St Margaret’s uses Fund award to signpost church recovery

A church in the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney is among those to have its good use of a Recovery & Renewal Fund award highlighted recently.

The Fund was established by the Provincial Standing Committee with the objective of helping dioceses and charges finance the costs of adapting and changing to meet the challenges and opportunities created by Covid-19 and its aftermath.

Recent editions of Inspires Online, the monthly e-magazine of the Scottish Episcopal Church, have told the story of how support from the Fund saved a church concert programme in the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway, and transformed a church garden in the Diocese of Edinburgh into an attractive space for the use of the congregation, visitors and wildlife.

In the latest edition of Inspires, St Margaret of Scotland, in Aberdeen’s Gallowgate, was featured among the examples of churches where it was decided that one of the best ways to signal renewal post-pandemic was to improve their signage to the outside world, by either refurbishing or replacing their existing arrangement.

St Margaret’s now has a bright and refreshed sign to attract the attention of anyone passing by in the Gallowgate, directing people to the church and to the community hall. With the church building sitting 50 metres back from the main road, the bright blue sign and noticeboard sign flags up the church’s presence to those who might not take a glance up the adjacent lane.

“The new sign helps to get us noticed,” says the Very Rev Dr Emsley Nimmo (pictured above). “A great many people pass by this way, and we need to let them know that we are here, and we are open.”

In its application for funding, the vestry highlighted its desire to increase the visibility of hall facilities, “leading to improved security of funding available for ministry and mission in the east end of Aberdeen, and enhanced community outreach”.

Other examples included St Andrew’s in Callander (Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane), and Holy Cross in Davidson’s Mains (Diocese of Edinburgh).

The new sign outside St Andrew’s incorporates a QR code, allowing people to access easily further information about the church.

“It took longer than we had anticipated but we finally got it in place in February,” says treasurer Charlie Balding. “It was the Rector’s idea to include a QR code and certainly the website has been taking far higher than normal ‘hits’.

“We were most grateful for the Recovery & Renewal funding, which enabled us to replace the old ‘dog-eared’ sign with something infinitely better.”

Rev Dr Stephen Holmes, Rector of Holy Cross, said that his church decided to erect a new sign and frame out of concern that their rusty faded sign gave the impression that the church was dying.

“Our congregation has been declining for a long time but is now growing,” said the Rector. “Replacing a tired website and a scruffy sign will support this growth and help to show we are a flourishing church.

“I would like to express the gratitude of the vestry for this imaginative use of funds to enable churches like ours to grow and re-engage with their local community.”

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