Welcome to the Review of Church of the Holy
Rood for this strange year, 2019/20. There will
be the usual reports from all the groups, and a
short report from the Treasurer. Of course,
during most of this year the church has been
closed and we have not been able to worship
or participate in our usual activities. Since the
middle of September we have been back,
albeit with the congregation socially distanced,
limited in numbers and being unable to sing –
the greatest restriction of all.
However a lot has happened as you will see.
There has been a great deal of work done at
home and the Ministry Team has tried very
hard to keep you all connected to the church.
We have all become even more aware of the
problems of isolation and depression but on a
more cheerful note, we have all realised how
many blessings we have been given.
It is normally around this time of year, that I would be preparing
to present the annual financial statements to the Annual
General Meeting. However but there will, of course, be no AGM
this year, so I have been asked to prepare a brief financial
At the end of the financial year the church had a little over
£141,500 in the bank, compared to nearly £85,000 at the
beginning – an increase of some £56,500. That is very
encouraging, however, it must be pointed out that during the
year we received a very handsome legacy of over £57,700.
Were it not for this wonderful generosity we would in fact, have
been facing a reduction in funds of some £1,200.
Given the very peculiar set of circumstances that we have been
facing since March, 2020, it is perhaps not surprising that we
are showing a deficit, but nonetheless there are concerns , that
despite the best efforts of the vestry to run the church on as
economic basis as possible, there is a continuing and
underlying decline in income, which presents a problem for the
church going forward.
The fact that there is over £140,000 in the bank should not allow
us to become complacent. £33,000 of this total is earmarked for
our contribution to the costs of the shared transitional ministry
with the Church of the Holy Trinity, Monifieth, over the next
three years and a significant portion of the remainder, will be
put towards the costs of providing kitchen and toilet facilities at
the rear of the church.
In summary then, whilst there is no immediate cause for
concern, the medium to long term position is less satisfactory
and ultimately we will need to find a means of dealing with the
problems facing us.
The new rectory is a very pleasant four bedroomed
villa, situated within a fairly modern housing scheme,
in a quiet cull-de-sac, only about 10 minutes walking
distance from the church. It has a fairly spacious
interior, four bedrooms, with one well located to be
used as a ground floor study, excellent central
heating system with individual room controls. The
building is well insulated with double glazed windows.
There is a garage with ample racking and storage
The house is in excellent decorative order. All the
white goods are in place in a utility room adjacent to
the fantastic kitchen. All the garden is paved, is very
low maintenance and the rear patio is private, well
protected, and also paved.
After the decision to sell the Rectory, it was a joint
effort to get the building and grounds ready to put
on the market. There was much cleaning to be
done and the garden needed to be clearly
defined, which was done at the end of lockdown.
There were a large number of viewings and a
definite offer was received just before lockdown
started, so nothing could be done until
August/September, when restrictions on
conveyancing were eased. Unfortunately, we
were in a chain but the buyer, who is very keen,
has now accepted an offer for his house and the
buyer only has to secure a mortgage for the sale
to go through. That has now been done and the
date of 20 November has been accepted for the
hand-over of keys.
In September, Northern Steeplejacks were, at
last, able to test the lightning conductor system,
which was passed.
There have been some repairs needed to the
Rectory, which required the heating to be on
continuously, to dry out the damp patches. The
blockage in the downpipe has now been repaired
twice, and preventive measures have been taken,
to be sure it won’t happen a third time.
The maintenance to the church roof and building
has been delayed until Spring 2021.
OVERALL PICTURE OF RECTORY AND CHURCH
As reported by Lindsay, the on-going issues with rainwater drainage blockages have now been resolved, by repairing pointing to the wall of the Rectory and taking steps to prevent further obstructions. due to leaves in related rones and downpipe.
New fencing has been installed, to demarcate the garden ground to the
Rectory, and this has been painted.
The driveway, which will provide shared access to the Church and Rectory is to be resurfaced.
Refurbishment of rones, downpipes, slating, cement and replacement /
repointing as necessary of the stonework benchings to the gables and ridge
tiles to the Church is to be carried out, with work starting this autumn and
continuing into spring 2021.
After completion of this work the downpipes, rones and external timber are to be repainted, as part of our on-going maintenance programme. The tradesman dealing with this has advised that availability of black paint (exterior grade) is a cause for delay. It is anticipated that this work will be carried out in the spring of 2021.
The Vestry decided that parts of the planting to the churchyard needed to be
removed/ tidied up. This work was carried out when the fencing to the Rectory boundary was installed. A small group has been established, to conder newplanting and ground treatment to the Churchyard, to minimise on-going maintenance and maximise habitat for birds and insects. This work is underway and new planting, et alia, expected to be carried out in the spring of 2021.
