Greyfriars Kirk are pleased to announce that the former Kirk O’Field Church and St Ninians Centre, which united with the Kirk in October 2013, has been renamed and relaunched as the Greyfriars Charteris Centre. It provides community facilities that are currently used by a wide range of local clubs and organisations including the Kirk O’Field Sanctuary, St Ninians Hall, Harry Miller Hall, Baillie Meeting Room and St Ninians Centre Offices.
In rebranding the centre, we also formally move forwards with ambitious development plans to make this suite of buildings that date back over 100 years into a more user friendly resource that “Connects Communities” through “Wellbeing, Enterprise, Arts and Resourcing”.
The new name for the centre builds on the vision of the man who developed the former St Ninians Mission and to whom the Kirk O’Field Church was originally dedicated because of his incredible contribution to the Church of Scotland in the late 1800’s – the Very Reverend Professor Archibald H. Charteris. He was responsible for the setting up of the Order of Deaconesses; the Diaconate; the Womens Guild (now the Guild) of the Church of Scotland; Crossreach (formerly the Church of Scotland Board of Social Responsibility); Life and Work Magazine – amongst many other notable activities. And this was enabled through the St Ninians Mission which forms part of the site of Greyfriars Charteris Centre now.
At a special launch event, invited guests were shown displays of what is happening now and of some of the early plans for the hoped for redevelopment. There were also presentations from Rev Dr Richard Frazer (Minister of Greyfriars Kirk) who is leading the vision for the development, and Lt-Col John Charteris MBE MC (Great Great Nephew of Rev Charteris) who spoke of Archibald’s vision for empowering people.
Rev Dr Richard Frazer
We will develop the centre in a way that does not identify problems in our community that need to be addressed, rather we will look at community assets, see what is already here, what potential exists, what are the barriers to involvement and what groups can offer to one another, building a community focussed asset. The new centre will have a number of paying partner organisations that will utilise purpose built space. It will run as a social enterprise with a central hub for hospitality with a small staff team and will encourage active volunteering and involvement of the local community, creatively working with the tension between communities of interest and communities of place. A key feature is that all partners will be asked to consider ways in which they can contribute to the wider role of the centre.
Lt-Col John Charters MBE MC
Archibald’s great spiritual strength allowed him to be a great encourager. His early vision for the Guild in 1884 was for a movement of all the willing women workers in a Parish, old and young, rich and poor, for mutual help and united action”. Spiritual gifts and practical action were his watchwords. We can see this in his response to the needs of city’s poor. What he did was to get people involved. This was his advice: “It is they who dream bright dreams that in the end deliver. Do not be afraid or ashamed to announce your splendid hopes. It is enthusiasts the world needs.” This is what you have here. A dream come true for your community.
Dan Rous, Development Manager
I am thrilled to be able to work on this project which will see us, over the next couple of years, create a workable, fundable and sustainable plan to enable these amazing buildings serve another generation. But our vision begins now as we aim to enable communities of all kinds to connect to each other and to services that will help them reach their full potential.
Brothers Andrew Charteris (left) and Lt-Col John A. Charteris MBE MC (right), great great nephews of the Very Reverend Professor Archibald H. Charteris, pictured with Reverend Dr Richard Frazer (centre), Minister of Greyfriars Kirk.
The gathered audience at the launch event featuring premises users, local community organisations, partners, council staff and elected members: