SCT has some 1270 working Places of Worship on its books and is moving to an Annual Membership. This change is to ensure SCT has current information on its Members which is fed into SCT’s International Database Resource. This International Resource is widely used by Ex Pats and others for research. Annual Membership also increases the sense of ‘belonging’ for members, provides access to SCT’s various support packages and of course, a contribution to core funding. Considerable effort has been put into creating a single platform web site suitable for mobile phones as well as tablets and computers.
SCT has a number of strands all aimed at helping sustain Scotland’s Places of Worship.
Repairs: The ecclesiastical heritage stock is aging and SCT provides advice for self-help as well as grants for repairs to the fabric. We look to support as many POW as we can but this always depends on our getting support from Grant Giving Trusts in the first place! The Grants committee is a well-respected body with professional and academic leaders in their fields, and whilst SCT awards are small, an award from SCT does open other Funding doors. Support is open to all worshipping congregations of all or of no denomination.
Fabric Maintenance: SCT is placing increasing emphasis on Maintenance and Planned Maintenance. Considerable work was undertaken during 2018 to determine a need (506 POW responded to a 27-question survey relating to maintenance needs). In addition, considerable time was spent trying to find a uniform approach that would satisfy all Denominations. This has proved to be very difficult with all major Denominations having their own processes. To expedite this project SCT has embarked upon a small grants project open to all POW to help support basic maintenance. These grants, up to £1000 are aimed at helping reduce capital projects through routine, professional annual maintenance.
The need for this work is clear and SCT is not the only Funder in this area. However, the scrutiny process that SCT carries out prior to an award is viewed by other Funders as a Benchmark and allows some comfort that funds will be used to best advantage.
The Fabric and Maintenance awards make a difference – to the structures and the congregations that use them. The small House-keeping awards are significant in that they may contribute to a reduction in capital projects.
Public Relations: SCT works with POW to increases access opportunities to the public, enhanced welcoming experiences and guide / information material to visitors. SCT’s 14 Pilgrim Journeys offer the opportunities to travel in the footsteps of the Scottish Saints and involves over 500 of Scotland’s Places of Worship along their routes. Promotion of the Places of Worship, and the treasures held within these buildings to the general public is a major strand of our work.
SCT’s Network of Volunteers is able to provide contact, advice and feedback to the SCT Office. Volunteers also help promote the SCT activities such as the “Marion Fraser Memorial Lecture,” our Annual Organ Recital and participating in the CofS Heart & Soul event. Previous Marion Fraser Lectures have been given by The Very Rev Prof Iain Torrance, Prof John Hume, Prof Ian Campbell and in 2019 by the Church of Scotland Moderator rev Colin Sinclair. The 2020 Lecture will be given by Dr. Joe Morrow, Lord Lyon of Scotland and an SCT Trustee. Contact the office for more information.
SCT’s regular “Patron’s gathering” is an opportunity to provide reinforcement to those already supporting SCT and an opportunity to invite high-value guests who may become supporters. Gatherings are help around Scotland to ensure SCT is fully recognised as a National Charity. The Annual Review is also used for this purpose, as are routine Newsletters in which we try to focus on niche areas.
A vital part of our Membership is that Places of Worship have entries on our International database within our web site. This site is viewed by interested parties throughout the world. They do this for a raft of reasons from History, Culture, Genealogy, Architecture, wood caring and stained glass. The site also allows POW to update their information helping in the awareness process.
Organ Playing: SCT is keen to promote the use of organs in POW and offers Bursaries for proficient keyboard players to move to the organ or upskill their organ playing. This is shown to increase the satisfaction level of those attending services. SCT also provides support for concerts using the organ to raise funds.
Church Recording: A new project for 2019 looks at Recording the fixed and movable assets inside a POW. Working with NADFAS and The Arts Society, we will initially record those POW under risk of closure but would hope to move on to cover as many POW as possible. This exciting project will use volunteers and require limited admin input, therefore offering a great value-for-money project. .
These individual projects are all vital on their own but as a whole help support the SCT strapline of “Sustaining Scotland’s Places of Worship” and are totally interlinked.
How to contact us.
Scotland’s Churches Trust
15 North Bank Street
Edinburgh EH1 2LP
0131 225 8644