Re­vamped church could be open as early as July

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews - Jonathan Ged­des

Work on re­fur­bish­ing St Colum­bkille’s Church has moved into its next stage.

And the re­vamped Main Street build­ing could be open again by the sum­mer, with a July date be­ing tar­geted.

The pro­posed changes will see a host of im­prove­ments made to the build­ing, and in­clud­ing in­stalling a new un­der­floor heat­ing sys­tem, a new lime­stone floor in the nave, in­stalling dis­abled toi­lets, ren­o­vat­ing the church benches, chang­ing the align­ment of the mar­ble sanc­tu­ary steps and a host of other ideas that will bring the church into line with health and safety stan­dards.

These steps will form the sec­ond phase of the church’s re­vamp, which parish­ioners have spent the past few years plan­ning and fundrais­ing to­wards.

Last June the church was closed and ser­vices moved to­wards the Par­ish Hall in­stead.

The to­tal cost of the re­fur­bish­ment is ex­pected to be over £700,000.

Last year the Re­former told how de­lays had hit the project, caused by “ar­chi­tec­tural prob­lems” be­ing found in the build­ing that re­quired more work than orig­i­nally ex­pected.

Fa­ther Pat Hen­nessy is glad that work is now un­der­way, and be­lieves that the changes will help take the church for­ward.

He said: “We’re very re­lieved that ev­ery­thing is on track now. The big­gest changes will be to the heat­ing, the seat­ing and the dis­abled toi­lets too, and it should make things much more com­fort­able.

“Peo­ple have been re­ally gen­er­ous (with do­na­tions and fundrais­ers for the work), which is re­ally amaz­ing.

“We’re happy that we can see the light now.

“It’s been needed and will make the place much more com­fort­able – I think it will make a big dif­fer­ence, al­though we won’t change any­thing inside, be­cause peo­ple love it the way it is.”

How­ever Fa­ther Hen­nessy ad­mit­ted that there have been ben­e­fits to the switch to the Par­ish Hall.

He added: “There’s been an as­pect of the par­ish hall move that’s been very good too.

“It’s meant peo­ple are very close sit­ting to­gether and are talk­ing even more – they’ve been very pa­tient and now ev­ery­one is ready to get back to the church.

“There has been work go­ing on in the church over the past sev­eral months, but now we have a date for when we’ll be able to move back in, which will be July 1.”

St Colum­bkille’s was built in 1940, re­plac­ing an orig­i­nal church founded in 1851.

It is a mod­ern adap­ta­tion of an Ital­ian basil­ica in red brick with stone mar­gins.

Last year the ren­o­va­tion plans were given a boost when they were awarded a £ 15,000 Na­tional Churches Trust Com­mu­nity Grant.

It’s been needed and will make the place much more com­fort­able,”

St Colum­bkille’s

main build­ing should re-open in July

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