Linlithgow’s little church with a big heart needs an upgrade

St Peter's Church in Linlithgow is planning an upgrade
St Peter's Church in Linlithgow is planning an upgrade

A specialist project team at St Peter’s Church has been tasked with developing much-needed upgrades to the building.

The church on Linlithgow High Street has been around since 1928 and its vibrant red door opens up “the little church with the big heart” which is in desperate need of some help.

Members of the project team are working with Rector Christine Barclay to figure out suitable funding methods to allow work to begin.

Plans include a new vestry, a communal area for gatherings, kitchen and an accessible toilet. The current kitchen doubles as a vestry where Rev Barclay has to change and prepare for each service and the narrow room leads onto the toilet.

Andrew Ramsay, who is working on the project team, said: “At this time young parents have nowhere to change their little ones, members of the congregation with physical difficulties cannot access the toilet at all and the older members find it too embarrassing to reach the toilet through the narrow bustling space that is our kitchen and vestry.

“As a church with young families with limited incomes, the older members inevitably succumbing to the passing of years, the funding expenses falls mainly on the few dozen or so of the middle group.”

He said the “badly needed extension” would bring benefit to the congregation and the wider community as it is hoped a new meeting room could be used for various community events.

After speaking with an architect about their requirements and ideas for improvement, plans were described as “trying to build a ship in a bottle” due to the space limitations.

The congregation of around 60 people was asked to put forward their ideas, one of which was to put a chocolate fountain in the new extension. Although slightly obscure, the project team has vowed to make this happen and is seen as somewhat of a target in their project.

Reverend Barclay was appointed to St Peter’s three years ago and said the first time she walked through the big red doors, she knew she wanted to bring about the changes which are now underway.

She hopes the development will be complete before Spring 2017 with proposals to secure funding looking positive at the moment.

The Episcopal Church’s long history in Linlithgow dates back hundreds of years and the current building was funded by Somerset Walpole, who was the Bishop of Edinburgh at the time.