Latest Update

Latest update:

During 2022 the Kirk Session discussed what work could be considered under Phase 2 of the Building for the Future initiative. It was decided that with so much happening across The Church of Scotland (mainly the Presbytery Consultation Document) it would be appropriate to defer any contemplation of work until June 2023. Any works to carried out will be financed from the cash funds available and without any appeal to the Congregation.


March 2020

Just as we were beginning to see the end of the project in sight, we have, rightly, complied with the guidelines from the Scottish Government and agreed with our contractors, John Dennis, a temporary cessation of work.

This is disappointing, but sensible, as we must keep people safe in the current environment.

The interior is beginning to look very exciting but we won’t be publishing any more progress photos until it is finished – we don’t want to spoil the surprise!

For now, there will be little more to report until works are back up and running again.


December 2019

Thank you to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,148, 218.33  This is very much appreciated!

  • Work to replace the boilers and heating infrastructure continues on track and the new boilers are due to be commissioned on 5th December and full central heating for the halls should be available from that date
  • Work in the Sanctuary is moving at pace with the Apse extension built, and the underfloor heating installation underway.  The new floor should be laid and protected before Christmas.
  • Kirk Session will start to consider celebrations for the re-dedication of the Sanctuary which is planned for June.


November 2019

Thank you to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,146,101.  This is very much appreciated!

  • We are seeing positive progress with new wiring and pipe work evident beneath the floor
  • Work has commenced to replace the boilers for the heating system throughout the church and halls.
  • This work is expected to take up to seven weeks, and meantime temporary heating has been provided for the halls.

- work is also due to start this week on extending the apse area.


October 2019

Thank you to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,129,851.  This is very much appreciated!

  • Our first formal checkpoint with the contractor shows work on the Sanctuary is progressing to plan.  
  • A time-lapse photographic record of initial works is now available the Church website under Building for the Future - our thanks to James Gentles for producing this
  • While some issues have been encountered with the heating system, we have a plan in place to remedy those.


September 2019

  • John Dennis have taken over the Sanctuary with effect from 26th August.  The current plan is for them to be on site for 34 weeks.
  • Much appreciation is due to those who enabled this by helping in many ways with the clearing of the Sanctuary.
  • Any access must now be co-ordinated via Fay Stirling
  • Our website now has 360 degree pictures of the Sanctuary before work started and at the end of last week.  Thanks go to James Gentles and Les Oliver for creating these images.  


July 2019

  • Tender responses have been received and discussions have been taken forward with two contractors.  Negotiations continue, so there will be a slight delay in works starting in the Sanctuary.
  • Congregational votes on the chair to be used in the main area of the Sanctuary resulted in the Maxim Deluxe being chosen. Many thanks for those who took the time to consider and vote. The chair profile can be found at and search for Maxim Deluxe.   We will now progress with ordering these complete with book racks, communion cup holders, linking, and for a proportion, arms.
  • Grateful thanks are due to the army of people who have assisted in clearing the Sanctuary and undercroft space in preparation for works commencing.


May 2019

  • Tenders have been issued to seven potential contractors, responses are due mid-May.
  • Refurbishment work on the Main Hall is well underway, and the planning required to allow us to move there for worship is all in hand.
  • Remember if you have any personal belongings in the Church that you need to remove them before 19th May.


 April 2019

  • Main Hall redecoration planned to complete mid-May.  Other Hall improvement work being scheduled to minimise impact on hall users, so will mostly be done during the school summer holidays
  • Tender documentation drafted and being issued to potential contractors by the end of the week
  • Pew sales underway, with interest from our congregation and others.  Any unsold will be bought by an architectural salvage company.  See Kirk News for details on how to reserve one.


March 2019

Thank you to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,122,934.  This is very much appreciated!

  • The Kirk Session has approved some preliminary refurbishment of the main hall in preparation for its use for worship while the Sanctuary is out of use.
  • A short list of contractors has been drawn up and initial contact made. The tender documentation is being prepared.  
  • Removal and storage of effects from the Sanctuary has been arranged.
  • A team, led by Les Oliver, will look at all preparatory work for the move into the Hall for worship


 February 2019

 We have now reached a total of £ 1,118,416.  This is very much appreciated!

  • City of Edinburgh Council have approved our Building Warrant for
    Phase 1
  • We are finalising our discussions with the Church of Scotland CARTA committee, then all our required approvals will be in place
  • We are working with our preferred supplier to finalise the details of the audio and visual improvements
  • We’re currently looking at what needs done in the Main Hall before we start using it for worship


January 2019

Thank you to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,117,104.02. 
This is very much appreciated!

  • The fundraising group will meet next week to establish the plan and approach for Phase 2 fundraising
  • Kirk Session approved the detailed design and that the project should progress with contractor selection
  • A detailed inventory of all items in the Sanctuary has been prepared, but there are a number of personal items, bibles, cushions etc, and members are asked to make sure they take away anything that is theirs before the refurbishment works begin.  We’ll make sure we remind you again nearer the time.


December 2018

Thank you to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,116,584.02. 
This is very much appreciated!