Interior redevelopment of the Church:
The architects who dealt with the planning application, deed plans and revision of their earlier survey drawings, were asked to prepare an initial design for the church redevelopment. After consideration of the proposals and issues relating to timing and engagement with the Vestry by that firm, the Vestry decided that for the new proposals, we should seek alternative visions and services. Our, now, former architects were written to and the change in circumstances advised.
Explanations and discussions of the revised proposals (all work to be to the
interior of the existing building) with the Vestry and congregation have taken place and agreement secured to progress in this way.
The bases for development were agreed as:
A. The Church building must be capable of flexible use – to serve a range of
Church activities and:
• It must serve to attract and involve more people, especially younger
people and be venue for a range of activities (music venue, small
receptions, folk, drama, sport (Martial Arts etc ?), lectures, discussion
groups, day centre, OAP centre, cafe, etc, etc (the church has good
• It must be flexible for a range of uses, be suitable for the elderly as well
as the more active and have a welcoming atmosphere
• Optimise running costs and produce / maximise income – can not just
be for Sundays!
• Must have WCs, kitchenette, serving / layout space and some storage
so that outside organisations can store their kit safely (access from the
main space and/or from rear lobby)
B. Our initial thoughts on this strategy involved the following (most as
discussed on site – some amplified for further development of the brief):
- Form a new lobby at the rear of the Church
- The design should reflect and be sensitive to the quality and attractiveness of the existing church interior
- The screen between lobby and main volume to be essentially storage
- units some accessed from the main space, some from the lobby.
- Provide glazed double doors between new Lobby and Main space / Nave for processional use. (Acoustically insulative performance required)
- So far as practicable the lobby space should be acoustically insulated from the main space (so that is can be used for limited activities when the main space is also being used and to enable catering preparations to take place without disturbing the congregation at worship). Ditto note from WC to Nave.
- The lid/ roof to this space therefore also needs to be acoustically insulating.
- Provide roof lights to Lobby roof/lid to give adequate lighting for general access to Lobby and Nave [artificial lighting will be required for specific use of the Lobby – catering, reception etc]
Consider access to the roof lights for cleaning (Ramsay ladder with
access trap within accessible WC space?)
Remove the Font at the rear of the Church, to maximise available space
in the new lobby
Provide accessible WC with whb and separate single gender free WC
Remove all plaques and memorial boards from west wall of Church /
new Lobby to permit storage to the full height of the lobby along this
wall (relocate plaques/ memorial boards etc to agreed locations within
The storage to include kitchen facilities (sink, draining board, small
cooker, microwave) and serving layout space – probably accessed by
rolling shutters (storage below work surfaces – some storage in
cupboards above – all concealed by vertical rolling shutters)
Provide larger store accessible from the main space (including for some
chairs – check chair stack dimensions to assess potential capacity)
Remove the Pulpit from the main space to permit more flexible use of
the space – including sports use (check area requirements for use of the
space for various indoor sports; badminton, etc)
[The Vestry will commission the design and manufacture of new
portable freestanding Font and Lectern for liturgical use; these to be
stored in the Chancel when not in use on the main church space
Ensure that the views of the west window from the Nave are not
unnecessarily obstructed / respected
Consider swapping the two stained glass windows opposite the main
entrance to the Church with the two clear glass windows adjacent so
that the memorial windows can continue to be seen from the Nave /
main space (identify this cost item separately)
Provide lockable storage to both sides of the entrance porch (below
window height), with provision also for umbrellas and coats (rack)
Consider new lighting to the Nave to provide flexible lighting for different
activities including, possibly, some sports
Provide curtaining / on curtain track / or openable screen to separate
the Chancel from the Nave; inter alia remove pews from Chancel and
replace with flexible seating (as in Nave)
Since this list of requirements/ ambitions was drawn up Covid 19 has
impacted upon us all and we clearly need to integrate implications of this into the redevelopment designs.
New Appointment – New Proposals: Three firms of architects have
been invited to visit, discuss our requirements and ambitions and their
approach to the services required and to present a service and fees package for our consideration. One of the firms reluctantly withdrew from this process, citing lack of spare work capacity at the present time. The two other firms have visited and we await their proposals. It is anticipated that the Vestry will select and appoint new architects to the Church in early course and begin the redevelopment design and delivery process. Initial steps have been taken to establish the brief for storage etc., provisions in the redevelopment proposals.
Nick Charlton Smith, Vestry Member
29th October 2020
We have all been profoundly affected by the Covid pandemic
but the necessary ban on singing during the Church Services,
has proved to be particularly difficult and a sad loss to our
worship. Our Choir last sang together on Sunday March 15th
and at that time comprised 7 sopranos, 4 altos, 2 female tenors
and 3 bass. Fortunately. we had been able to provide music
during Advent and the Christmas celebrations but all our plans
for Lent and Easter came to an abrupt halt at ‘shut down’. We
are very grateful to Joanna Fitzgerald and Duncan Hunter, who
have had permission to sing two hymns for us at each Service,
these past few weeks. We owe an immense debt of gratitude
to our Organist John Cheyne, who has been an invaluable
support, not only for the Choir but for his beautiful playing
throughout this traumatic period of time. We look forward, with
great anticipation, to the time when we are all permitted to
praise God chorally once more, hoping that our vocal chords
will respond tunefully, after such a long lack of use!
