Scotland will serve the whole town of Troon, aiming to fulfil the Five Marks of Mission…

The mission of the Church is the mission of Christ:

  1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  3. To respond to human need by loving service
  4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
  5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Troon Church of Scotland will be served by a ministry team comprising two full-time Ministers of Word and Sacrament, an Ordained Local Minister (when available), and a locally-funded children/youth/family worker.

Congregational life will continue to centre on Sunday morning worship.  Beyond that, the availability of two full-time ministers and well-equipped, flexible, spaces will enable new patterns of worship and opportunities for fellowship and discipleship to be offered, while maintaining pastoral care, chaplaincies and long-established relationships with local groups and organisations.

Led by the ministry team, the congregation will explore fresh expressions of church life and other forms of outreach and service to the community.  God willing, we will share the good news of God’s love in word and action, touching lives and making a difference in Troon and beyond.

Progress Towards Union

Church union is a complex and lengthy process.  On the legal side of things, church law requires a document called the “Basis of Union” to be prepared and approved; other formalities are required to comply with charity law.  Practically, there are many, many aspects of everyday church life which must be merged.  And, emotionally, members face the challenge of adapting to a changing congregational community.

– Update 10 Mar 2024 –

All three congregations vote to approve the Basis of Union.

Update from Session Clerks

Portland Parish Church
St Meddan's Church
Troon Old Parish Church

24 March 2024

The draft Basis of Union was accepted by you, the congregations of Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old Parish Churches, and the result of the vote has been noted as:

Approving the Basis of UnionNot approving the Basis of UnionAbstention
Troon Old86151
Portland874
St Meddan’s1015

Presbytery now need to approve the Basis of Union and send a signed extract of the decision to the Church of Scotland Law department and to the Stewardship and Finance Department. This includes a copy of the approved Basis of Union.

To do this, the Presbytery Planning Committee will remit the decision to Presbytery’s Business & Nomination Committee, who will meet to finally approve the Basis of Union. The congregations will be cited to attend this meeting.

Please note that Presbytery must ensure that all unions and name changes are notified to the Law Department at least 49 days in advance of the union (Charity law requirement).

Bearing this in mind, a realistic date for the union to take place, will be July 1st, 2024, with a “final” worship service (as Troon Old, Portland and St Meddan’s) taking place in each church on Sunday 30th June 2024.

Prepared by the Session Clerks:

John Reid

Session Clerk,
Portland Parish Church

Elaine Rodger

Session Clerk,
St Meddan’s Parish Church

Andy Fell

Session Clerk,
Troon Old Parish Church


Letter from Session Clerks

Portland Parish Church
St Meddan's Church
Troon Old Parish Church

February 2024

Dear Friend,

This year, 2024, will see major changes to the Church of Scotland in Troon.  As you will be aware, the three Churches of Scotland in Troon will unite to become one.  Our new name will be Troon Church of Scotland.  To comply with Church Law, we have been working to complete a document called the Basis of Union, that sets out how the congregations will unite.

The draft Basis of Union has been prepared by the Kirk Sessions of Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old, and Presbytery’s Planning Committee.  This draft Basis of Union has been verified by the Principal Clerk and the Law Department of the Church of Scotland, and has now been approved by all three Kirk Sessions.  It now has to be approved by the congregations, then Presbytery, before the union can officially happen.

Presbytery has agreed a date for a congregational meeting following morning worship on Sunday 10th March, which is our shared service in Troon Old.  You will be asked to accept (or reject) the Basis of Union by casting your vote in person during this congregational meeting.  The votes are counted by Presbytery and the result announced.  Assuming the vote is in favour, then we can proceed to union.

The Basis of Union can be downloaded from the Troon Church of Scotland website (see below), and we would encourage you to read it when you get a chance.  We will also send out paper or email copies of the Basis of Union to each member household in Troon.  Question and answer sessions will be held

  • Sunday 3rd March in Troon Old, after morning worship.
  • Sunday 3rd March in St Meddan’s, after morning worship.
  • Monday 4th March in Portland, 7:30pm to 8:30pm.
  • Wednesday 6th March in St Meddan’s, 1:30pm to 2:30pm.

You should be made aware that we cannot start proceedings to call Ministers until the union has officially been completed.

We continue to move forward in faith.  Please keep the church in your prayers.

John Reid

Session Clerk,
Portland Parish Church

Elaine Rodger

Session Clerk,
St Meddan’s Parish Church

Andy Fell

Session Clerk,
Troon Old Parish Church

The Basis of Union Explained

The Basis of Union is 5 pages long, consisting of a main section and three further sections that deal with specific matters:

Basis of Union (main section)

The main section of the Basis of Union on page 1 specifies key aspects of the new church, including

  • Name
  • Places of worship
  • Parish area
  • Type of governance (Kirk Session)
  • Ministry arrangements
  • Manses
Troon Churches Basis of Union page 1
click to read

Local Mission Church

The “Basis for Local Mission Church” section on page 2 makes provision for Troon Church of Scotland to have a centre of worship in the expanding neighbourhood of North East Troon.

Troon Churches Basis of Union page 2
click to read

Team Ministry

The “Basis of Team Ministry” on pages 3 to 5 defines how the proposed Team Ministry will operate.

The core of the Team Ministry will be two full-time ministers.  They will be supported by an OLM (Ordained Local Minister) and a locally-funded children/youth/family worker.

Troon Churches Basis of Union page 3
click to read

Reviewable Charge

Team Ministry is new to the Church of Scotland and Troon.  There will be regular reviews to ensure that this arrangement is meeting the needs of the parish.

