Alves church

Alves Church was built in 1878. The Church's balco ny was recently 'walled off' to improve energy efficiency in the remainder of the sanctuary, reducing its capacity from 300 to 200. In the adjacent Church Hall, toilet facilities were upgraded to afford better disabled access, the kitchen has been modernised, Church and Hall electrical systems have been refurbished, and the Hall was recently equipped with an up-to-date audio/visual display suite. Major works around the outside of the Church were completed in late 2011 to improve access to the Church's front door - new steps up from the lane, and a pathway to improve access for both wheelchairs and the movement of caskets for funerals. There are close links with Alves Primary School which usually holds its annual Christmas Concert in the Church. In addition to improving disabled access in both Churches, both are equipped with induction loop audio systems. Condition of Buildings A full inspection of the buildings was completed recently on behalf of Presbytery; the detailed reports are awaited. However, preliminary indications are that all the estate is in relatively good order. Furthermore, funds are already in place to cover anticipated Urgent and Essential repairs so identified by these reports. Nevertheless, until the findings of these surveys are approved and subsequently reviewed in detail by the Board, plans for any significant ongoing improvements have been placed on hold.

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Our Parish

Following a period as a linked charge, the united charge was formed in May 1982 and covers an area of approximately 60 square miles, embracing the village of Burghead on the Moray Firth and the village of Alves some four miles inland to the south. The countryside between Alves and Burghead is predominantly agricultural. Cummingston is a small coastal village east of Burghead. Formerly a busy fishing village and small seaport, Burghead's harbour now supports some local fishing activities and services the leisure boating industry. Since the previous vacancy there has been substantial private residential development on the eastern margins. In pre-Christian times, Burghead (or Am Broch in Gaelic) was an important Pictish power centre. The ruined Pictish hill fort and accompanying chambered well are the major features of the Headland Trust’s centre, and attract many tourists, especially in the summer. In addition to three hotels, Burghead caters for tourism with a caravan site and affords easy access to beautiful beaches and woodland walks. Other facilities include: a bank, a cafe, a village shop, a sub post office, a library, a chemist, a medical practice, 2 hairdressers, and a community hall. Burghead Primary School is adjacent to the Church; traditionally, school services are held in the Church at the end of each school term. Alves (or An Abhais in Gaelic) is a small village situated along the very busy A96 (Inverness to Aberdeen trunk road), equidlstant between Forres and Elgin. The original village, likely dating from the 13th Century, was probably clustered around the site of the Old Kirk (built in 1769, but now disused) and its graveyard half a mile to the north of the present village centre. Alves is served by its own primary school and a small pub/restaurant. The present church is situated just off the A96, some three-quarters of a mile south west of the village.

Membership and Premises

The present Communion Roll of Alves & Burghead is 141 plus 40 adherents.

Burghead Church

Burghead Church which has a capacity of 500, was built in 1861 and subsequently extended in 1908. A modern organ was installed in 2010. The stained glass windows were made by monks at Pluscarden Abbey using inch thick slab glass known as dalles de verre, literally 'glass paving slabs', set in resin or cement. The kitchen in the adjacent Church Hall has been refurbished and modernised. The Hall's toilet has also been refurbished to afford full disabled access. Overall, the building is in good repair and its welfare is actively managed by the Parish's Congregational Board. In a bid to embrace environmental efficiency and to provide a financial return solar PV panels were recently installed on the roof of the Church Hall. Burghead Primary School (roll 109) is next to the Church and holds end of term services in the Church, welcoming Church participation.

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