Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald
of 2 October 1959 carried the following report.
NEW PARK PARISH CHURCH, ARDROSSAN
Representative Congregation Attend Impressive Opening and Decication Service
Last Saturday (26 September 1959) marked another milestone in the life and history of Park Parish Church, Ardrossan when the congregation and friends worshipped for the first time in the new church building which has been erected by the National Church Extension Committee in the new housing area at the junction of Dalry Road and Stanley Road. The occasion was the opening and dedication of the church by the Rev T M Murchison MA, convener of the Church of Scotland Home Board which took place in the presence of a representative congregation which filled the church to overflowing. Members of the Presbytery of Ardrossan were led by the Moderator, the Rev William Burnside MA and members and officials of Ardrossan Town Council were headed by the senior magistate, Bailie Alcroft.
The service was a most impressive one and, in addition to the Rev Mr Murchison, the officiating ministers were the Rev Mr Burnside; the Rev Samuel Dempster, Clerk to the Presbytery of Ardrossan; the Rev George Paterson, BA, FCII, Secretary Depute of the Home Board; the Rev W J R Hay, BD, minister of Saint John's Church, Ardrossan; the Rev James Hosie, BD, minister of Ardoch Parish Church; and the Rev Donald Currie, minister of Park Parish.
In an eloquent and inspiring sermon appropriate to the occasion, Mr Murchison began by congratulating the congregation on having such a fine building as their new church. He also congratulated the architects and craftsmen and all who had a part in the planning and making of the church and the minister, office-bearers, members and adherents of the congregation on what he described as "this venture of obedience and faith whereby leaving a place and building made very dear to your hearts by the memories of the work and witness of yourselves and your fathers before you, you set yourselves to a new task in a new place in the service of Christ's Kingdom. The Park congregation" said Mr Murchison "has had a long and notable history extending over 102 years but we pray and believe that still further greater things await you here in the years to come. How changed the world is from what it was when your congregation was first formed in 1857. But two things remain unchanged - the deep and tragic need of the soul of man and the seeking and saving love of God in Jesus Christ which alone can meet and satisfy that need. Amid the marvels of our modern age" declared Mr Murchison "some people regard the Gospel and the Church as things old-fashioned and out-moded, venerable but not really essential. On the contrary, the need of men as individuals, as communities and as nations was never so clearly evident as it is today. But today, still we can proclaim to the world that the Lord's arm is not shortened that it cannot save nor His ear grown heavy that it cannot hear. Today, as in former ages, and as it shall be to the end of time, the Church is the instrument for the making known of God's saving purpose to the whole world.". Asking 'What is the Church and what is its function in the world?' Mr Murchison said that "the Church, quite simply, is the people of God. It is that part of humanity which has responded to the call of God to come home to Him like the Prodigal when he realised his need - 'I will arise and go to my father'. The Church is the fellowship and family of God the Father redeemed by God the Son and empowered by God the Holy Spirit.". Continuing, Mr Murchison said "Here and now, our duty and our high privilege is to play our part, each one of us, in the local church, that part of the great Church which is where we are.".
