Those who tuned in for the Moderator’s Pentecost service will not have failed to be inspired by his call to ensure a positive future for the church and to trust in and depend upon God that we will find ways to do this. That service is available on the Church of Scotland website and those not on the internet can phone the church office for notes of the service. This echoed words from our own minister in her sermon the previous Sunday when she said, “Despite the circumstances of the last few weeks the vision that we have been working towards to ensure the future of a church here in the community of Clarkston seems even more relevant and urgent. As we stand on the brink of a new future for the church nationally, now more than ever, we need to move forward quickly to ensure the future of the church here in Clarkston”.
The vision of the future that we have for Greenbank is not one about buildings, although at times the buildings work seems to take centre stage. Our vision is of creating a sustainable, worshipping congregation for generations to come. A church characterised as being welcoming, relevant to the lives of people, open seven days and at the heart of meeting community needs. Given all that, we are going through at the moment, and it has brought many challenges and great sadness to many, we must not lose sight of this vision of a positive and exciting future for our church and community.
Previously I have said that we are trying to get to the point when we are able to come to you with a clear set of recommendations on how we can bring our vision to life. To get there, as you know from the last update, we have to establish the value of the land to the north of the sanctuary, the Sheddens side, as this will be the main source of funding any work we want to do. In addition we need a design for the renovation of the sanctuary and its extension in order to accommodate all we want to do. I can now bring you right up to date on both of these matters.
Last December I let you know that Savills had issued information to the property market inviting expressions of interest in the north site. We were delighted to receive a number of very attractive bids for the north site involving both housing and care facility developments. Through a number of meetings, we have settled on one preferred bidder whose plan is to create a fifty bed care facility. This bid appealed for a number of reasons, not just its financial attractiveness and that they would be a good neighbour for us but also the fact it meets an unmet need in our community for such facilities. The Kirk Session has agreed that we should now negotiate detailed terms with that bidder alone in order to arrive at a final conditional contract. It is at that stage we will have more clarity on the funds we will receive.
At the same time, we had invited a number of architects with relevant church experience to express an interest in working with us on the renovation and extension of the sanctuary. A number of presentations were made and finally, one architect was preferred. The Session has agreed to appoint Page and Park and they will start work shortly to generate their design ideas, responding to the brief we have provided. This will include looking at the renovation of the manse and the feasibility of one or two houses being built for sale on the land to the south of the Manse abutting Mansefield Road but set back from the trees. They have a great deal of experience doing this kind of work for churches and in preparing interesting ways in which to describe their ideas to congregations.
These two pieces of work, the contract for the sale of land and the plans for the sanctuary and manse, need to be completed before we can then come to you with plans and firm recommendations for your consideration. That will be an exciting time for all of us as we see for the first time what our church might physically look like but also the possibilities it holds out for creating that sustainable worshipping congregation for future generations. We would hope to be in a position to do this towards the end of this year. Nothing, of course, will proceed without fully informed congregational approval.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or points you want to raise then please let the Legacy Project Group know by writing to the church office at Greenbank Church Office, 36 Eaglesham Road, Clarkston, Glasgow, G76 7DJ or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair, Legacy Project Group