The PVG Co-ordinator is appointed to take responsibility on behalf of the Vestry, for ensuring that the work of the Church is carried out in accordance with the Law and the Church’s policies on the protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. These policies focus on prevention and safeguarding by ensuring that anybody appointed, or volunteering to do
“regulated work” with children or vulnerable adults, have their details submitted to Disclosure Scotland, who check for any relevant criminal convictions. Vulnerable adults include those people who, because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness, infirmity or
ageing, are unable to protect themselves from abuse, or are more vulnerable to being abused, than persons who are not so affected. Regulated work could include teaching or supervising Sunday School, or providing some kind of regular welfare service to people with
2020 has not been a ‘normal’ year by any standard and therefore as we all experienced lockdown, our normal Church life ceased to be.
In March we received ‘Coronovirus Safeguarding Considerations’ issued by the Provincial Safeguarding Officers at General Synod Office.
I, for personal reasons, was out of commission during April & May, however, in May Revd. Denise Herbert, the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, produced an article entitled ‘Safeguarding During Covid 19’. This covered Domestic Violence and Cyber Crime. An abridged version appeared in the Brechin Bulletin of 11th May, with a link to the full report.
In June Denise contacted me, asking for an update of who at Holyrood had PVG Disclosures. These I supplied, by return, together with dates these were obtained. There was to have been a training session on 26th September this year but it was decided to cancel this due to Covid 19; a ‘Zoom’ training session is being planned in place of this.
I do believe, that the congregation is aware, that if they have a concern about possible incidents involving children or vulnerable adults, they can still contact the PVG Co-ordinator (me)or the Provincial Officer (Donald Urquhart). Numbers are displayed on both Church
notice boards. Now that we are back in Church, we can all see these contact details. If neither is available and it is felt that someone is at immediate risk, the police or local social work department should be contacted. (numbers also on display)
It’s important to remember, that it is everyone’s responsibility to protect the vulnerable and everyone working in and attending services in the Scottish Episcopal Church, has an important part to play, in developing a safe and supportive culture, within a Church that protects everyone, regardless of the nature of their vulnerability
YCP and Sunday School
The children took part in the Chrismon Service helping Hamish
hang the symbols on the tree and reading out the meanings of the
Santa was unavoidably called away this year. However, he made a
flying visit, to leave gifts for all those on his “Nice” list.
The sponsored Carol Sing raised £156 which was donated to
The Christmas Fayre was a rousing success and the Craft table
raised almost enough on the day, for Caitlyn to go to Glen in August.
We kept the craft stall running each Sunday and continued to raise
enough money to donate some to the Choir, to replace the white
collars on their robes.
The Spring Fayre saw the craft stall raise £70 and this with the
earlier amounts meant that Caitlyn’s Glen costs were met and we
had some left over to put towards travel expenses for Cerys to travel
to our linked Church in Iowa later this year, on an exchange trip.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic all Church activities were suspended
from 23rd March and to date there has been no opportunity to restart the YCP and Sunday School.
We have also had to cancel the Summer Fayre, Quiz Night and
Sponsored Walk. There was no Prize Giving either. We were
meant to be collecting for the Blythswood Shoe Box Appeal this year
but social distancing and quarantining of collections made it almost
impossible to organise. Hopefully we can do this next year.
Looking forward, the chances of a Christmas Fayre and Carol Sing
are unlikely, but hopefully Santa can arrange to drop off a little
something to the children.The Red Stockings will be at the back of the Church from
Alison and Joanna
The Craft Stall
The Ladies Guild, normally, would meet every second Wednesday after morning service. We managed to meet seven times before Covid restricted us. This included one lunch outing to the Golf Hotel which was enjoyed by all.
I think I speak for all the ladies, when I say thank you to all at the Church of the Holy Rood for their continued commitment to our wellbeing, both physical and spiritual.
Guild Secretary and Treasurer
BIBLE STUDY GROUP
The Bible Study group met in Helen Fulford’s house last autumn and again from January 22nd, until the virus lockdown stopped the meetings in mid-February; as usual Helen provided the customary but much appreciated welcome and tea and cakes (for those allowed such luxuries), postdiscussion. This year we were using a study guide to consider “The Jesus Paul Knew” and frequently left the guide behind during discussion, in order to share our own insights or doubts and to learn from each other. Attendance varied between four and eight. For at least some of us, this group has become a useful Wednesday evening habit over the years, to get to read otherwise neglected books of the Bible and to develop fellowship with each other, on occasion even maybe close to the experience of early church house worship – who can say?
Thank you, Helen.