The East Kilbride Baptist Church Story
East Kilbride Baptist Church owed its beginning to the concern of the Lanarkshire Baptist Association and the Baptist churches in Cambuslang and Rutherglen. Those churches saw the vision, God's vision, of a Baptist witness in the new town of East Kilbride.
The first service was conducted by Rev George Hardie. Secretary of the Baptist Union of Scotland, on 23rd November 1952. The beginnings of the Church ware small: for the first eighteen months eight adults and six children attended the Sunday services.
31st May 1954 was a memorable day in the Church's history when twenty four members signed the Constitution and formed themselves officially into a Baptist Church. Jim Graham a student at the Baptist College, was the Student pastor at that time.
In 1955, Rev Peter Barber became the Church's first minister. At that time the membership was thirty six. There then followed several years of remarkable growth. As the new town grew so did the Church. This growth was partly the result of Christians moving into East Kilbride; but it was also due to many people being converted.
God greatly blessed Peter Barber's ministry in East Kilbride and a solid foundation was laid, not only for the East Mains Congregation but for East Kilbride Baptist Church.
The following pastors have served in the East Mains Congregation since Rev Peter Barber.
On 12th January, 1964, Services were started in the Canberra School in Westwood. Under the leadership of a student assistant, Alex Rodger, this work prospered and the congregation was ready to be constituted as a separate Baptist Church. However, the two congregations at Westwood and East Mains felt guided by God to establish a United Church scheme in which the two congregations remained one in membership and shared resources in terms of finance and personnel. The ministers would also work as a team. The United Church scheme, with the approval of the Baptist Union of Scotland, was formally adopted in December 1964 and Rev Alex. Rodger was inducted as the Westwood Congregation pastor in 1965.
With considerable help from Scottish Baptists a church building was erected in Tasman Drive, close to the neighbourhood centre. The building was opened on 25th May 1968.
The next development for the growing Church, in the growing town, was in Calderwood. A weekly house meeting and Sunday School were organised in Long Calderwood. The development of this work was swift and encouraging. Under the leadership of Jim McKendrick, a deacon from East Mains, the work grew and the first Sunday morning Service was held on 5th May 1968 in Allers School.
In October 1970 Jim Hamilton, a student of the Scottish Baptist College, was invited to serve as Student pastor. Such progress was made under his leadership, that he was unanimously invited, at the close of his studies, to become pastor at Calderwood, serving in that capacity until 1982. Again with the help of Baptists throughout Scotland a church building was erected and was opened in April 1976.
United Church to Covenant Agreement
Until July 2006 the three congregations of East Mains, Westwood and Calderwood were constituted as East Kilbride Baptist Church. Despite having strong links and interaction the Church were persuaded that there were sufficient differences in the running of each congregation to warrant moving from a relationship defined by a constitution to a relationship defined by a covenant. This freed the congregations to write a constitution for each of the churches that truly reflected the unique aspects of their practise whilst maintaining and enhancing the nature of their relationship with each other.
THE COVENANT -
"By the grace of God and to the glory of God we, the members of East Mains, Calderwood and Westwood Baptist Churches in East Kilbride commit ourselves to:
● Preach the Gospel and make disciples as our common goal
● Collaborate whenever the work of the Gospel can best be achieved through a common strategy
● Support each other in our common mission, by making every endeavour to foster a spirit of unity
● Encourage one another and build each other up in word and action, refusing to speak or act in ways that harm fellowship or hinder our common cause
● Respect one another and pray for one another as we further develop unique expressions of mission
● Relate to other like-
So, there you have the outline. Within that are hundreds and hundreds of stories of God touching lives, of folk turning to Jesus for forgiveness and new life, of those lives being lived to his glory in a network of loving relationships. Maybe the next chapter is in your hands.
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