MSPs back call for Songs of Praise to be recorded at Alloa church

MSPs are urging the producers of the longest running religious TV show in the world to feature an Clackmannanshire church to mark its 200th anniversary.

They say including St Mungo's Parish Church in Alloa in the popular BBC One programme, Songs of Praise, would be appropriate given the “huge milestone” for the congregation and local people.

Songsstockbridge
Songs of Praise was filmed at Stockbridge Parish Church last month.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alexander Stewart said the church was holding a number of special events to mark the bicentenary in 2019 and wanted to share the celebration with a wider audience.

The programme producers have already expressed an interest in featuring St Mungo’s and a motion calling on them to follow through has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament.

A total of 20 Conservative, Labour and SNP politicians have signed it so far.

Remarkable

Mr Stewart, a Tory MSP, said: “St Mungo’s Parish Church means so much to Alloa.

“It is the hub of the community and instrumental in encouraging and nurturing tolerance, understanding and belonging.

“Led by a minister who is prepared to get out and engage with the community, Rev Sang Yoon Cha is immensely charismatic and engaging.

“Under his leadership, St Mungo’s actively fosters this sense of sanctuary, support and belonging.

“With this in mind, I feel that the interest which the Songs of Praise has taken in St Mungo’s Parish Church is highly warranted.

“We very much hope that this can come to fruition by the producers agreeing to support the church and making a programme there for the coveted 200th anniversary.”

St Mungo
St Mungo's Parish Church in Alloa, Clackmannanshire.

Mr Cha, a former Hollywood agent who has been in post since 2011, said he was grateful for the support from MSPs.

“As St Mungo's plans to celebrate 200 years on its current site in June 2019, we would like to share the attendant joys and challenges of being Jesus Christ's church in Alloa with a wider audience,” he added.

“To this end, we would like to encourage Songs of Praise to join us to hear the stories that constitute this remarkable and resilient community.

“Clackmannanshire may be the smallest county in Scotland but we are a good one too.”

Stained glass

Repairs are being carried out to the neo-perpendicular Gothic church, Session House and Porch roofs, external walls and a number of internal alterations are being made.

The church is to be fitted with a new stained glass window which will symbolise its history and the importance of the River Forth and glass-making industry to the town.

The church, which has a rectangular plan with low square towers at each angle, has received £248,000 in Heritage Lottery funding.

The initial designs for the window are expected to be ready by the end of this year with installation complete in early 2018.