Our plans for the new look of the church can be found here: St Matthew’s building plans.
St Matthew’s parish – facing the next 70 years
Since 1950, St. Matthew’s church has served the parish well. The small, functional building has provided a focus for the Catholic community in the heart of Bishopbriggs, but in recent years it has begun to show its age. The building that many early parishioners literally worked to bring into existence has for a while been showing its age – and its limitations!
Since Mgr. Eugene McGee’s time as parish priest until now, priests and parishioners have discussed, argued dreamt over what it would be like to be able to build a new church. We have explored many options – from the highly unlikely possibility of being able to purchase land in Bishopbriggs, to more recently exploring with East Dunbartonshire Council the possibility of incorporating a completely new church into proposals for a new civic hub amenity in the area known as the Triangle.
The Hub project has been scaled back, and the possibility of a completely new church has ceased to be an option…but we HAVE been working with architects Page \ Park to look as some very exciting possibilities for totally transforming our present building!
A critical look at the building
Over the past few years we have made significant improvements to St. Matthew’s church; most notably new lighting and recent painting. Many features of St. Matthew’s church however present serious problems and difficulties to parishioners, especially the less mobile:
• The single narrow aisle causes major problems, especially for orderly procession to receive Holy Communion, and especially when the congregation is large. • Seats are uncomfortable. • Windows, gutters, brickwork are in a poor state of repair. • Toilet facilities are limited. • The flooring is deteriorating. • The church grounds need repair.
Inventive and imaginative vision for the future
Page \ Park Architects have come up with imaginative proposals for the development of the existing building while retaining its best features and artwork (in particular, the instantly recognisable red brick exterior; the external Benno Schotz St. Matthew Friezes, the Rose Mannering Stations of the Cross).
Current problems would be eliminated by: • the extension of the side wall of the church, allowing us to move the seating and create TWO additional aisles, allowing for ease of movement during the distribution of Holy Communion. • a permanent and prominent baptismal font. • new windows, heating, (comfortable) seating. • flexibility of seating – making available stackable chairs which would only be taken out when needed. • exciting new glass feature on the long wall section which would be extended to create a new aisle. The Church’s external appearance will be greatly enhanced. • a more fitting location for the St. Matthew’s statue.
Many people speak with affection about the church in which they were baptised, made their first communion, were married, their parents’ funerals were held. For 70 years our wee church has provided all these things. These proposals give us the chance of a church building fit for purpose for the next 70 years of the life of the parish I hope you agree!
Father Robert Hill,