A conservation update - 2nd Aug 2017
It is often said that time flies and this is certainly true when applied to the St Mungo’s Bi-centenary and Conservation Project, known as BI-CON-CENT. It is almost 2 months since the church was taken over by the contractors and quiet environment transformed to one of frenetic activity with workers swarming like ants all over the faces of the building. (It reminds me of some of the descriptions found in ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ by Ken Follet) So, what exactly has been achieved in the 2 months that have just passed? 1. The majority of the building has been encased with scaffolding – like an external skeleton holding everything together and providing access and safety for the many contractors that we now have on site. 2. The roof has been stripped of its well-worn and aging tiles, giving access to the roof timbers and allowing their close examination. Thankfully, the inspection has revealed that there are no serious problems with the roof timbers and that only a comparatively small section of sarking, the timber cladding on which the tiles are laid, requires replacement. 3. The roof has been covered in a breathable membrane, designed to keep out any rainwater that leaks through the tiles, and allow the dissipation of any internal moisture, from condensation in the attic space. Anyone approaching the Church down Ludgate will have noticed the lurid, bright green material covering the roof. 4. Whilst all this has been going on with the roof, the stonemasons have been at work examining all of the stone work, making sure that there is nothing that has been missed from the initial assessment of work required that was made from the ground using binoculars and photographs. Only time will tell just how good the original assessor of the state of the stonework was! All of this work hasn’t been without its problems. It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the weather has been variable, to say the least. During the work period, so far there has been rain that has been described as being of “Biblical proportions”. Sadly, because the work on the roof had created some debris that was held in the storm water gutter, between the roof and the inside of the church walls, some water ran over the top of the gutter and down the walls into the church, causing some damage to the plasterwork, decoration and one or two internal features. This has been assessed and all will be put right at the end of the project. To touch on the financial situation – we are still a little short of the target that was set at the outset, some 2 years, or so, ago. We still have about £4000 to raise by the end of October. Your continuing donations to the project and support of activities would not just be greatly appreciated but essential if we are to avoid increasing the debt that we already have following the removal of the asbestos lagging, at the end of last year. Morris Field, Conservation Project Convenor The Bi-Con-Cent project of St Mungo’s is grant aided by The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland
Alloa glassmaker, O-I is to sponsor the design and installation of a new stained glass window to mark the 200th anniversary of St Mungo’s Parish Church in Alloa. Glassmaking in Alloa predates St Mungo’s by around 70 years and the modern plant is now part of the largest glass company in the world. Gordon Leckie, Plant Manager at O-I Alloa said, “The church has been the glass plant's neighbour since it was built. Our employees have been amongst its parishioners, they have worshiped, married, baptised their children, and said their goodbyes to loved ones in St Mungo's. While you could say the glass plant has been the economic heart of the town, the church has been the spiritual heart. We are pleased to fund the new stained glass window which reiterates our joint commitment to Alloa and the wider community.” The new window will symbolise the journey the church has made since the church was opened in 1819 and highlight the importance of the River Forth in the lives of the local people and their industries. Initial designs are expected at the end of 2017 and the Reverend Sang Cha, the minister at St Mungo’s hopes the window will be installed early in 2018. Reverend Cha said, “This bicentenary is an opportunity to promote not just the church, but also to reflect on Alloa’s heritage. We celebrated the laying of our foundation stone in February and have some exciting events planned for the rest of the year. But we wanted a permanent memory as well and are delighted that O-I has agreed to sponsor this window, which will tell our story for generations to come.” Glassmaking is a vital part of that Alloa tradition. When the church was built, the Alloa glassworks predominantly produced wine bottles. Today, following a £25 million investment in 2014, it is the powerhouse of the Scottish spirits industry, while also making beer and, as the wheel turns full circle, wine bottles again. Consumer demand for glass, especially for premium and craft spirits, beers and wines, is strong because of the material’s benefits of recyclability, inertness and adaptability. Gordon Leckie says, “We have a large and talented team of very experienced glassmakers and with our yearly appointment of apprentices continue to build our workforce for the future. As a well-established glass plant, many of our employees follow in the footsteps of previous generations of their family, having parents or grandparents who have worked with us. We are delighted to be solidifying our relationship with the community by providing the funding for the new stained glass window.”
