Park Church was built in 1863 and is the oldest church in the village. It received its present name in 1900 because it was built on Park Field. It stands in the centre of the Main street and for all these years has been a beacon of Christian witness to the villiage.
Park Church was originally built in 1863 as a United Presbyterian church, becoming United Free Church of Scotland at the Disruption until 1929 when, along with most other United Free Churches, it became part of the Church of Scotland. In 2007, under the firm conviction that God wanted a place of witness on Uddingston Main Street, the congregation began a major church refurbishment that ultimately led us to leave the Church of Scotland and rejoin the United Free Church of Scotland.
After much prayer and discussion it was decided to begin the work to renovate the sanctuary and the church. The structural renovations were to remove dry rot, repair the roof and gullies, replace gutters and downpipes, stabilise and repair the stonework, create a new central access to the sanctuary, update the heating system, rewire and install new lighting and provide disabled toliet facilities. Improvements to the fabric covered redecorationof the sanctuary, carpeting, an improved audio visual system and individual seating.
As you can see in the picture on your left the work was extensive. However thanks to financial and voluntary practical support from the congregation, the work was completed on time. But, down to financial and voultary support from the congregation the work was completed on time.
The £300,000 renovation programme was completed in April 2007 thanks to subscriptions, gift aid, grants and a loan.
The project has created an accessible and welcoming Church that allows us to be an open and flexible place of worship within the community.
In 2013 the church celebrated its 150th anniversary with a series of events. The church bell;
which previously rang out until the Second World War was fully restored and rings out once more between the hours of 9am and 8pm. The Church Clock was a gift from the people of the village and it has been commented that it is lovely for Park Church to have an audible presence in the villiage village after somany so many years.
Park Church, taken in the early days of the century,does not look much different today.
The spritual growth of Park Church as a congregation was assisted by 10 ministers over our 150 year history. Below is some information about these men of God.
Rev. John McLuckie, 1865 - 1879
Unfortunately no photograph exists of our first minister, John McLuckie. The strain of establishing a new congregation and seeing it built up took its toll on Mr McLuckie's health and he demitted his charge in 1879.
Rev. James Gardiner, 1879 - 1915
Rev. Gardiner was passionate about seeing the Gospel spread both at home and overseas. Under his ministry a Mission Station was established in the late 1880s amongst the Miners Rows in Aitkenhead. The poverty and social needs of that area were met by the missionary appointed under the oversight of our Kirk Session.
This charge eventually became a Church in its own right and is now Viewpark Parish Church. During his ministry a Wednesday night Prayer Meeting was established and existed unitl the 1920's.
His resignation for health reason in 1915 came as a shock after his long term as a Minister, but everyone wished him a long and happy retiral.
Rev. George Blair, D.D. 1916 -1920
A tall, kindly man, he was a commanding figure as he went about his duties. And what a challenging and persuasive preacher! His soft, gentle voice reading out passages from the Scriptures, then carefully closing the Bible he would preach a sermon from some everyday occurrence, yet seeing the hand of God in everything, no matter how trivial. The call eventually came from Ryehill Church in Dundee, and we had sorrowfully to part rom him. Mr Blair was not, however entirely lost to us as he periodically made return visits when we again had the honour and pleasure of hearing his inspiring sermons. The honoray degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on Mr Bliar in 1930 by St Andrews University. He remained at Ryehill until his retirement in 1946.
Rev. James M. Murray M.A, 1920 - 1957
Prior to coming to us, Mr Murray had served as a Chaplain with a battalion of the Cameron Highlanders in the First World War, and had been awarded the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star. He was not long in getting acquainted with the members of the congregation and visted all the homes in his district to be introduced to his flock. He paid pastrol visits and alwasy announced his intention of doing so from the pulit. He was very much in demand, both in Uddingston and the surrounding districts, to give lantern lectures on his travels. Aleays a keen worker for the Church, Mr Murray died while actively engaged in duty passing away in Stonehouse Hospital on 11th March 1957.
Rev. John MacNaughton B.D, 1958 - 1968
Rev MacNaughton previously Minister of St Brides Parish Church, Partick was inducted to Park in 1958. A man of strong character, Mr McNaughton soon settled down in Uddingston, bringing many new ideas with him. He had a somewhat difficult task following the long ministry of two of his predecessors, Mr Gardiner (36 years) and Mr Murray (37 years), but he proceeded to perfrom his many duties in his own quiet way, and soon won the respect of everyone. It was during his ministry that a number of our leading members professed their faith. Mr MacNaughton was our Minister at the time of our Centenary in 1963 and thereafter left park in 1968 to take up his charge at Hyndland Parish Church.
Rev. John Symington M.A, 1969 - 1973
Rev. Symington came to Park from Govan Old Parish Church during 1969 on a restricted charge which was laid down by the Church of Scotland. Mr Symington was a well known figure within the Church of Scotland especially within the Iona Community. He was very good with Children, and when asked how one Family Harvest Thanksgiving Service was going to conducted as the children were involved, his rely was he intented to 'play it by ear' because he did not know himself. That was Mr Symington - his answer being not to plan anything as it will all work out well in the end. The service went without a hitch! He left us in 1973 due to ill health and passed away a few years later.
Rev. Dr J. W. Malcolm M.A. B.D. PhD, 1974-1981
Dr Malcolm, orginally from Edinburgh, was a minister in Geneva and was recommended to our former Preses, Sir James Highgate, as a potential Minister to our congregation. During his time with us, the Presbytery of Hamilton began the process of consultation towards working with one Church of Scotland charge in the Villiage of Uddingston. Discussions took place between all the Churches and a potential union between ourselves and Chalmers Church was explored. However, Park Church withdrew from discussions and Chalmers united with Trinty to form what is now known as Uddingston Old. Dr Malcolm did not agree with out decision and at a service one Sunday morning he announed that he was stepping down as our Minister.
Rev. Hector J. Steele M.A. 1981 - 1987
Following Dr Malcolm's resignation, we were left without a Minister.
The Presbytery of the Church of Scotland sent us Hector Steele, a retired Minister to act as interim-moderator because they would not give us permission to call another Minister.
So Mr Steele came all the way from Strathaven to conduct our services on a Sunday morning as well as officiating at Weddings and Funerals. He was our interim-moderator for 6 years.
Rev. Earlsley M. White B.A 1987 - 1998
During 1987 were able to start calling for a minister but agin with restrictions; it was a terminable appoinment which could have been brought to an end at any time by the Church of Scotland. Along came Earlsley White from the Isle of Man. He was a very kindly and friendly man. Mr White was committed to the Bible as God's Word and a number of our most active members joined our congregation and others speak of how their faith became real and vital in their daily lives. The fruit of that ministry can be seen in the spiritual life and understanding of our Church today.
Rev. Wm Bruce McDowall B.A. B.D. 1999 -
Since Bruce's call to Park in 1999 he has continually breathed new life into our worship. As the first Minister in the Manse with a young family for many years, he is a moderniser yet sensitive to history, facilitating the transformation of Park into the flexible worshipping space we enjoy today. Bruce's evangelical ministry has continued the work of Mr White and he once commented that what drew him to Park was his certain belief that the spirit of the living God was at work there. This strong conviction and a belief that Park Church has an important role in the spirtual life of the community of Uddingston gave Bruce the faith to lead the congregation through a major Church refurbishment the ultimately led us to leave the Church of Scotland and re-join the United Free Church of Scotland in 2007. Bruce is a true pastor who cares deeply for his flock and works tirelessly to meet the demand of this ministy, often in difficult circumstances. As a church family we look forward to many more years together with Rev. William Bruce McDowall.