The church of St Paul’s was built in Burnthouse Lane to serve the new estate growing up in that area. On a large site was built a temporary church which became the church hall, a vicarage and a new church. There were some problems early on – there was not enough money to finish the church which ended up considerably smaller than planned.
The area was well served by St Paul’s, its congregation and its clergy. But gradually problems grew ever larger. The vicarage was the subject of an arson attack and remained derelict ever since. The hall gradually became out of date and was expensive to maintain; it was the subject of repeated vandalism. The church itself and the site it was on began to look forlorn and isolated. Not surprisingly attendance at the church declined dramatically, though it was still well used for baptisms and funerals.
What to do with a large site? We decided the present arrangement was no longer serving the community. We have embarked on an ambitious scheme to produce a church and a community centre which will serve and enhance the area. We have sold much of the site to a housing association, Torr Homes, who have built 23 units of housing there, which is affordable / rented housing. This has been much welcomed by the council’s housing department.
We also plan to build a community centre with an integral worship area or church inside it. We have undertaken extensive consultations with the local community to see what might be included and how it might best serve the needs of the people. We hope it will be warmly welcomed and well used. Much money must be raised before our vision becomes reality, but we stress every penny we have received from the sale of the site goes into the new project. It will include a cafe, and very well equipped professional kitchen, meeting rooms and a larger community room – and of course a church, for worship will be important part of the life of this building.
But while we are raising money and there is no actual church building, we shall nonetheless still continue to have St Paul’s. We shall be on the streets, in the school and around.
If you do want to be involved in the project, do contact Fr Paul Morrell.