Dundee church regenerates to bring light to community

A post-industrial neighbourhood in Dundee which has been without a community centre for generations is set to benefit from the opening of a newly refurbished church.

Dundee Coldside Parish Church, in the city’s Hilltown area, last week opened the doors of its state-of-the-art sanctuary and halls.

The church space has been transformed with modern lighting, heating and audio visual systems and is now ready to nurture the creative energies of the people living in the area.

On Sunday, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev John Chalmers, conducted an act of rededication in front of a packed congregation.

He said: “It was a real privilege to have been part of such a vibrant celebration and I wish the minister and congregation well as they now set about bringing their real vision for the parish into effect.”

The vision, as the dynamic minister for the church, Rev Tony Thornthwaite explained, is to “develop the whole building to be a light for the community”.

Rather than lay dormant until Sunday worship, the building – first built in 1881 – will be open seven days a week to support various groups in the community.

“We want to share Christ’s love with everyone here,” Mr Thornthwaite said.

“This is a place not only for Christians. We will have council run holiday clubs, Narcotics Anonymous, Taekwando classes and Brownies, to name a few.”

This new creation is a result of several years of innovative thinking within the church.

Coldside Parish Church itself is the result of an amalgamation between Clepington and Fairmuir Churches in 2004.

For a period, these two churches continued to operate in separate buildings but in 2011 Fairmuir was sold and Clepington, with Mr Thornthwaite as minister, became the sole place of worship.

The proceeds of the sale of Fairfield were used for this new refurbishment.

“There is a bright future here which will make a lasting impact on an area which has had its issues,” added Mr Thornthwaite.

“It will be exciting to see our vision of making this a light for the community come to become a reality.”