Looking after Church buildings

Maintenance and alterations to buildings

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Individual congregations are responsible for maintaining and improving Church of Scotland properties, acting under the supervision of presbyteries. Presbyteries must, in turn, report to the General Trustees, who give practical advice and financial aid wherever possible.

The General Trustees insure their properties through the Church of Scotland Insurance Company, which belongs to them and whose profits are applied for Church purposes. With the backing of the General Assembly, they encourage those congregations whose buildings do not belong to the General Trustees to do likewise.

All alterations made to buildings must be cleared with the General Trustees and they are greatly assisted by the Church Art and Architecture Committee. Congregations which may be thinking about altering a church or hall are very strongly advised to contact that committee at the earliest possible stage.

Manses and Glebes

The trustees are anxious to ensure that ministers of the Church of Scotland are provided with suitable accommodation wherever they may be. Sometimes this can mean that a difficult decision has to be taken to sell an old solid house of character which has been part of the heritage of the Church, but which cannot readily be adapted to the requirements of modern life.

Glebes are pieces of land originally provided for use by the minister. Most of them are now let out for agricultural purposes with rents being used towards the stipend of the minister concerned. In suitable circumstances a glebe or part of it may be sold. The proceeds of sale are invested and the income on these goes towards stipend. The General Trustees encourage the office-bearers in congregations to consider working glebes themselves under an arrangement which allows them to benefit from the profits of their labour.

Financial help

The General Trustees administer the Central Fabric Fund, a general fund from which the trustees can make available grants or loans to congregations facing fabric expenditure, but which do not themselves have enough money in hand to cope. All applications for assistance must have the support of the presbytery. There is never enough money in the Central Fabric Fund to meet all the requests for help from it, and the trustees seek to encourage donations and legacies to the fund. Application forms and other information can be found on our resources pages.

Most of the monies held by the General Trustees are looked after by them through either the Consolidated Fabric Fund or the Consolidated Stipend Fund. Each of these funds is invested in its entirety with shares in the funds being allocated to the benefit of particular congregations.

Money in the Fabric Fund is available to assist the congregation concerned to meet its fabric commitments with both capital and revenue being available in appropriate circumstances.

The capital in the Stipend Fund is permanent and the income on this capital is used to help the congregation concerned to pay its minister.

Resources for congregations

The trustees try to encourage efficiency and thrift in the heating and lighting of our buildings and in the provision of sound systems, and have produced a range of information and resources for congregations. This covers energy conservation, lighting and heating, maintenance, manses and insurance. The Committee on Art and Architecture also produce a range of leaflets covering stained glass and church interiors.