St Mungo’s Parish Church Alloa has received a grant of £248,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland for the conservation project to start. Money awarded has been match funded by various local supporters and the wider church both home and abroad. Thanks to the money raised by National Lottery Players the project aims to carry out essential conservation work to preserve the building. Work includes urgent repairs to the roof, stonework of the building, stained glass windows and internal alterations. The works will improve access and increase the use of church facilities by both the church and wider community. During the conservation works and lead up to the 200th anniversary there will be a range of opportunities for the involvement of the local community. Heritage related activities planned include; a Heritage exhibition of Alloa through the ages, a Heritage trail with booklet, a Heritage skills day, a new stained glass window project, development of a time capsule and monthly tours of the church led by trained volunteer guides. The church treasurer, Mr John Carruthers states "We are grateful for this support as the current St Mungo’s Parish Church building has been part of the community for almost 200 years. This project will not only allow us to secure our heritage and continue as a place of worship but also enable us to open our doors for wider community use in the future.” Lucy Casot, Head of HLF Scotland, said: ‘Scotland’s historic and diverse places of worship are so often at the heart of our communities. Thanks to National Lottery players HLF funds urgent structural repairs and also improved facilities and visitor information. St Mungo’s Parish Church, Alloa is an excellent example of how HLF can help conserve a much loved building so it can continue to serve its local community.’ About the Heritage Lottery Fund Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. www.hlf.org.uk Follow us on facebook HLFScotland and twitter @HLFScotland
We have started the agreed conservation work.This includes the repairs to the Church, Session House and Porch roofs, the stone work to the external walls of the Church, as well as a number of internal alterations. Subject to the approval of HLF, Members should begin to see activities both within and outside the building. Once started it is anticipated that all of the external work should be finished by Autumn this year. Concurrent with this work, a programme of anniversary celebrations is being organised to take place over the next two years in recognition of the foundation laying in 2017 and the consecration of the new Church in 2019. Detailed information on some of these events will be issued shortly. We sincerely hope that you will support these events and find them of interest. However, and there is always a caveat. We are still short of our required fundraising target by £6000. While the response to our appeals by both Members and others has been encouraging and appreciated, some 50% of our membership have still to respond and , however small , show their support for what we are trying to achieve on their behalf, namely, securing the future of our historic place of Worship. I would therefore make a further appeal to all, to help us close this funding gap sooner rather than later so that we can proceed with the restoration work and commemoration activities in the knowledge that the funds to pay for these programmes are secure. A Minister in another Church summed up a similar problem his Congregation was experiencing as follows. " I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we have sufficient funds. The bad news is that it is still in your pockets"
In December 2014 an appeal was launched to all members of the Congregation to help fund our first Conservation Project in 30 years. The details and reasons for this project were detailed in an explanatory letter delivered to all members. Accompanying this letter was a donation envelope and based on a number a questions raised, it is though that a more detailed explanation of the use of this envelope and the various ways members can donate to the project would prove helpful. Firstly, with regard to the donation envelope, members can use this either individually or jointly, provided both names are shown. The envelope also provides for donations to be Gift Aided provided one or other of the donors are Tax Payers and the envelope is signed by that person. In the event of both being Tax Payers, it still only requires one donors signature. Secondly, Members who have already donated have used a variety of methods to so do and again we though it might be helpful to detail these. The Target sum per member is £300 over three years, some have chosen to pay this in one lump sum by cash or cheque. Others, using the envelopes, are paying monthly, quarterly or annually or indeed as appropriate to their own circumstances or fundraising efforts. Still others have decided to set up a standing order through their bank direct to the Church`s Conservation Account, details of which can be provided on request to the Treasurer. Which ever method is adopted, all donations are most welcomed and appreciated, and arrangements are in hand to deal with members wishes in this regard and to keep accurate records of all monies however receive. Should you