The “Basis of Reviewable Charge” on page 5 explains how reviews will be conducted and sets a standard review period of five years.

Troon Churches Basis of Union page 5
click to read

Some Questions and Answers

Why are Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old Parish Churches uniting?

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This is just one part of major change happening across the whole Church of Scotland nationally.  See The Presbytery Plan above.

Do we have to form a union?

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The short answer is yes.

The decision to unite all three Church of Scotland congregations in Troon was taken by the Presbytery of Ayr in 2022 and is now an established part of the Presbytery of the South West Mission Plan.

What are we voting on?

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Your vote is to approve the Basis of Union.

The congregations of Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old Parish Churches will vote to accept or reject the Basis of Union.  Each of the three congregations has to accept the Basis of Union for it to be approved.

Who prepared the Basis of Union?

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The Kirk Sessions of Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old Parish Churches all nominated representatives to form a Church Union Group, which prepared the Basis of Union in consultation with Presbytery’s Planning Committee.

After many months of negotiation, the final draft Basis of Union was sent to Edinburgh and has been verified by the Principal Clerk and the Law Department of the Church of Scotland.

In early February 2024, all three Kirk Sessions independently voted to approve the Basis of Union.  It now has to be approved by all three congregations before a final, formal, approval by Presbytery.

Can I vote by proxy in the congregational vote?

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Unfortunately, no.

The three Kirk Sessions of Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old Parish Churches greatly value the contribution all our members make to congregational life, and understand that sometimes not everyone can attend church (which is also why we do live streaming).  Kirk Session representatives therefore requested that proxy voting be considered.

The procedure that Presbytery has adopted for these congregational votes, however, is an adaptation of the model used when a sole nominee preaches for a vacant charge, when only those present can vote.

You therefore have to vote in person on Sunday 10th March.

What if the congregations vote to reject the Basis of Union?

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If the Basis of Union is rejected by any of the congregations, then it is not approved and union cannot proceed at this time.  It will not prevent union because Presbytery has already taken that decision; it will only delay the churches’ ability to move forward to meet the needs of the congregation and community.

Note that no ministers can be called while the matter of union is unresolved.

How and when will Troon Church of Scotland be established (date of union)?

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The new Troon Church of Scotland will be come into being when Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old Parish Churches officially unite.  If the three congregations vote to accept the Basis of Union in March 2024, then it is anticipated that the date of union could be in June 2024 or September 2024.

However, there is nothing to stop the three congregations working together immediately, and an increasing number of joint activities – such as shared worship – will be informally identified as Troon Church of Scotland activities.

How will two ministers work?

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The team ministry actually has three ministers!

The two full-time Ministers of Word and Sacrament (their official title!) will have the same status and work together to meet parish needs.  The posts are essentially interchangeable, except that one minister will moderate the Kirk Session and the other will chair team ministry meetings.  It is hoped to call two ministers with complementary skill sets and gifts of ministry.

The Ordained Local Minister (OLM) is also a minister of Word and Sacrament, who gives of their personal time on an unpaid part-time basis.

When will ministers be appointed?

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Since all three existing congregations are currently vacant, it means that two new full-time ministers will need to be called.

The search for new ministers will be led by a Nominating Committee, which will be elected by the new congregation after union.  It could then be several months before suitable candidates are identified and nominees are selected.

The Ordained Local Minister (OLM) is appointed by Presbytery, subject to a suitable OLM being available and a role being clearly defined.

Which manses are being kept?

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Both of the full-time ministers will be provided with a manse.

It has not yet been decided which, if any, of the present three manses will be kept.

Although there are still rules about minimum number of rooms, there is increasing concern about energy efficiency.  So it is entirely possible that these three large Victorian houses may be sold and two modern energy-efficient manses acquired.

Is “Local Mission Church” the same as Meadowgreen?

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At the time of its writing, the Presbytery Mission Plan envisaged that St Meddan’s outreach in Meadowgreen would be developed into a standalone Local Mission Church.  Circumstances have now changed, and due to a change of ownership of the Meadowgreen Centre, worship there cannot continue under the auspices of the Church of Scotland.

Our vision to mission for the expanding neighbourhood of North East Troon continues and the provision of a Local Mission Church is retained in the Presbytery Mission Plan and Basis of Union.

Why is St Meddan’s charity number being kept?

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Under charity law, union is considered to be a merger of charities, and it is customary to retain one of the existing numbers.

The Church of Scotland Law Department has advised that retaining St Meddan’s charity number helps avoid any question that grant funding recently received by St Meddan’s from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland might have to be repaid.  Other grant repayment conditions still apply for a number of years and these will be kept under careful review by the new united Kirk Session.

What halls are we keeping?

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Portland, St Meddan’s and Troon Old church halls are all heavily used, mostly at the same time (for example, the Boys’ Brigade uses all three sets of halls on Friday evenings), and Presbytery has therefore decided that three sets of halls are necessary for local mission in Troon.

That decision complicates Presbytery’s other decision to close Troon Old sanctuary for worship, and the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland require a feasibility study to be carried out to determine if the Troon Old sanctuary can be separated from Troon Old halls.  If the buildings cannot be separated, then Troon Old halls will also have to close.  However, one of the agreed remits of the feasibility study is to identify suitable alternative hall accommodation, if required.  So, whatever the outcome of the feasibility study, it is anticipated that Troon Church of Scotland will continue to have access to Portland halls, St Meddan’s halls, and either the present Troon Old halls or a suitable alternative.

View/Download Basis of Union