Place of wor-ship: Sailing church built on £90,000 boat

The 60ft canal boat, named All Aboard, will travel at 4mph along the Union Canal in Edinburgh.

Place of wor-ship: Sailing church built on £90,000 boat Matthew Newby via SWNS

A sailing church has been built on a £90,000 canal boat.

The 60ft boat, named All Aboard, will travel at 4mph along the Union Canal in Edinburgh to give worshippers a chance to find calm in their lives.

It is currently being built by The New & Used Boat Company in Droitwich in Worcestershire, and expected to be craned into the canal in April.

It will be moored outside Polwarth Parish Church in Edinburgh and is co-owned with People Know How, a social innovation charity.

Plans have been afoot for ten years and it is hoped couples can soon get married on the boat.

Minister, Rev Jack Holt said: “The pace of the boat is slow – around 4mph.

“Travelling along the canal through the city into the countryside should provide a sense of peace and calm and create an atmosphere in which we can help support and encourage people who are struggling.

“When two of our members suggested in 2011 that the church should get a boat, everyone thought that was a pipe dream.

“But I was convinced it was possible and I am delighted that the vision has come to reality and we can start to plan how it can be used by us and other churches from different denominations in the future.

“We decided on a wide-beam boat to provide the maximum amount of uncluttered interior space which would be accessible by all.

“It will be eye catching and we want people to see it and recognise it as a resource to be used by the community.”

The congregation has been fundraising to buy the £89,000 boat for years.

But the project took off when People Know How officially got involved in June 2019 and secured grant funding, and £33,785 was given by the Church of Scotland.

Glenn Liddall, chief executive of People Know How, said: “We’re over the moon that we have been able to purchase this boat and can’t wait to launch her in the Union Canal and welcome people All Aboard.”