Bright new dawn for village church
Published on 12 May, 2017
An exciting new chapter in the life of the Church of Scotland in an East Dunbartonshire village has begun.
Hundreds of people attended the official opening service of Milton of Campsie Parish Church's impressive, state-of-the art community hub building.
The project to create a versatile space, accessible to the young and old alike, is the culmination of many years of planning and fundraising.
Minister Rev Julie Moody, in her own words, explains the path to renewal.
"On April, 9, 2017, the congregation of Milton of Campsie Parish Church made their Palm Sunday march of a few hundred yards from their old church building into the new.
The service began in the old and included a time of thanksgiving and celebration.
It ended in the new with a time of dedication and celebration.
More than 230 people made the journey and over 200 stayed for the lunch afterwards.
The old church building opened in 1888, on land gifted by the Stirling family.
It was a beautiful village church.
Just over 30 years ago, the congregation raised funds to build a Hall (again on land gifted by the Stirling family).
During the process of the Presbytery Plan being brought to Glasgow Presbytery, it was decided that the church building was no longer fit for purpose.
It was beautiful but had no disabled access, was expensive to heat and maintain, only had one toilet, had no flexibility and was used only once a week for Sunday worship.
The congregation embarked on a long process of evaluating our strengths, casting our vision, consulting with local businesses, hearing from the community and stepping out in faith.
We studied the book of Haggai as part of this process and found the challenge spurred us to think and give sacrificially.
Our key verse was Haggai 2: 8 ‘The gold is mine and the silver is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.
It was decided to build on the land at the Stirling Hall.
Various architectural plans were considered and some of our dreams had to be tailored to a more reasonable budget
Almost nine years later, and with about £600,000 raised largely from congregational giving, alongside some trust funds and a small loan from the Church of Scotland Trustees, our new build was completed at the beginning of April this year.
The existing Stirling Hall was completely refurbished using money from the Climate Challenge Fund.
The additional new building gives us an incredible church complex with one large space which is used for worship on Sundays, Badminton on Mondays, Zumba and dance classes at other times.
It has been the venue for a Fiddlers’ Rally and an incredible Wonder Weekend (all age activities) over Easter.
There is a meeting room which we hope will be used by small groups and committees from the village.
A sizable vestry means that the minister now has space to meet with folks and to work from there as the need arises.
A café with patio doors onto decking provides an excellent venue for coffee after worship, soup lunches, discussion groups and, we hope, regular gatherings of parents and toddlers, IT training for older folks, etc.
The original hall is used by many groups (Boys’ Brigade, Guild, Men’s Fellowship, Hobbies Club, etc) and hosts the weekly Coffee Morning, where about 100 folks come each week for chat, refreshments, FairTrade goods and a variety of stalls.
The remaining smaller hall is used for the crèche on Sundays, our midweek Pause for Thought service, hosts the sizable library and is used for a number of meetings.
We’ve gone from one loo to nine.
We are excited by the number of people from the village who have come along simply to see round the facility.
Members of the congregation have expressed delight in the new build and many of our older folks who had stopped coming to worship because of the access issues have enjoyed being back amongst their church family.
The flexible space with great AV and sound gives freedom in worship and we can be together for longer during the service (previously the children and young people had to walk along to the hall), and enjoy refreshments together at the end.
In August, we host GoMAD – an ecumenical mission to the community using Music, Art and Drama, Making a Difference.
We’re looking forward to the possibilities this great venue holds for us."