CUMBRAE'S minister says the long-awaited unveiling of the new parish church at the weekend was an 'emotional' day.

The congregation had eagerly anticipated the opening since securing grants and raising an impressive £200,000 towards the overall project.

After the opening was delayed, the venue finally welcomed parishioners on Sunday - with some familiar sights from the old church incorporated into the new facility.

Open days will now follow at the end of the month to allow everyone to see inside.

Reverend Jonathan Fleming said: "This has been a huge community project over the last four years.

"It is thanks to the determination of everyone that we reached this point and everyone should be incredibly proud of themselves.

"It's amazing how it has all come together and it just shows that if you’ve got a vision and the determination to keep going, people will get behind it locally and nationally.

"The building is looking great and is a perfect blend of the old and the new.

"People have been helping to put in the final touches and there have been a few teary eyes at the sight of the old alter and baptismal font from the old church.

"I think for a lot of people these items hold a lot of sentimental value and its nice to be able to blend the old and new.

"We had just a single service at the weekend, as long as all goes to plan, and we will build from there, then look at what we can do with the land around the building.

"I know there will be a lot of people interested in seeing inside, and that is why we are having the open days.

"People will be able to enjoy a tea or coffee as they get a tour around the new facility."

The open days will be held on Thursday January 31 and February 1, with afternoon and evening sessions at 2 to 4pm and 6 to 8pm.

There will also be a morning opening from 10am to noon on February 2.

Bucking the trend nationally as one of the few new churches to open in Scotland in recent years, it is hoped it will be used by the whole community.

It will be able to host concerts and various other functions on the island with a stage area, instead of a pulpit, for the minister and the choir in the new set-up.

The church is multi-purpose built and able to sit up to 140 people, with flexible removable seating so it can be easily used as a venue for cafe-style events, conferences or music events.

The community is already keen to reap the benefits of the new island facility with bookings already being made.

Jonathan added: "We are already takings booking and we also have a high priority to present the BB's with their Queen's badge and there are a number of elders to be ordained.

"There is also a baptism and a wedding planned, so it is already full steam ahead."

The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland allocated £120,000 — comprised of an interest free loan and a grant — towards the ambitious project.

The church was due to open in November, before a power problem saw the date put on hold.