Canal-side Kirk in narrow boat fundraising drive

An Edinburgh church known as the Kirk on the Canal is redoubling its efforts to raise money to buy a second-hand narrow boat.

Polwarth Parish Church
Polwarth Parish Church minister, Rev Jack Holt, meets a group of youngsters from the First Presbyterian Church in Holt, Michigan, USA

Polwarth Parish Church hopes to take advantage of its unique location beside the Union Canal to expand its mission work.

The move was sparked by a decision made by Scottish Canals to install three leisure moorings next to the building, which is akin to an Anglican cathedral inside.

The congregation, along with community groups and armed forces veterans, have already created three unique gardens in the grounds for the enjoyment of all.

The narrow boat would further enhance the visitor experience and be used for a variety of activities such as weddings and educational and spiritual pursuits..

Scottish Canals, which is working with Historic Environment Scotland to obtain consent for the installation work, said the canal will be dredged to make way for the pontoons.

“Two of the three moorings will be used by either leisure craft as their permanent mooring or as visitor moorings for holiday makers and cruisers on the canal,” a statement said.

“Access to the third mooring will be dedicated to the Polwarth Church boat which they are fundraising for at the moment.”


Rev Jack Holt, minister of Polwarth Parish Church which is a so-called canal shed, said the congregation would be working hard to raise money.

The gardens rely on volunteers to maintain them and yesterday a group of youngsters from the United States rolled up their sleeves to help.

They are members of the First Presbyterian Church in Holt, Michigan and currently in Scotland on a study trip.

Mr Holt said he was delighted to meet people from his namesake town and was particularly amused because the leader of the group is called Pastor Kirk Miller.

The minister was presented with a First Presbyterian Church Holt t-shirt.

Mr Holt joked: “It is nice that Kirk from Holt has come to the Kirk on the Canal to meet Holt.”