Coldingham and St Abbs congregation will be welcomed back into Coldingham church this Sunday following months of alterations.
Over £250,000 has been spent on this ancient (Category A Listed) church which now has disabled access, an emergency exit and inside a kitchen/meeting room with disabled toilet, along with flexible seating.
“The work will be rounded off this year with repairs to the church windows and the restoration of the pipe organ, taking the expenditure to over £300,000,” explained David Campbell, treasurer and clerk to the Congregational Board of the Parish Church of Coldingham & St Abbs.
“This expenditure has been financed principally from parish resources and with some grant support from National Churches Trust and the Baird Trust. The parish had available the proceeds from sale of the former St Abbs Parish Church as well as money in a dedicated organ fund.”
Greta Philp added: “For years we have only had one door and no disabled access, now we have three doors, a lift, underfloor heating, new seating and a donation of lighting which highlights the architecture of the building,” added Greta Philp.
“We are also in the process of moving the organ having made a small meeting room, kitchen and disabled toilet at the back of the building.”
The Priory in Coldingham has been a place of Christian worship for over 900 years. Founded in 1098, it became the northernmost house of the monks of St Cuthbert, but when it was appropriated in the 15th century by the Kings of Scotland it went into decline.
The present Coldingham church includes remnants of a 13th century building
“Not only does this work improve the facilities for worshipers, the parish want more users to take advantage of the facilities,” continued David.
Local groups will have access and it is hoped that paying users will also make use of the building - for church away-days, historical seminars or for concerts that exploit the building’s good acoustics.
Over the summer, visitors will be welcomed on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, and events are being organised to let people become familiar with this new-look place of worship.
This Sunday Rev Andy Haddow will lead worship at 10am in the Priory church and all are very welcome.