A BOLD bid to explore the history and develop the future of one of the district’s oldest and best known churches is being launched by its congregation.
A timeline of St Mary’s Parish Church, in Kirkintilloch, is being created and will date from as far back as 1140 when the roots of the church were first established.
It’s part of the Church of Scotland’s Future Focus project and will look at the history of St Mary’s, its role within the community and in the lives of its members.
The project will also help to shape the future of the church.
Alan Watson, convener of the Mission and Discipleship Task Group, which is leading the project, said: “Future Focus involves lots of different ideas on how congregations can start assessing who they are, where they have come from and where they are going.
“The timeline is a web-based interactive tool and is split into decades.
“We’re hoping it will be a really good resource and people will be able to view it for years to come.
“Just some of the items on the timeline will include the new church building, completed in 1914, and the ministers of the church.
“We want people to contribute their own thoughts, memories and feelings of church life for the timeline.
“Invitations have been sent out to attend themed events taking place this month and in June, to launch the various decades of the timeline.
“There will be speakers, displays and video presentations.”
St Mary’s Parish Church is one of the most impressive buildings in Kirkintilloch. Its imposing gothic tower can be seen from almost anywhere in the town.
Prior to 1914, the congregation met in the building that is now known as the Auld Kirk. But bad ventilation and crowded conditions forced the then minister, Thomas Angus Morrison, to request a new building.
Today St Mary’s has a membership of around 800 people and is bustling with activity with a variety of groups.
Not only will the St Mary’s timeline take people on a trip down memory lane, but it will help aid the future of the church.
Mr Watson added: “At the end of the events we are holding we will be asking people to fill out a card for their hopes and dreams for St Mary’s.
“We will be drawing up objections and goals for the church and hope things can be improved and change for the better. We want to look at ways to move forward and address the challenges we face today.”
Reverend Mark Johnstone, minister at St Mary’s, said: “This is a really good project and I’m enjoying the energy and enthusiasm that is going into it.”
The timeline events start this Friday (May 13) at 7.30pm with the 1930’s and 1940’s. On Friday, May 20, it’s 1950’s and 1960’s, Friday, May 27, is 1970’s and 1980’s and Friday, June 3 is 1990’s to 2010.
To enquire about the availability of places contact the church on 08445 671052.
To view the early history timeline log-on to www.stmaryskirkintilloch.org.uk