CHURCH congregations in Largs, Millport and Fairlie will unite this year under the most seismic changes to have happened in the past 100 years.

Reverend Dr Graham McWilliams has told worshippers that one Kirk Session will be overlooking all the Church of Scotland places of worship in the area.

At present, two of the churches are earmarked for closure - St John's and St Columba's Parish Church - with appeals submitted and expected to be decided upon over the coming months.

The Clark Memorial Church in Largs would be staying put under the proposed changes, while Fairlie and Millport churches would also remain open.

However, the running of the churches which has remained the same for generations, is expected to change in a year of transition.

Reverend McWilliams has explained the process going forward.

He said: "After some discussion, the eventual plan is for all the local congregations to unite into one large congregation.

"The name of the new will probably be Cumbrae, Fairlie and Largs Parish Church.

"There are still quite a few details to discuss but the hope is to move towards a single parish at some point this year.

"What this will mean is that, where each local church had a Kirk Session, there will be one Kirk Session overseeing the local mission.

"The new larger parish will have two ministers who, at the moment, are myself and Rev David Watson, who currently serves Clark Memorial Church.

"In order to allow members of each congregation the opportunity to get to the know the different members of clergy within the current five parishes, and for the clergy to get to know the members of each congregation, there will be a pulpit exchange on third Sunday of each month.

"From the beginning of March, on the first Sunday of each month there will be one service of worship in Largs, led by myself and Rev David Watson. This will be held in Clark Memorial Church at 11am."

The clerhyman added: "Change isn’t always something that we like but, in today’s world, it is inevitable.

"But what we do as a church will enable us to move forward.

"I hope that the changes will not prove too challenging for any of us, but whatever the future brings, it allows the local church to move forward in Jesus name, to the glory of God the Father."