KIRKCUDBRIGHT CHURCH REDEVELOPMENT

It’s time to get excited!

When Rev. John Collard was with us, we had extensive consultations about when and how we should improve our building to make it a more useful, approachable, and outward-looking space for us and for the people of Kirkcudbright. We took the decision that we would prefer to do this work as a church rather than hand the building to a community trust.
And now we have a plan!

What are the plans?

The new worship space will be the area of the church that is not under any of the galleries. The pews will be removed and replaced with seating which will allow for flexible use of the space. The most common layout, however, is likely to be with chairs set in an arc around the new platform area which will have a rounded front. There will be seating for 200.

The area under the Trades Gallery on the North side of the church will contain a permanent home for the Food Bank in the same location which it currently occupies. A disabled toilet will also be sited in this area. There will be access to this area from outside the building and from the sanctuary.

The area underneath the Town Gallery on the South Side of the church will form a meeting room. Again, this can be accessed from inside and outside the building.

The area underneath the Laird’s Gallery will contain a toilet suite (incorporating several toilets plus a disabled toilet), and a kitchen area with facilities for making teas and coffees. There will also be an extended welcome area. The partition between this area and the church will be a glass screen extending the full width of the building and to the gallery floor.

The entrance from the vestibule will be by central glass doors allowing for a view from there right into the sanctuary.

Plans to improve the audio-visual provision are already in place and are described in detail below. There will also be improvements made to the heating and lighting; the precise form which these will take has still to be decided.

Audio-visual Improvements:

Our current audio-visual system is no longer fit for purpose and is long overdue replacement. A significant upgrade of this system will take place. Already installed within the sanctuary is fibre-broadband service as well as the necessary cameras, LED digital lights & associated equipment to allow services to be streamed or recorded, and transmitted initially via Zoom. This capability will eventually be used to expand our Church’s presence on additional internet-based platforms as well as on our new Church website, currently under development.

Within the sanctuary itself, the obsolete sound system will be replaced with new speakers and sound-desk. The aged projector & screen will be replaced with modern large-screen (T.V. type) colour monitors which will provide high-definition images. Opportunity will be taken to relocate the control-centre for the audio-visual systems from the laird’s balcony to a ground-floor location.

When completed, this fully integrated system will enhance not only our worship experience, but also provide desirable features for other users as we develop our plans for greater community use of the building.

When will it happen?

Some of it is already in place! We now have the ability to stream services from the church online and once volunteers are trained to operate the system, the Zoom service will be able to be recorded and/or transmitted live from the church building.

The Kirk Session has approved an application to Presbytery for permission to remove the pews and to upgrade the AV system. If Presbytery approves, the application will go to the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland and if they give the green light then we are ready to go ahead. Money is available from the Bequest Fund to fund this part of the work.

We hope to use voluntary labour to remove the pews. We have done this before in parts of the building and it presented no problems. We currently have 62 chairs and have sourced a supply of good quality secondhand chairs; if this purchase is successful, we will have enough seating for most normal purposes. For special occasions or large funerals, we can bring chairs from the church hall. When we have decided on what chairs we want for the building, these can be used in the meeting room or welcome area.

The start date for the rest of the work will depend on successful fundraising.

How much will it cost?

Costing a project on this scale is not easy but we are working on a figure of around £300,000. The Session has set up a Fundraising Team. It has 15 enthusiastic members, all volunteers! They have held their first meeting, which was a very positive one, and they will begin the process of interacting with funding groups to see what kind of grants we might attract. We will also be hoping to raise funds locally from the congregation and the community.

Is this the right time?

It is certainly not an ideal time! To begin a project like this in a time of lockdown is not what you would want. The insert in last month’s newsletter spotlighted the effect that Covid has had on the church’s income and that too is a major consideration.
But we have been talking about doing this for more than ten years and if we wait for the ideal time, the likelihood is that we will never start! The response from the Buildings Group to the plans has been positive; the response from the Session has been very enthusiastic, and we believe that with God’s help, we can create a facility that will make for better worship and a deeper engagement with the community which we serve.