  • We are very pleased to be able to advise that unconditional planning permission has been received from City of Edinburgh Council for the changes to external doors which is the only aspect of the project that requires such permission.
  • The second in our series of "Music at St Columba’s" concerts raised another £1000+ for the project.  It was a fabulous evening and many thanks go to Phillippa and her accompanists, and all those who supported.
  •  Fantastic progress has been made in clearing stored items from under the church and elsewhere.  We have donated some unused wooden furniture to the Grassmarket Trust.


November 2018

£1,113,092 raised so far

Thank you to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,113,092.  This is very much appreciated!

  • We received strong support from the Church of Scotland’s CARTA Committee for our proposals, and full approval is dependent on the outcome of our planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council, which has been submitted
  • The proposed interior designs have been considered by the Steering Group and will be presented to the full Kirk Session in January.
  • The Foot Stomping Gospel Concert was a great start to our fundraising events and raised over £1000!


 October 2018

£1,102,865  raised so far

The fundraising target for Phase 1 has been exceeded - our grateful thanks to everyone who has contributed to the fabulous total of £1,102,865

  • The principles for the detailed finishes in the Church interior have been agreed, and include complementing the existing wood and building on the theme of the Celtic cross.
  • Owners of equipment stored below the Church have been contacted in relation to actions required before the works can commence - if you have equipment stored and have not been contacted please speak to Ian Templeton.


September 2018

Thank to all those who have contributed so generously we have now reached a total of £1,068,580.  This is very much appreciated. We are nearly there for phase 1 and there is still time to contribute!

  • More work has been done on the plans for the sanctuary and the entrances and also on the heating
    and lighting.
  • A great start has been made to clearing the space under the church which is essential before work
    can begin.
  • There will be a Christmas Tree festival in the church from 6th to 9th December and further
    details will follow.


August 2018

£1,033,417 Raised so far

We’ve made a fantastic start to fundraising and have reached £1,033,417 so far – our very grateful thanks to those who have contributed or pledged to date – there is still time to contribute

  • The Steering Committee is working closely with the architect to define some of the plans in more detail
  • We have started meetings with the key bodies who need to give approval for our proposals.   


 March 2018

As you will probably know, the congregation has now voted by a majority of just over two to one to proceed with the plans outlined in the Building for the Future booklet. The purpose of this letter is first of all to give you details of that vote and then to set out in broad terms what happens next.

There were 414 voting slips returned with 278 in favour, 128 against and 8 registered abstentions. As a consequence we will now be moving forward with our exciting and ambitious project. The first step is to engage with the architect in order to develop the plans with a view to obtaining planning permission. We are setting out with the ambition of completing all the work which was presented to the congregation. However, it will certainly be quite a lengthy process and the speed with which we can do all the work will depend not just on practicalities but also on the necessary funds being available. It has therefore been decided to ask the architect to work only on the Sanctuary at this stage and this will be phase 1.

We will soon begin the task of fundraising and the sub committee is already considering how this should be done. At its best, the process of fundraising can itself be a unifying community activity involving everyone in one way or another. We have already made a good start towards our target with the sale of Church House and with some early donations. There will obviously be much more information on this when the campaign gets properly under way. Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated but no one should feel that they are obliged to contribute.  This is likely to be quite a long process and it is vital that the work and worship of the church should not be inhibited so we will be working with the various parties involved to minimise disruption.

The steering committee is very keen to keep the congregation fully informed of the progress of the project and the main vehicle for doing this will be the Kirk News.

From the Minister

As your Minister, let me say a big thank you for taking part in this vote. It has been a long process, but now the time has come to move forward. I invite you to prayerfully consider how best you may be able to support it. This is a wonderful parish and faith community and I am very privileged to be your Minister. I know that you will do whatever you can to make Building for the Future a success. We entrust this vision into the hands of Almighty God who is faithful and who will bless our devotion, obedience and faithful commitment.

Thanking you in advance for your response in faith.

“Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 29:9)


November 2017

We’ve received from the architects, Lee Boyd, the second set of plans which have been seen by the Kirk Session and we’re now ready to share them with the congregation. Please view the Revised pdf links below. These are on display in the Vestibule, Small Hall and corridor between the halls. If you can, please do have a good look and let us have any comments or questions.

Email to:

It’s important to point out that the illustrations are only for illustrative purposes. No decisions on fittings and furniture will be made until the congregation agrees with the way forward.

This set of plans is estimated to cost £2.2million - a reduction of a third on the original £3.3 million.

We’ve managed to reduce the costs by making some changes to the original scope.

The main changes are: 

  • No development of the balcony
  • Re-siting of the proposed lift, still allowing access to all levels
  • The vestry remains where it is so no change to that end of the sanctuary with exit doors  to the halls staying as they are at present

There will be a congregational meeting on Saturday 27th January at  9.30am in the morning. We’re hoping as many of you as possible will take the opportunity to come along and share your views. We’ll let you have more information about the meeting in January. In the meantime please put the date in your New Year diaries.


The Steering Group are keen that you give your views/questions in writing if possible (to the email address above). Don’t think your views don’t count, all views are relevant and we want to hear from you. If it is difficult for you to access the building or the website let us know verbally or by a note to the Church Office and we’ll make sure your contribution is included in the discussions. 


 Option 2 (Revised plans) - £2.2 million approx.

Revised Entrance

Revised Sanctuary

Revised First Floor

Revised First Floor Aerial View

Revised Ground Floor

Revised Ground Floor Aerial View



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