Elmslie Memorial United Church on Harbour Drive is not for sale.
‘I’m the chairman of the body that owns the property,’ said Administrator John MacMillan this week in no uncertain terms. ‘Elmslie Church, its board and its members have no interest in selling the place. It’s not for sale and we don’t intend to sell it,’ Mr. MacMillan said.
He was responding to questions that arose after a National Tourism management Policy meeting in which the church property was discussed. Minister for Infrastructure Arden McLean raised the topic, saying he wanted historic George Town buildings, including Elmslie Church, never to be removed (Caymanian Compass, 29 March).
Mr. MacMillan said a rumour of sale may have started because church officers looked at other land for possible use as a school and hall for youth activities.
‘But we have not even considered moving our worship,’ he said. ‘For most of our people, it’s their home church.
‘In many ways we have outgrown the present facilities and can’t expand,’ he said, referring to nearby construction projects.
There is less space to park and cruise ship activities can hamper access to the church, he said.
The church hall and the sanctuary – the structure in which the congregation worships – are two buildings but one property, he said.
The National Trust of the Cayman Islands presented a plaque naming Elmslie as a Building of Historic Interest in 1996.
The Trust website describes the structure as the first building in Cayman to be built of handmade concrete blocks, and also the first to be built by Captain Rayal Bodden, a respected shipwright.
The church was built over a two-year period between 1920 and 1922. One of its distinctive features is a ceiling that resembles the hull of an upturned ship.