Link to latest update

The situation

Owing to the dangerous state of two windows on the western side of the church, Colonsay Parish needs to raise £10,000 by May 2015. The active congregation is quite small, but the church does play an active part in the life of the community and it is available to all, not just for worship but for baptisms, weddings, funerals and also for cultural purposes lectures, recitals and study groups are all welcome. It was built in 1802 at a time when Colonsay had a population not far short of one thousand people, and today there must be upwards of a million people worldwide who have some link with the building through the marriage, baptism or funeral of one or more of their forebears.

The work required

The Parish Church, which is a Listed Building (Grade B), was recently the subject of a professional inspection and it was noted that BOTH the western windows are in a very poor state; one of them is actually so fragile that it has had to be strengthened as a temporary measure, to minimise any risk of implosion in high winds.

The new windows must be in hardwood and it is clear that the other windows must also be subjected to serious conservation treatment as regards treatment of bare wood and putty, prior to normal protective and decorative paintwork for all of them. One or two minor repairs of a long-standing nature must also be addressed; the roof was stripped, felted and re-slated about thirty years ago, and if use of a cherry-picker can be arranged this will be a good opportunity to secure or replace any loose or missing slates. The vestry roof was not re-slated at that time and now requires attention.


Unfortunately, this important work will be expensive. The new windows will cost £5,200 and the total costs including freight, preparation, installation, glazing, ancillary works plus transport and accommodation of the contractors means that parishioners must try to raise £10,000 in all. This is a huge sum for a tiny congregation and all help will be warmly appreciated. It is very encouraging to report that before this appeal was even launched (7 February 2015) one islander came forward and contributed £100. Will there be another ninety-nine?

How to contribute

Please note that any UK taxpayer can use Gift Aid to boost their contribution by 25% (assuming 20% tax rate) if they are happy to complete the simply but necessary declaration. This is of huge significance, here is a copy of the relevant Gift Aid form. Incidentally, donors can save on postage stamps, bank charges and administrative costs if families find it convenient to make a joint contribution, but the parish is of course deeply grateful to receive contributions in whatever way they come.

The results of this appeal will be published here and updated until the work is completed - please note that contributions by BACS or via Just Giving may take a few days to appear as we have to wait for the monthly paper statement to arrive. We will be delighted to publish brief dedications on this page if any donor cares to nominate any forebear(s) with a Colonsay or Oronsay connection.

FIRST UPDATE 23 February2015:

Good News: We have £771.01 already in hand, also at least one cheque in the post; anything donated by BACS or by TextGiving will only be known when the statements are received. We have also received advice of one particularly generous offer which we will record in due course, and House of Lochar has agreed to fund the monthly subscription to JustGiving for one year. We hope to use the JustGiving as an ongoing conduit to permit occasional contributions to the Fabric Fund, to help meet regular costs of maintenance and perhaps avoid the need for a special appeal whenever some future emergency arises. Also, Hazel Smith, who has expertise in the area, has kindly offered to assist the parish by investigating possible grant-giving sources.

Also Good News: The joinery firm in Edinburgh have started work on the construction of the two new hardwood windows; unsurprisingly, they have now issued an invoice for 50% of their work (which is of course for the timber frames, and does not include glass, freight or any part of the prepatation and installation). So, the parish has to pay £2,400.00 this week, and the balance just after Easter. Bridging funds are available, but contributions are especially welcome at such a delicate moment.

LATEST UPDATE to 4th March 2015

Good News again: The total funds now in hand have reached the hugely encouraging sum of £3,771.01 and parishioners are most grateful to all who have helped so far, including one particularly generous donor. This figure does not include any GiftAid, to be recovered from HMRC, and there is always the hope that the Bank Statement may reveal one or more contributions by BACS. In addition, Hazel Smith has prepared two applications for possible aid from grant-giving bodies, and these will both have been submitted by next week.

The JustGiving facility is now in operation at and can accept donations from anywhere in the world and in any currency. Meanwhile, the Congegational Board has made a firm decision to move away from reactive repairs and onto a proactive programme of preventative maintenance. It is felt that this will make much better use of financial and physical resources, will be environmentally friendly and will ensure sound stewardship into the future. There are implications - not least, we hope that there will be no need for special Appeals in the future. It is planned to establish an ongoing and dedicated Fabric Fund, to have a detailed annual inspection of both the church and manse each autumn, and to place an annual contract for whatever works are required, to be conducted each springtime. Part of this plan is already being developed - details will follow shortly. In the meantime, please do support this current round of works - we aim to have our church open, safe and fully-functional by early June and all vital outstanding work completed. After that, it is to be a new and dynamic approach to ensure that our buildings remain in good heart for generations yet to come.

In Memoriam

Callum, Joan and Barbara McIntyre

7 February 2015
£100.00 (£100.00)
23 February 2015
£771.01 (£200 plus)
4 March 2015
£3,771.01 (Gift Aid t.b.a.)

The Church of Scotland parish of Colonsay and Oronsay (No. 211300) is a registered Scottish Charity No: SC031271

Please note that the Church of Scotland and the Baptist Church work very closely together in Colonsay and joint services are held for nearly every week in the year see or follow the link from