There is much to celebrate as work finally begins on a new build for Portree and Bracadale Free Church and the church community rallies to fundraise for the project.
Over the past few months concrete has been laid on the site, at Shepherd’s Way, and the cornerstone of the building has been expertly laid by the team at RK Joinery.
Dr Charles Crichton, Session Clerk & Treasurer for Portree & Bracadale Free Church, said: “The whole building is dependent on this cornerstone being straight and true and we pray that the work based in the new building will be ‘built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone’ (Ephesians 2:20).”
The single-storey building, with a 90-space carpark, is set to completed by early-summer 2023.
It has taken a lot of work to get to this point. Most of the money has been raised for the church building so far. Unfortunately, the unprecedented rise in building costs throughout 2021 means the congregation still needs to raise funds, to reach the final total of £2.1 million.
Charles said: “We are all aware that there is a long way to go with our fundraising efforts but even since February over £50,000 has been donated towards the new build project. Every single penny counts and we will keep the totaliser updated as we get ever closer to our target of £400,000.”
Among the amazing fundraising efforts by church members is runner Bruce Crawford. He tackled a double marathon plus a few more miles to raise over £12,000 for the building project.
Bruce said: “I would like to thank you all so much for the support and encouragement I’ve received for my fundraising event. I set out to run 52 miles and raise £2,000 and I am astonished to say that the total raised sits at over £12,684 towards our new building project having run over 63 miles.
“Seeing the congregation come together to support and encourage each other has been great to see and hopefully this has shown what we can continue to achieve when our building is completed.”
He said there was a real sense of community through the fundraising venture, and he was so thankful for the support he had received from the community.
Bruce added: “This was uncharted territory for me having never ran as far or for as long as I did during this challenge but the kind words from everyone spurred me on to complete and go even further than intended. The wind and rain added another challenge to the run and really pushed me to my limits.
“I would like to thank Donnie G for being with us at the start and being ever present throughout the night, everyone who saw me off at midnight and who missed out on many hours of sleep to keep track of me through the night.”
The gruelling double marathon has been just one of the fundraising efforts taking place.
Celebrations were held by the church to mark the Queen’s Jubilee. A baking stall raised an amazing £558.74. A 2022 calendar, produced by the congregation and showing Portree and Bracadale scenic views, has also raised £5000.
The congregation has not had its own church building for the past two decades, so it has been meeting in a local primary school. Around 80 people meet on Sunday mornings with up to 70 people joining online. This new-build, which will be on a housing estate, is intended to be a real hub for the community.
To support the new-build project, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/portreefreechurch
Thanks goes to members of Portree and Bracadale Free Church for this selection of photos.