ST ANDREW’S Parish Church has opened again after completion of the renovations, which began last year.
The building, with its new Chapel, Meeting Space, and Office Suite opened and was re-dedicated last Sunday, (April 3).
During the service the new three manual organ, the fulfilled dream of the present minister, was also be dedicated.
The Rev Graeme Longmuir, the 28th recorded minister of The Auld Kirk since 1262, said: “The Kirk Session recognised that we had to build for the future at a time when church attendance was declining and that we also had to take account of the vision of the General Assembly’s commendation of ‘Church Without Walls’, while being aware of the fact that we have a church capable of holding large services. Our seating capacity now is for 500.
“For ten years we have been working towards improving our suite of buildings, consolidating the fabric, installing a new heating system which will be more energy efficient in these ‘greener’ times, and ensuring that we can provide the Garioch with a place of musical excellence to inspire the young to sing and make music.
“We believe that we have now re-created a place of welcome in the centre of the Royal Burgh, as well as a sanctuary available daily for private prayer and meditation, as well as another meeting-space, and a centre from which those inspired by the meaningful worship offered in this sacred space are enthused to take their faith out into the streets.”
Brian Smith, the Director of Music and Organist at St Andrew’s added: “Fundraising was started, at the initiative of the Minister, some nine years ago, when it became clear that the present instrument was in need of major renovation. Exhaustive efforts were made to find a way of restoring the old Conacher instrument within the financial constraints. The difficult decision was taken to purchase an electronic instrument, bearing in mind the striking advances in technology and realistic financial constraints and within a reasonable budget St. Andrew’s has purchased a fine 3-manual Viscount instrument, suited to our needs for Sunday worship, recital and teaching purposes. We are confident that it will enhance our thriving musical tradition in our refurbished church.”
Mrs Kit Pawson, Convenor of the Fund-Raising Committee commented: “As Convenor of the Fund Raising Committee, I am delighted to report that we have raised over £47,000 for the St Andrew’s Church Renovation Fund during the past 12 months. Everyone has worked very hard to achieve this success and we are grateful, firstly, for the loyal and generous support of our own congregation, and, secondly, to the folk of Inverurie, who have attended our various events and given donations. On a personal note, I feel honoured to be chairing this committee as I have long and fond connections with St Andrew’s. My father, the late Rev. Inglis Martin Black, was minister of this church from 1941 - 1957, and I feel sure that he would appreciate how St Andrew’s now looks in the 21st century.”
The Auld Kirk of Inverury was founded in the ninth century at Polnar, It moved to the Bass (Inverurie’s Old Cemetery) around AD 975. About 1015 the Kirk of Rocharl was erected at the Bass and dedicated as ‘The Chapel of St Apollinarus’ – the only dedication to that saint in the United Kingdom.
That kirk with its dependent chapels was itself renovated in 1600, and again in 1615 and yet again in 1667.
In 1725 the Manse was moved from The Bass to a site near to the Sketry Burn, on what is now known as the High Street of Inverurie.
In 1775 a church was built on the High Street near to the Manse. The second church on the present site was built in 1842. In 1965 that building was renovated with the Organ being transferred to the Gallery at the rear of the Church.