Restoration at Saint Mungo’s

Saint Mungo's Church

Restoration at Saint Mungo’s

We will remember Christmas, 2003 when we re-opened our Church after more than a year of restoration work. It was something we had waited for not only through those fifteen months of construction debris and noise, but for many years.

We put aside the buckets for catching water dripping through the roof. The crumbling stone on the outside and flaking paint on the inside are at last things of the past. We celebrated a homecoming, as we took possession once more of our Church. Time has passed since that happy homecoming, and still we continue to survey the work of restoration with delight and great gratitude.

What has been done

In this first phase of restoration work, the outside of the building has been completely renewed. Slates, stone, glass, lead and cast iron: all the problems caused by years of wear and tear or simply by old age have been dealt with. In addition, many original features which had been lost over the years, particularly over the main entrance, have been re-instated. Many of us have had fun looking for these and seeing how many new/old features we could spot. Right: some of the new/old features of Saint Mungo’s

Inside the Church, painting and stone cleaning have given a new freshness to a building which was quite tired looking before, and a new lighting scheme has enabled us to see the beauty of the Church more clearly. The Munich Glass has undergone full conservation at the studio in Munich where it was made in 1898, and new stained glass above the organ gallery now bathes the Church in richly coloured light. A new sanctuary area in oak reflects into the nave the shape of the old gothic sanctuary, and on a practical level, improvements to the heating system and new roof insulation should make the Church a warmer place to be.

The fourteen Stations of the Cross have been restored and all the benches in the church have been refinished. The corridor leading to the sacristy and halls has been re-roofed; the corridor and sacristy have been re-wired. Our new bookshop opened in April 2006. It is in the former baptistery area and has been separated from the Church by a wood and glass screen in the style of the already-existing screens.

What is still to be done

In the less immediate future, there are other items to be completed before we can say we have finished. A new altar, ambo and chair, more in keeping with the new sanctuary area, have been designed, but are waiting to be commissioned. A new baptismal font and two new reconciliation rooms are still to be designed. Improvements are still to be made around the entrances: we have to install notice boards, draught-proof doors and furnishings for the entrance porches. We also hope to create an exhibition space in the base of the bell tower, and to put the bell back in working order. At some stage, we will also have to put a new floor into the nave, as the present floor is badly worn and uneven after 137 years of use.

In the long term, we would like to see the main sanctuary being re-ordered for today’s liturgy and the columns around the sanctuary, covered over in the early 1950s, being re-instated, but these will have to wait until the debt on the present works is fully paid.

How much do we owe?

The total project cost of what has been carried out in the first phase of works is about £2.2 two million. We have received generous grants from Historic Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Churches Architectural Heritage Trust and the Columba Trust. We have been greatly helped by the Government’s VAT Recovery Scheme for listed churches. Our parishioners and friends have also been very generous in supporting the project financially and in organizing fund-raising activities over the past few years.

When the present works were completed in December 2003, we were left with a debt of £555,000. Through fund-raising and additional grants, that debt now stands at just over £400,000. This is an enormous sum of money for any parish, especially a small one like ours, and the sooner we have it paid off the better for us all.

Our Restoration Debt

During March of 2005, the parish got into financial difficulties meeting the repayments on the bank loan we had taken out to pay for the church restoration work. At this point, a number of people were willing to make a regular monthly contribution to the restoration debt; most people chose to do this through a bank standing order. I wish to thank all those who signed up for this, as this regular payment is a great help to us in meeting our obligations to the bank and your support has lightened the burden considerably.

However, if we are to repay what we owe, we need a lot more people to sign the yellow Bank Standing Order form. I realize that many of our parishioners and friends are already committed to Faith into Action and indeed to other charities, but a contribution of even one pound per week would be a great help to us. If you have not already done so and would like to help us with a monthly contribution towards reducing our debt, there are forms available at the church door.

Cheques for the Restoration Fund should be made out to “Saint Mungo’s Retreat Parochial Account” and can be sent to Saint Mungo’s Retreat, 52 Parson Street, Glasgow G4 0RX. Gift Aid Forms are available for those who pay tax.

Another way to help us would be by making a bequest to Saint Mungo’s in your will. If you have no family to take care of and have been thinking of leaving everything to charity, you need look no further! That way, you can hold on to everything in this life and then pass it on when you will no longer need it. Think about it!

Saint Mungo

Saint Mungo’s Church: Who are we?

Who are we
Saint Mungo’s Church is the only place in the historic centre of Glasgow where the Christian community gathers for prayer and worship morning, midday, and evening, every day.

Founded in 1850, the present parish is bounded by the Rottenrow (south), Petershill Road and Keppochill Road (north), North Hanover Street and Pinkston Road (west), and Wishart Street, Royston Square and Auchinloch Street (east). Since 1865 the parish has been in the care of the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Passion (the Passionists).

