Bi-Con-Cent – The Bi-Centenary Conservation Project of St Mungo’s
In 2014 the Church of Scotland’s surveyors carried out a routine inspection of St Mungo’s to check and report on the condition of the building. The report that resulted was a catalogue of problems that extended throughout the building … and fail to report on at least one significant condition – the presence of asbestos insulation in the roof and elsewhere.
To summarise the work done, we have:
1. Commissioned a full asbestos survey and had all asbestos professionally removed. (This had to be the first job as much of the asbestos was insulating redundant heating pipes in the roof space and the roofing contractors would not have replaced the roof until it had been removed.)
2. Stripped the main roof, inspected (and repaired as required) the roof timbers, installed a new breathable membrane and retiled the roof with new slates.
3. The flat roofs of the porch and Session House have been replaced.
4. Over 400 stones, damaged by 200 years of weather and pollution, located in the East, South and West walls have been replaced. This is an ongoing need due to weathering and a 10 year maintenance plan.
5. To support the various heritage projects arranged to correspond with the conservation, the Session House kitchen has been completely refitted and updated.
6. The East end of the sanctuary has been remodeled – the tiered pews have been removed and a level, vanished wood floor installed. The storage area in the north-east corner has been fitted with a serving hatch and boiling water supply to facilitate the service of simple refreshments after worship and social events.
7. Tables and chairs have been provided in the open, social area. These have been donated by St Mungo’s Guild.
Of course, all of this came at a cost. In round figures the cost to complete this work has been £650,000. We have been blessed that it has not been necessary for all of this to have been raised by the congregation. We were successful in our application for a grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland totalling £250,000. The congregation raised £60,000 through fundraising activities and events and through generous donations from individuals. The balance came from [all of our] reserves, a grant and loan from The Church of Scotland, sponsorship of a commemorative window by O-I Glassworks and generous donations from friends in the Chodae Church in New Jersey.
Now, the physical work has been completed and we celebrated 200 years of the current building in, and part of, the community of Alloa. The various events and activities are detailed elsewhere in this site and there were events to celebrate the long history of St Mungo’s Parish Church here, in Alloa. The highlight was the Bicentenary Service on 20 June 2019 when members of the congregation were joined by friends and visitors from home and abroad. The service was led by our own minister, Rev Sang Cha, and the sermon was preached by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Colin Sinclair. This was a truly memorable evening followed by refreshments and fellowship in the marquee in the Church grounds.
The Conservation Committee are grateful for the support it has received from the whole of the Church family.