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Scottish village hopes to save church

UPI News Service, 02/28/2013 

A picturesque village in the Scottish Highlands where scenes from the cult classic "The Wicker Man" were filmed is fighting to save its church.

While the Church of Scotland stopped holding services in Plockton last year, the Free Church of Scotland, a group that broke away in the 19th century, continues to use the building under a lease agreement, The Scotsman reported. Now, the Church of Scotland has decided to sell the building, following the example of the Free Church, whose facility was converted into apartments 20 years ago.

"It would be a disaster if Plockton Church went the same way," said Charlie MacRae, a member of the local community council. "The community would also like to know what will happen to the graveyard as it is unclear whether it will be included in the sale."

In the movie, set on a fictitious island, Edward Woodward as a devout police officer confronts pagans led by Lord Summerisle, played by Christopher Lee. Plockton, however, has long been devoutly Christian with open-air services on major religious holidays a local tradition.

Plockton once boasted four churches. The surviving one, built in the early 19th century, is from a design by famous Scottish engineer Thomas Telford for an effort by the Church of Scotland to put churches in remote parts of the Highlands.

MacRae told the Scotsman the village is trying to raise money to help the Free Church buy the building.

A spokesman for the Church of Scotland said the decision to sell the building was made over several years.

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