require further envelopes, a supply is available in the Church Porch or can be requested for delivery through your elder or any Session member. With regard to the Project generally, while there is little activity to see at present, considerable work has being going on in the background. We are at the final stage of completing our application for external funding, Architects have been appointed and they in turn have been busy surveying the Church, producing detailed drawings and seeking estimates from possible contractors. Members may also like to know that we are very conscious of both the forthcoming Bi -Centenary in 2019 and the need during the current work to seek to enhance our existing provision and usage through the creation of a Crèche, better disabled access to other parts of the building, and better storage ,office, toilet and kitchen facilities. Finally, arrangements have also been put in place to keep members regularly updated on all of the foregoing developments through enhanced notice boards, power point presentations at the conclusion of Sunday services, the Parishioner, our web-site and through the local Press at significant points during the progress of the Project. The Treasurer John Carruthers
The St. Mungo`s Bi Centenary Conservation Project, BI - CON - CENT, has been established to support the required renovation of the church building, to celebrate the church’s two hundred years of history at this site in Alloa and to develop strong and lasting bonds within the community as a result. Over the next five years, we want to raise enough money to fully repair the church, create new bonds with local organisations and youth groups and highlight the progressive nature of Alloa and Clackmannanshire as a whole. Our first goal is to raise the £150,000.00 necessary to maintain the church building and any money you can give towards this would be greatly appreciated. We will also celebrate St. Mungo`s 200th anniversary, on the 20th June 2019, with a party that is not to be missed and we hope that all those contributing to this project will be able to attend and recollect on their times here and in Alloa. BI-CON-CENT Update – 19/11/2016 A lot has been happening since our last update. You will see some of this through the work that will hopefully begin on the church this December. However, in terms of fund raising and completing our second round application to the Heritage lottery fund this has also continued apace. Over the next 18 months we intend to interact with the community and celebrate the church in the following ways: 1. Heritage Skills Day 2. Time Capsule 3. Heritage Trail 4. Alloa Through the Ages, including a Photography Exhibition 5. Stained Glass Window Outreach Project 6. “Back to the Future” Challenge: 200 for 200 7. “Back to the Future” Heritage service to commemorate laying the foundation stone 8. “Back to the Future” Concert in local town hall involving wider community 9. Collaborative craft project to create a diaspora and a pulpit fall All of these projects will be run by members of the congregation, or friends of the church, and will help us in attaining the grants we need to maintain our grand old building as well as connect more with the community. In a future issue, I will go over each project and the people leading this to give everyone a sense of what we are trying to achieve. However, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to grab me at church or whenever you see me. You may not be aware, but our application to the Heritage Lottery fund is far from complete. We have still to complete our first phase although this should be done shortly and our deadline for the second round is 31st December 2016. We are confident that we will meet all deadlines and provide everything that is asked for us but this does highlight the stretched resources of our committee and the need for support throughout the church. I am always asking myself two questions in relation to the project: could I do more and do I want to do more? Both of these have to be yes in my opinion in order for a job to be done well. So, I would challenge you to ask yourself these questions in relation to the church and if both are yes and you are not already involved with our committee, or one of our projects, then please let me know? Finally, we have also be successful in receiving a grant from Clackmannanshire Council for almost £5,000 to improve the disabled access to the church. Again, we are hoping to put this in place soon. The next 12 months will see major changes at St. Mungo’s and we all must be prepared for this. Quite simply, we will not survive without them. So let’s embrace the scaffolding, the builders, the dust, the cold, the mutters, the disenchantment, the setbacks and the possibility of accepting help from another church because when we look back we will undoubtedly say it was worth it. And of course, let us pray for the projects success. David Mackintosh