Mr Murchison suggested three ways in which it might be helpful for the congregation that day to think of their fine new building which was their church. Firstly, "They should think of it as a home to be inhabited. However beautiful a building may be, it can" he said "be very cold and dismal and unattractive if it stands empty. It is not the material things of stone and brick and timber and metal that make a house a home but the love that dwells within; the warmth of human fellowship; the going out and the coming in and the dwelling together of those whose home it is. And this beautiful house of God" he added "is not just a house made with hands, though skilled hands have fashioned it so beautifully. It needs to be lived in, to be warmed with living persons within it, to make it a real home. It is true that God is everywhere but He is present in a special way in the place where His people gather in fellowship to worship Him around the Word and the sacraments. God has promised to be here always, to make his home. Will you always at every possible opportunity be here to meet with Him? Keep faith with Him in his trysting-place. Just as each one has his or her own home from which to go forth and to which to return when the day's work is over, finding there rest and renewal, so let this be your spiritual home, the place where you come regularly because it is your Father's House where you learn as Jesus too learned to be about your Father's business. Secondly, think of your church" said Mr Murchison "as an instrument to be used. What a tremendous advantage it is for you to have this fine new building with all its equipment, ready to be used. See that it is used to the full and used with the utmost of efficiency and diligence, each person doing his or her part, however humble, just as in great factories many hands work together to produce things that are useful and necessary and beautiful. There is work for everyone here, something for each to do. Let no part of this fine 'plant' stand unused because of a shortage of willing hands and hearts. This 'plant' is for the production of more Christians and better Christians. Let this instrument be used to the full and may the Lord add daily and weekly those who are saved, as more and more are, through the work of this congregation called out of darkness into the marvellous light of Christ. Thirdly, think of this church as a fellowship to be shared. A church is something we go to - a house to be visited, a home to be dwelt in and inhabited; our spiritual home. A church is something we use, an effective instrument for the proclamation and application of the Gospel; for the renewing of individuals and the community. But the church is also something that we are. Not only something we go to or stay away from; not something we use or fail to use; but something we are and that we cannot help being if we are truly the people of God. We are the Church. As the Apostle Peter said 'We are the living stones built up into a spiritual House of God.'. It does not matter whether we are prominent or obscure, large or small, each stone has its place to fill and its part to play, all resting on the foundation stone which is Jesus Christ himself. The fellowship created and inspired bin this church" continued Mr Murchison "is a fellowship that should spread out into the whole community, drawing others in. In the community around you, there are many people, as yet strangers to you and perhaps strangers to your Lord and Saviour but who yet because of your witness will come to know and love and serve Him in the fellowship of this congregation along with you. May God richly bless you all in this place and community and may He make you a blessing.".
During the service, the organist at which was Mr Andrew Miller, Miss Elizabeth Currie, on behalf of the League of the Lamp, lit the lamps of the sanctuary and later, following the prayer of dedication for the sanctuary, the pulpit, the Communion Table, the sanctuary chairs and the organ were consecrated.
The architects, Messrs James Houston and Son, FARIBA, claim that the new church which was built for approximately £25000 has the advantage of a particularly pleasant site and that plenty of freedom was possible from the design angle, not being in immediate contact with other buildings. The buildings were grouped with the church and hall at right angles to each other to provide as far as possible a welcoming approach form the corner of Stanley and Dalry Roads. The church, as the dominant feature, has seating for over 400 worshippers and internally the use of large simple areas of natural materials helps to provide the quiet dignity necessary in a religious building. The shape of the church was decided on as it not only provided a feeling of height but also enclosed a large floor area at reasonable cost. The front gable of the church was originally in rustic brick but as this did not contrast with the colour of the clay roof tiles, it was flet necessary to change to a white rendering. The white is reflected again on the side walls of the church hall which has windows at a high level only. The reason for this is to minimise the possibility of breakage during recreational activities and provide unbroken areas within the hall for exhibition.
original Park Church in Glasgow
Street, Ardrossan was first opened for public worship on 27 December 1857
but the congregation goes back a further nine months, their first service being
held on 8 March 1857. The movement which led up to the formation of the church
was originated at a meeting of 15 men held on 9 January 1857 in the shop of Mr
Guthrie, Princes Street, Ardrossan, under
the chairmanship of Mr Arthur Guthrie. In 1900, the congregation agreed to union
with the Free Church and the church became Park United Free Church of Scotland.
In 1920, the congregation assented to union with the Church of Scotland and became
Park Church of Scotland. Throughout the years, the congregation has grown and
prospered and with a record of service behind them of which they can well be proud,
they now go forward to their new church to continue the task so nobly started
and to uphold and embrace their traditions.
Last Sunday, the congregations of Barony Church and Saint John's Church, Ardrossan joined with the congregation of Park Parish Church in the evening service when the church was again filled to overflowing. The officiating ministers were the Rev David Currie, the Rev Tom Williamson BD and the Rev W J R Hay, BD. We are informed that there will be no seat-letting in the new church and that new members will be most welcome.