New architect-designed church created from former retail space
Published on 24 November 2023 2 minutes read
A new architect-designed church has been created out of a former retail space on the outskirts of Perth.
The place of worship, which is part of the Bertha Park development of 3,000 homes and a new high school, will be used as a base by the minister, and the wider community.
Open since mid-September, it's hoped that over time the innovative site will inspire future initiatives, ultimately integrating successfully into the area as it develops.
Working alongside The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, Perth Presbytery formed a Mission Initiative to create a new type of church which would foster strong ties with those living nearby.
The community hub, in partnership with local residents, is already hosting activities for all ages: Bertha Blethers - a lunch club, Youth drop ins in partnership with the YMCA Tayside, taster sessions for pre-schoolers, Coffee & Chat drop ins, Bertha Park Residents' Group meetings and community council meetings.
Rev Anne Stott, Community Minister at Bertha Park said:
"I love working with the folk in Bertha Park.
"It's exciting to see how a new church might develop in a completely new housing area and finding new ways of being church that work for this century.
"It's also exciting seeing the enthusiasm residents have for building their new community."
Rev Dr John Ferguson, Clerk to Perth Presbytery, said:
"Presbytery is delighted at the progress being made with the development at Bertha Park.
"It is a clear sign that the Church of Scotland is active within our communities and can reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ without necessarily having a conventional church building in doing so.
"We believe that the Bertha Park project points to the exciting future that the Church has in communities throughout our Presbytery.
"It is a reminder that while there are many situations of concern about the closure of buildings, there is also much good news in our Presbytery to celebrate."
Award-winning architects Aitken Turnball are behind the transformation which aims to blend seamlessly with the area around it.
Sebastian Mercer, senior architect at the firm, said:
"In our 130-year history, I believe this is the first time we've been asked to design a new church building.
"The overall objective was to create a flexible open plan space, providing a workable and interchangeable home to various community activities.
"We were delighted to be appointed to work with Perth Presbytery on such an interesting and inspirational focal point on the Bertha Park Development.
"The Church is destined to be the cornerstone of the community."