Moderator rededicates historic Aberdeen church given £1.5 million makeover
Published on 17 December, 2016
More than 300 people attended a special service yesterday to rededicate an historic church in Aberdeen which has had a £1.5million refurbishment.
The special guest at Mannofield Church was Moderator of the General Assembly Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, who was accompanied by his wife Margaret.
Dr Barr unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
The Moderator said a huge amount of money and effort had gone into renovating and restoring the historic building to ensure it is fit for purpose in the 21st century.
Minister Keith Blackwood said the eight-year project had been a labour of love for the congregation and described the church as a welcoming "hub of care and support for the local community".
The church, which hosts a wide range of community and support groups, underwent improvements to the roof, steeple, clock face, brick work and landscaping.
A new welcome foyer at the front with glass doors into the sanctuary has been installed along with new toilets, office space and a vestry that allows access into other parts of the building.
The pews have been removed to make the sanctuary a more versatile space for holding worship and other activities and a new floor with underfloor heating has been fitted.
The Audio Visual System has been upgraded, large cupboards have been installed in the hall and new meeting rooms and a communal kitchen has been built.
A Heritage Trail based on the history of the church and local community has been created.
Visitors with smart phones can call up information via quick response codes dotted around the building.
Space has been set asidefor a community café in the near future.
Hopes and dreams
Dr Barr said: "Margaret and I spent a wonderful morning in Aberdeen at a service to rededicate the beautifully refurbished Mannofield church.
"The minister, Keith Blackwood, had invited people from the local community, politicians, the architect and representatives from the various firms involved with the work to join the congregation.
"There was a very large congregation to celebrate the occasion .
"There was a warm and friendly atmosphere and during the service I unveiled a commemorative plaque.
"The whole project has taken eight years to complete and Keith and his Kirk Session and congregation are to be congratulated on their vision and hard work to create a sanctuary and suite of halls which are fit for the church of the 21st century."
The congregation, which met in the church hall while renovations were underway, raised nearly £1million through a wide variety of funding raising activities.
It received £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £180,000 from other trusts.
Mr Blackwood said: "It was a fantastic day with well over 300 people in church.
"A fitting recognition of all that's been achieved but a real focus too on a wonderfully positive vision of the future."
Mr Blackwood thanked the Moderator and his wife for attending and said "exuded great warmth and encouragement".
"This project has been a long time in the planning and it is great that now we have reached a stage where we can move on from the focus on buildings to the business of mission and outreach in the parish and beyond," said the parish minister.
“The focus on the buildings has always been not an end in itself but we have recognised that to more effectively build connections with a generation of people missing from the church, we needed to upgrade and modify our buildings in order to create a more welcoming and flexible space.
“I have been blessed with a Kirk Session committed to a vision for congregational life that goes beyond buildings and the traditional church model and which recognised the need for the church to adapt and be more proactive in our community.
“I will forever be in gratitude to a congregation that has been relentless in its desire to raise the money to meet the costs of the building project.
“All-in-all, ‘Faith’ has been apparent in abundance and I look forward to that same ‘Faith’ driving us forward as we begin to use our buildings and progress our journey towards a more varied and generationally acceptable style of worship and involvement in community life.”
Imagination and sensitivity
Mr Blackwood said all the Church teams involved in the project have been “magnificent”.
“We have been brilliantly served by architects Mackie Ramsay Taylor, quantity surveyors, main contractor Burns Construction and sub-contractors throughout,” he added.
“We set out intentionally to use local firms as we felt it was important to do so and we have been delighted with the response, imagination, sensitivity and skill shown.”