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CONVENER - Stuart Young
The external redecoration of the timber doors to the Halls has now been completed, thereby sealing the wood and prolonging the life of the doors. One leaf of the main front doors to the Sanctuary has recently jammed making it difficult to open. It was thought that the lintel above the door had cracked and dropped, however, having had the door inspected by both a Structural Engineer and Stuart Wallace who designed and donated the doors, it is now believed that the lintel is no more than an artificial sandstone render. It would appear that this crack has not in fact deteriorated over a period of twenty five years, but rather the top rail of the door has expanded as a result of water ingress through the hole drilled for the security light cable. The original installers of the door have been instructed to trim and re-seal the top rail and to seal the hole around the security light.
The heating boilers have been serviced and progress has been made in having the heating balanced to deliver heat between the halls and the Sanctuary. Working with such an old and poorly designed system is not easy and we are grateful to Evelyn Wallace for her perseverance in resolving this issue.
Members of our Finance Committee have successfully secured two offers of grant funding towards the roof project, but as you will read in Robert Coulter’s Finance Report elsewhere in this magazine it is doubtful whether the works will be able to be undertaken in this year. Nevertheless, this major project will remain the main focus of the Committee in the forthcoming months.
The self help group remains very busy and have amongst other items recently re-varnished the hall floors, attended to numerous leaks, and restored the bench that was originally donated to the Church by the Youth Fellowship during my time in that organisation (too many years ago that I care to recall!). There is no doubt that we at Williamwood are facing uncertain and challenging times, and we are therefore increasingly indebted to these individuals for all their help.
Electrical repairs continue to dominate the repairs to the church. The circuit which serves the sound system, the entrance vestibule and the cross atop the bell tower has been particularly problematic, although the board has now been replaced and all 3 circuits are now operating correctly. The external redecoration works are now under way and, weather permitting, will be completed by the time that this article is published.
We are experiencing water ingress at the wall-head between the small and large halls, resulting in water penetration to the small hall and the Session House Corridor stairs. A specification for repair works has been prepared and is currently out to tender. On a wider note the major roof repair remains firmly within our focus and the first positive response of grant support has now been received. The finance committee are continuing to seek assistance for these essential works and we hope to receive confirmation of additional support in the New Year.
Whilst the heating boilers continue to serve us well despite being long past their life expectancy, the pumps that push the hot water around the system have proven to be less reliable, and one of these has required to be replaced. All being well the recent repairs should ensure that the premises are adequately heated through the winter months. At this point, it would be appropriate to thank Evelyn Wallace and her team for ensuring that the premises are heated for the varied users of our premises.
Our self help team remain as busy and committed as ever. The refurbishment of the Annex has now been completed, the small hall floor has been re-varnished, the redundant lamp standards at the entrance to the church have now been removed, blocked drains have now been cleared, and a multitude of other items attended to.
The gardening group will continue to meet on the second and fourth Tuesday afternoons of each month during the winter. I am sure that we have all noted (perhaps with a degree of envy!) the condition of the church grounds, and we are grateful to these individuals for their efforts.
On behalf of the Property Committee, I would like to thank the congregation for their support over the last year, and would wish you all a very Merry Christmas with best wishes for 2012.
A self help group have been maintaining the grounds of the Church on Tuesday evenings over the summer and their efforts are clear to us all. They have pruned bushes, cut the hedges, weeded the flower beds and provided some beautiful planters at the door to the Church, and we are very grateful to them for their efforts. Although the summer (or what we had of it!) is now drawing to a close, if you wish to join this happy throng of Gardeners, of all ages, please speak to Jimmy Craig and come along for a time of fellowship and weeding.
Self help has again been used to redecorate the former Church Officer’s flat, re-varnish the floor of the large hall, and carry out innumerable miscellaneous repairs. I would not wish to embarrass these individuals by naming them, but I am grateful to them all. The annex has been refurnished, and with a few minor tweaks will soon be ready for occupation by our young people.
There are some items where self help is not appropriate, and we shall shortly be undertaking an external redecoration scheme designed to preserve the woodwork at the ground floor level of the Church. This work will be completed within the next few weeks.
Presbytery approval has been sought for the replacement of the Church heating boilers which are in excess of 40 years old. It is hoped that we may secure funding for these improvements as part of the Roof Repair project.
The process of reporting defects in the Book in the Vestibule appears to be working well, and I am grateful to all of the contributors for their observations – I do rely on you as being my “Eyes and Ears”. Alternatively, should you have any comment on the fabric of the Church, or if you feel able to assist in one of the many self help projects that are an essential part of our Church life, please do not hesitate to contact me.
My first duty as the new Property Convener must be to thank my predecessor, Tony Drysdale who served this church tirelessly for 8 ½ years. His tenure was marked by some major projects including the recovering of the flat roofs and the recent improvements to the Manse which he carried out with the same dedication as all of the countless minor tasks that somehow just seemed to get done. Williamwood is indebted to Tony.
At the same time I must also record the thanks of the committee to Jim Purvis and David Oattes, who whilst they have now left the Board continue to assist the property committee through their participation in the DIY Group, as well as participating in the locking up rota.
Over the years the role of the Property Convener has changed, and not for the better. When we lost the services of a Church Officer it was assumed that many of these duties would be met by the Property Convener. This situation was untenable. In the vestibule there is a Property Book in which I would encourage you to note any items that are of concern. The Property Committee will monitor the book, and will allocate repairs either to the DIY Group or if necessary an external contractor. It may be that some repairs are not actioned immediately and are deferred until it is efficient to carry these out, and in this respect I thank you in advance for your patience.
We continue to carry out minor housekeeping repairs to both the church and manse, primarily through the DIY group, and most notably you will soon see the removal of the two lamp standards at the entrance to the church. These have been repeatedly vandalized and have been replaced with wall mounted lights. The steps at Seres Road have suffered from frost damage, with one of the nosings having already collapsed and others in a perilous condition. A contractor has been appointed and is on standby to repair these once a suitable window in the weather appears.
If you have any questions, or indeed if you would like to volunteer for the DIY group, (no prior experience necessary) please do not hesitate to contact me or write it in the book!
Have you noticed a bulb has gone out? Is there a door that does not shut correctly? Please report such items in the Register in the vestibule.
For Church heating please contact Evelyn Wallace.
For Hall lets please contact Fiona Gunning.
PROPERTY COMMITTEE by Tony Drysdale
Over the past few months a full survey of the church buildings has been carried out and the surveyor, Rob Gavin of Robert Gavin Associates, presented his interim report to the Congregational Board at their last meeting. The reason for this survey was the fact that there was efflorescence showing on the wall above the pulpit and there was also a crack in the plaster finish above the lectern. Estimated costs, which are in the tens of thousands, have been provided by the surveyor. These have been incorporated into a ten year plan and are being discussed by the Property Committee and the Finance Committee in order to manage these costs over the ten year period.
Our buildings are now over 70 years old and the lead flashing that was installed when the church was built in 1937 has reached the end of its useful life. This requires to be renewed now and the associated work of pointing the brickwork and replacing the roofing felt and slates should be done at the same time. The Finance Committee are looking at ways in which the funding for this work can be obtained.
Most of the work that has been required in the church and manse over the winter months has been done on a self help basis.
The contract has been signed for the maintenance of the grounds for the coming year and the first cut of the grass will be at the beginning of March with the last cut in October.