AN historic Gourock church will re-open this Sunday for the first time in six months.

Reverend David Burt, of Old Gourock & Ashton will welcome more than 70 parishioners to his service at 10am.

The church has been professionally deep cleaned prior to the big re-opening.

Reverend Burt says he is delighted that he will see some of his parishioners back in person.

He told the Telegraph: "It's a start - we've got to start somewhere.

"It's been a long time coming.

"My mother remembers the war years and she said at least the churches were open and people got together.

"The isolation during lockdown was the most difficult thing for people."

Reverend Burt said he found it difficult not being able to see and meet with his flock.

He said: "It's been really hard when the only route open to you is to use the phone, especially organising funerals and not being able to meet people before the funeral itself.

"You miss the contact with people and being able to see them."

David said he didn't believe the lockdown would have lasted so long and admits he is concerned about the potential repercussions.

He said: "I didn't think we would have been closed as long as six months.

"I am worried there is a real reticence about people coming back and that what they are coming back to, is not what they know.

"There is no singing and everything is to be on a screen, although we will have an organist and people can quietly hum behind their masks."

Pews have been taped off and there is a one way system in place.

The church itself is allowed 50 people inside, with an additional 24 in the hall, where services will be screened.

Members of the congregation must use a hand sanitiser when they come in and wear face coverings.

Rev Burt says he has a very strong team who have been working hard to prepare the church for re-opening.

He said: "The congregation has been brilliant and the Kirk Session has been keeping in contact with everyone through Whatsapp groups."

Reverend Burt has been using Facebook and videoconferencing facility Zoom for live worship at the church and weekly coffee mornings.

This will continue as there has been a strong take up online and it is being used as a way to keep in touch with those who are unable to attend church.

David said: "The key thing we are missing is community, the congregation being together."

Congregation members are reminded that places at Sunday services must be booked in advance.