2017 Inverness Conference Summary

2017 Inverness Conference Summary

Cromarty East Church by David Alston

  • The burgh’s historic church.
  • Disused for worship after the second Church of Scotland was chosen to remain in use.
  • Taken on for restoration and return to sympathetic use by the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust as typical of its kind and as an example for similar projects.
  • Now receives over 20,000 visits per year.
  • Opened early so that under 5-aged children can walk through it daily on their way to school.
  • Acoustics found to be excellent for musical performance.
  • A local fiddle group has used it for recording (an excerpt from their disc was played to the audience).
  • A *Conservation Statement was needed to gain public funding by Lottery and other sources of grant aid.
  • Church remains unheated.
  • Income from weddings and funerals subsidises charitable booking.
  • Unstaffed, with donations box and with no resulting problems.
  • Volunteers open and close the building and organise booked events.
  • Website: www.eastchurchcromarty.co.uk

Architecture within the Ecclesiastical Heritage by Andrew Wright

  • What remains of the essence of a church building when the items of heritage value are removed, such as:
  • Moveable heritage – Church Plate, Communion Vessels, Vestments.
  • Built-in heritage – War Memorials and monuments of local or wider significance, Graveyard Settings, Historic Stones, e.g. Pictish. Stained Glass, Bells, Tower Clocks, Ornamental Floor Tiles. Organs.
  • Churches can adapt well to liturgical change over time.
  • Example: Fearn Abbey has undergone several radical changes since the Middle Ages.
  • At least 5 parish churches of mediaeval origin grouped around the inner Moray Firth between Evanton and Golspie.
  • Ninian Comper unrivalled as a great Scottish church architect and artist in the early years of 20th century. Example: St. Margaret, Braemar now being repaired and adapted for new use as arts venue.
  • Both churches on Isle of Canna now disused, with uncertain futures.
  • Migvie Chapel near Tarland, Aberdeenshire restored at his own expense by local laird.
  • Some of Scotland’s most important post-war buildings are churches.
  • Example. Kildrum Church of Scotland, Cumbernauld, officially described as one of the ten most important in the UK.
  • The historic and artistic significance of each church can best be revealed by undertaking a Conservation Plan.
  • Website: www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/balintore/fearnabbey

Smithton Free Church by Charles Anderson

  • The church now 30 years old.
  • Large extension, to provide space for community use, cost £1.6 million, 750k of which raised by loan with more from Inverness Common Good Fund.
  • Would it be a huge asset or a millstone?
  • It has become the former, in full use throughout the week.
  • Uses include Conferences, Training Events (some for Highland Council),
  • Concerts, Lunch Club, School occasions, amounting to use by 380 different groups during the last 7 years and as many as 30 weekly.
  • Main benefit has been to wider community but also some increase in church membership.
  • Essential facilities are a large car park, sufficient Toilets, a commercial type of Kitchen, Storage, Technical Equipment, generous Reception Area.
  • Charges cover preparation, cleaning up, use of projector etc. to offset cost of heat and light, etc. and free use by charities.
  • Teas and coffees a reliable money spinner.
  • Knowledge of Health and Safety regulations and possession of Fire Certificate essential.
  • Facilities for disabled users a priority and signage must be clear and positive.
  • But most important is to sustain an ethos that requires every service to Church and Community to be offered to the glory of God and to be done cheerfully and well.
  • Website: www.smithtonchurch.com

Merkinch Community Centre by Elsie Normington

  • A case study in energetic motivation and model of community empowerment enabled by one individual.
  • Merkinch notable as the most deprived area in the Highlands, with a small community centre poorly used until she was appointed as development manager.
  • Existing lunch club developed into a programme of events for the elderly.
  • Disused gym hall on the site was subject of feasibility study and is now a 200-seat theatre, at cost of £122k, used for drama, opera and highland dancing with own choral group and used by 30 different community groups.
  • Hired out for social enterprise activities, charged at cost.
  • 40,000 visits made annually
  • Key to success is to gain trust, listen to people and to do it with, not for them.
  • Website: www.merkinchcommunitycentre.co.uk

Leave a Reply