It is now two years since we received the Quinquennial Report on the condition of the Church properties (Church and Manse), realised the enormity of the task and launched the campaign to raise funds to pay for the repairs highlighted in it - primarily to the roof and external stonework. However, as I'm sure most will know, more defects were discovered - the most significant 'extra' being that of asbestos lagging around old, disused pipes in the Church loft-space. This discovery has been the biggest 'setback' we have suffered, for both our fundraising and the overall conservation schedule. The removal of the asbestos is set to cost us an additional, and staggering, £80,000... and nothing towards the conservation itself can be done until it has been removed! It must be stated the Church of Scotland (Head office) has recognised the difficulties that this extra financial burden will cause to the congregation and they have given us a generous grant of £20,000, the balance being payable as a low-interest, long-term loan, to have it removed. However...firstly, let me congratulate everyone on their efforts to raise funds to pay for the conservation...from one older member scaling a climbing wall on a cruise ship for sponsorship...to the hosting of themed parties...to just putting some cash in a Conservation fund envelope...and many other things besides, including the giving of generous gifts from a number of ‘Friends of St Mungo’s’. Together, we have been responsible for raising an impressive £82,508 (an increase of £11,127 since the last issue of the Parishioner). This figure is made up as follows: 1. Members (142) - £38,508 [average £271/contributing member] 2. Non-members (19) - £38,500 [average £2026/contributing non-member] 3. Tax (Gift Aid) - £ 5,500 Total - £82,508 Funding target £120,000 [Members, non-members & external donors combined] Current funding shortfall - £37,492 Whilst we have all been busy raising funds, the Conservation committee have been busy with work that is not immediately obvious. The 2nd round application to secure the bulk of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been prepared and submitted (no mean feat, I can assure you); a quantity surveyor and contractors have been identified, quotations and work schedules prepared ready to begin the work of replacing the roof and repairing the stonework; provisional plans have been drawn up for the possible upgrading of the kitchen and a proposed redevelopment at the back of the Church. Also, after a long and difficult tendering process, work to remove the 'dreaded asbestos' is finally under way - and the work is scheduled for completion before Christmas – just! We must be grateful to both our architect, Ed Kelly, and the asbestos removal contractors, Damada, for finding ways of working to allow us to continue using ALL areas of the Church premises whilst the work is carried out. [We are dedicating the storage area and toilet at the South-East corner of the Church for the use of the contractors for the duration of the work.] The good news is that we are within a whisker of starting the conservation work and there being something to see for all our efforts. But, as you can see from the figures above we still have to keep the pressure on with fundraising -hence the heading "You Church 'STILL' needs you". Additionally we must take a serious look at the level of our regular giving to enable us to, not only, meet our regular commitments but, also, make the loan repayments required by the Church of Scotland. There are a number of things that we can do to help: 1. Review the amount we give (when did we last give the Church a ‘pay-rise’ - probably our incomes have increased – even if we are pensioners!) 2. Ensure that we put our free-will offering aside, even if we are unable to get to Church, and bring it with you the next time you come (the Church’s expenditure doesn’t stop if we don’t attend!) 3. Consider switching your contribution to payment by Standing Order (or Bank Transfer if you use on-line banking services). John Carruthers will be able to give you a form and/or the necessary information and advice about doing this. 4. Finally, if you are a basic rate income tax payer, please consider signing up to the Gift Aid Scheme. This means that the Government allows us, the Church, to reclaim the income tax we have paid on our incomes. Is it worth the effort? Yes, most certainly – for every £10 donated the Government will repay the £2.50 tax paid to the Church. I will be able to give a Gift Aid mandate form and advice if you are interested. We thank your generosity of the past couple of years and encourage you help us achieve the target we still have ahead. Morris Field & the Conservation Team
'The current church was designed by architect James Gillespie Graham. The building, in droved ashlar, is one of his finest neo-perpendicular Gothic hall kirks. It has a rectangular plan with low square towers at each angle and an advanced gable centred on the north front. A spectacular 207 ft (63m) crocketed Gothic louth-spire tops the building, so called because it was based on a fifteenth-century design at Louth, Lincolnshire. The spire is centred on the south front and dramatically supported by corner turrets and flying buttresses. The tower is furnished with a four-dial clock and a finely toned bell, weighing about fourteen cwt.'
To read more about our Church in our Wikipeadia entry: Click here
We are undertaking a major Conservation Project. Click here to find out more.
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St. Mungo’s Parish Church of Scotland
10 Bedford Place,
Tel: (01259) 723004
Minister: Rev. Sang Y Cha
Registred Charity: SC007821