In 1999 St Stephen’s Parish, Sighthill, was united with Saint Mungo’s. A group of Passionist Sisters (Sisters of the Cross and Passion) established a community in Pinkston Drive, Sighthill, and now work in the parish team with their Passionist brothers.

Of the people who attend Saint Mungo’s every Sunday, about half live in Townhead and Sighthill. Others come from as far as Dumbarton and Cumbernauld. On weekdays, Mass is celebrated morning, midday and evening, everyday. The church also offers times for confession or spiritual counsel daily (except on Sundays).

There are three schools in the parish. About 250 children ages 5 through about 11 attend Saint Mungo’s Primary School, in Parson Street; Saint Stephen’s Primary School in Pinkston Drive caters for about 200 children, and there are 60 children (from all over the north side of Glasgow) at Saint Kevin’s School (for children with special educational needs), which is in Fountainwell Road.

For more than 40 years the parish has provided the home for a day centre for retired adults where meals, classes, and other opportunities are available. On any weekday, around 50 people use this facility, which is open to all older adults in the neighbourhood. Special care is provided for those recovering from stroke and for dementia sufferers. Saint Mungo’s Day Centre is located in the parish hall facility at 31 McAslin Street (tel: 0141.552.8999). left: mosaic at entrance of St Kevin’s School.

Our Youth Group (ages 16-25) organises a monthly Youth Mass on Sunday evenings. Some of the group took part in the World Youth Day in Rome (2000), Toronto (2002) and Cologne (2005). The group has started planning for 2008 when the next World Youth Day will be held in Sydney.

As a city church, Saint Mungo’s draws its congregation from a wide area. Its mission extends beyond geographic confines in part because of its proximity to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, to the busy Merchant City, Glasgow Caledonian University, and Strathclyde University. Because the church has been entrusted to the care of a religious order, the Passionists, the order’s spirituality or charism also attracts many people who do not live nearby.

In our diversity of age and interests, we unite in prayer for the needs of the world around us and in reaching out to our community.

Saint Mungo’s Church: Who is Saint Mungo?

Saint Mungo's Church

St Mungo, also known by the less familiar name Kentigern, was a bishop and evangelist of Strathclyde. His early teacher, Serf, may have been responsible for giving Kentigern his popular monniker of Mungo, which means ‘dear one’.

Legends abound about his life. Some believe he was the illegitimate son of royalty, perhaps the grandson of Urien. Ruins of a chapel near outside Culross mark the spot where his mother, Thenew, may have been cast ashore and where she gave birth to Mungo. Alternatively, some think Mungo and his mother had been set adrift in the Forth and landed safely in the Christian community at Fife.

Statue of St Mungo, near altar at Church of St Mungo, GlasgoTradition suggests that Serf at Culross educated Mungo; Irish religious thought and practice grounded his religious training. Indeed, Mungo apparently had contact with the bishop Columba of Iona near the end of that saint’s life. An early story about Mungo is that he restored life to Serf’s pet robin, who had been maliciously killed by some young hooligans.

He arrived in Glasgow around 540 and was consecrated Bishop of Strathclyde by an Irish bishop. St MungoGlasgow’s Cathedral along the Molendinar Burn is the fourth to be built on the site of Mungo’s seventh century wooden church.

Mungo did not, according to tradition, select the church’s site himself. Rather, he found St Fergus dying by the roadside and placed him gently in an oxcart. Mungo instructed the oxen to take the cart wherever God wante, and the oxen stopped at a place blessed by St Ninian about 200 years before. Mungo buried Fergus there and built the church at the site, as well.

Visitors may notice that Glasgow’s coat of arms includes a fish and a ring, as well as the bird described above. The fish and ring refer to a story in which St Mungo helps a queen, Languoureth, distressed by having lost her husband’s ring. Perhaps the queen had given the ring to a lover; perhaps the angry king retrieved his jewelry while the errant knight slept. The King tossed it into the river Clyde and taunted his wife to find it in three days (or, variously, to wear it at dinner that evening). Mungo comforted the distraught woman and sent a monk to fish the river. A salmon was caught and, somehow, the salmon had the ring in its mouth. The banqueting room in Glasgow’s City Chambers displays a painting by Alexander Roche about the story.

The story’s improbability leads some to doubt its historicity. At the very least, its tenacious association with St Mungo hints at his role as trusted advisor and confidant for leaders of the day. Modern monarchs might wish for someone as discreetly effective as Mungo.

Indisputably, a sermon by St Mungo provided Glasgow’s motto: Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word. When a lawyer designed the city’s coat of arms in 1868, the motto was truncated to its first three words, as perhaps befits the secular aspirations of trade and industry.

Mungo, the ‘dear one’, carried out his work of preaching the word for a relatively long time; some information suggests that he died in the first decade of the seventh century in his 80s.
Saint MungoSaint Mungo's Church