“Then they said, ‘Let us start building!’ And they devoted themselves to the common good”
(Nehemiah 2 : 18b, NRSV)

Finally:

There will be an opportunity for all congregation members to attend a more detailed Power-Point presentation of the Church redevelopment plans following the Annual Stated Meeting of the congregation, scheduled to take place after the service on Sunday 21st. March 2021.

Graham Finch
(Convener Church Redevelopment Committee)
 

WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

At a recent meeting of Kbt. Church’s Sunday Evening Gathering, some discussion took place at this time of lockdown and isolation as to how we might be able to fulfil Scripture’s exhortation that we should encourage each other. A suggestion to send a daily scripture verse & message was well received, & a few of these messages are under-noted. May they bring encouragement also to you!

1. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1 v6)

You might sometimes think because you struggle you can’t be a Christian. It’s because you are a Christian that you struggle—Satan doesn’t fight with those he’s already got! Stay strong & keep your eyes on Jesus!

2. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you “ (Mat. 7 v7)

Bring all your concerns to God in prayer, and expect an answer! — just don’t think it will necessarily come to your timetable! God may choose to delay the answer because the lesson He wants you to learn is in the process!

3. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thess. 5 v 16—18).

Stop focussing on what you’ve lost & start giving thanks to God for all that you still have!

4. “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4 v24)

Accepting Jesus as Saviour & Lord allows His Holy Spirit to get to work & change you from the inside out. Not everyone you know will necessarily appreciate the change! Stick with it, the journey will be worth it in the end!

5. “Let us therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy & find grace to help in times of need”

Mercy withholds God's judgement; Grace is what release God's forgiveness!
 

THE FRIENDSHIP CLUB

In King George V1’s Christmas Day radio broadcast to the country in 1939, the King sought to bring reassurance and calm in very uncertain and challenging times. His attention had been drawn by his then fourteen year old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, to a poem written by Minnie Louise Haskins, published in 1908 and entitled God Knows (latterly known as The Gate of the Year). He concluded his broadcast with the lines below and it seems to me that although fortunately we are not at war, we have been battling an invisible enemy in the form of Covid-19, so our situation is not that dissimilar to the Britain of December 1939.

Following the death of her father in 1952, the Queen had these words engraved on brass plaques and attached to the gates of the King George V1 Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, where her late father King George V1, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and the ashes of the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, are all interred. Indeed, when the Queen Mother died in 2002, the Queen had the poem read at her funeral service. The words were intended as a message of hope and reassurance all those years ago and to bring comfort and encouragement where they were needed.

I hope they do exactly the same for us today, as well as reminding us that our heavenly father is in control and that we need not fear the future.

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way”.

On behalf of the Pastoral Care Group, can I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year and please remember that if you, or anyone you know, needs help of any kind, please ring Irene Robertson in the first instance.
 

CHURCH HALL KITCHEN RENEWAL

Good News for all who make use of the Church Hall on a regular basis, or who enjoy the hospitality lunches etc. held there (Yes — they will return one of these days!).

Our major kitchen upgrade has now begun, and the whole project should be completed by the end of November, including new cooking and washing-up facilities + a fast operating industrial dish-washer. Can you wait???
 

A GIFT OF FLOWERS

My hope is that by the time you come to the end of this letter you will feel moved to say “yes, I will help.”

These are strange times indeed but made far, far worse if you've lost a loved one, become ill, fall and can't get about so easily, or just feel so lonely you need to know someone is caring enough to call with a bunch of flowers, flowers that you can place nearby, where you can see them often and remind yourself that somebody cares. Because we do.

Our team of flower distributers bring comfort and appreciation to a chosen Church member who needs it at that time. Our Flower Distributers are highly valued members of our Church. Some of our team are vulnerable themselves because they are shielding, so our numbers have reduced and those who remain are carrying the burden.

Please, can you help them?

The more volunteers we have the lighter the burden. We have a vision to set in place enough in our team to be able to distribute Church flowers one Sunday in every couple of months. The more who join the easier it will be.

If you have ever been at the receiving end of a bunch of flowers you will know how special it feels to be remembered, to know that someone has thought about you and cares enough to want to bring them to you.

If you would like to help please contact Thelma Hart.