Our History

Built in 1863, Park Church and is the oldest place of worship in the village of Uddingston. Receiving its present name in 1900 due to its founding upon Park Field, the building stands in the centre of the village Main Street as beacon of Christian witness for over 150 years.

Park was originally established as a United Presbyterian church, and transitioned along with its denomination into The United Free Church of Scotland during the Disruption, where it remain until 1929 when it became a member 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 led to a withdrawl from The Church of Scotland and a re-introduction to The United Free Church of Scotland.

Sanctuary Refurbishment

In 2007, after much prayer and discussion it was decided to begin work to renovate the sanctuary and church building. The structural renovations were badly needed, as the building was afflicted with rampant dry rot and damage to the roof and stone work. During this time, the opportunity was taken to modernise the building, adding the following features:

- A new central access to the sanctuary
- Update the heating system
- Rewiring and new lighting
- Disabled toliet facilities
- Improved audio visual system
- Individual seating

The work was extensive, however thanks to the voluntary financial and practical support from the congregation, the £300,000 project was completed on time in April 2007. The project has created an accessible and welcoming Church that allows us to be an open and flexible place of worship within the community.
Church Renovations

150th Anniversary

On Sunday 10th March 2013, Park Church celebrated 150 years of worship in Uddingston. In celebration, the church held many different events:

- An exhibition and open day within the sanctuary
- A shared congregational meal at the local Castle Rooms
- A special Communion Service took place with the Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland, Rev Iain Lloyd
- Launched an appeal to build a church in India through Operation Mobilisation, which raised £8,000
- Exchanged gifts with the members of Uddingston Bowling & Tennis Club, who also celebrated their 150th Anniversary
- Fully restored the church bell and clock: A gift from the people of the village during the second world war

The video featured was used during the celebrations to reflect on all that God has done in Park over the years.

Our Ministers

The spritual growth of Park Church was assisted by 10 ministers over our history. Below is a short biography of each minister, formed through the recollections of our own members.

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 the 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. James Gardiner

Rev. George Blair D.D. 1916 -1920

A tall, kindly man, he was a commanding figure as he went about his duties. Renowned for his soft, gentle voice reading out passages from the Scriptures, he would then carefully close the Bible and preach a sermon based on 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 from 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 honourary 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. George Blair

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 many pastoral visits and always announced his intention of doing so from the pulpit. He was very much in demand, both in Uddingston and the surrounding districts, to give lantern lectures on his travels.

Always a keen worker for the Church, Mr Murray died while actively engaged in duty, passing away in Stonehouse Hospital on 11th March 1957
Rev. James M. Murray

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 MacNaughton

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, shown when he was once asked how one Family Harvest Thanksgiving Service was going to be conducted - since the children were involved: his reply was he intended to 'play it by ear' because he did not know himself. That was Mr Symington - his answer always 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. John Symington

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 our decision and at a service one Sunday morning he announed that he was stepping down as our Minister.
Rev. Dr J. W. Malcolm

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.

Mr Steele came 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. Hector J. Steele

Rev. Earlsley M. White B.A 1987 - 1998

During 1987 we were allowed to start calling for a minister - but again 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. Earlsley M. White

Rev. Wm Bruce McDowall B.A. B.D. 1999

Called to Park in 1999, Bruce has continually breathed new life into our community. He is both a moderniser yet sensitive to history, facilitating the transformation of Park into the flexible worshipping space we enjoy today.

Bruce once commented that what drew him to Park was his certain belief that the spirit of the living God was at work there, and this strong conviction has enabled him to establish Park Church as an important rolemodel in the spirtual life of Uddingston.

Leading the congregation through a major refurbishment project in 2007, Bruce fought to keep Park Church as a witness in the community - a decision which ultimately caused us to leave the Church of Scotland and re-join our original denomination of the United Free Church of Scotland.

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.
Rev. Earlsley M. White