THE new church on the Isle of Cumbrae will be officially opened after a visit from a special guest next week.

The Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Susan Brown, is visiting on Wednesday 10 April to have a look around the multi-million pound facility.

While the church has been open for use by congregations since mid-January, this will be the official ceremony to mark its introduction to island life.

Three days later the opening takes place with the moderator of the local presbytery, Rev Tanya Webster, as she officiates at the service of dedication.

Reverend Jonathan Fleming is delighted with the high profile visits and the announcement of an official opening day.

He said: "The moderator of the Church of Scotland has a tight diary so it is wonderful that she will be visiting the new building. It is something we want to celebrate given the work involved in the church and in the wider community - and this is just the beginning."

It is exciting times for the new church with extension plans in future.

Rev Fleming said: "The church is built on a much larger piece of land than the main building needs.

"We have an action plan and are working with the Cumbrae Beecology group, who have been successful in obtaining saplings from the National Woodland Trust and they are going to be planted this month. "This will allow the bee population to flourish. "We also have a new plant to plate project - a raised garden bed similar to Fairlie Organic Growers community garden, but on a much smaller scale.

"We received funding from a generous local donor for the purposes of the raised bed garden, which will be used by the neighbouring Cumbrae Primary."

Rev Fleming revealed that there is also a phase two development for the footprint area on the site to provide a new church hall to accompany the main church building.

Rev Fleming said: "This could double up as a games hall.

"The fundraising group behind the church need a rest so this more a long term plan.

"We all need to stock of what we have got and to learn how to use it properly."

The church also has plans to provide improved streaming coverage of services online.

Rev Fleming said: "We hope to obtain a streaming camera which allows us to broadcast high quality coverage through Facebook Live of both Cumbrae and St John's Church in Largs."