|History - Church Unions|
Page 7 of 10
Unions and Readjustments
In 1965, Stonefield Parish Church was united with the Burleigh Memorial Church to become ‘Stonefield Burleigh Memorial Parish Church’. A second union took place in 1978 when the Anderson Church joined the union. At that time the church was renamed St Andrew’s Parish Church (Stonefield Burleigh Memorial Anderson Parish Church would have been quite a mouthful!).
In 1976, the Rev James Gregory became the Minister first of the linked charges then of the united congregation.
On 3rd September 1979, however, Stonefield Parish Church suffered the fate of all the other church buildings and was accidentally set on fire. The roof was being restored at the time when a workman left his blowtorch on while he went for his lunch. The building was just 9 months away from its centenary! At first it was thought that repair would be possible with a new roof, but soon it was discovered that the whole remaining church would need to be demolished, partly as a result of weaknesses in the walls from the land disturbance caused by mining (the reason why the spire had been removed years earlier). Despite losing their church building, the congregation remained resilient. During the next 3 years they met in the Livingstone Memorial Church each Sunday afternoon.
On 21st March 1982, the new St Andrew’s Church was opened by the Rev. John Handley, Moderator of Hamilton Presbytery. Also in attendance were the Very Reverend professor Robin Barbour, former Moderator of the General Assembly and the architect, Mr. R. Robertson. It was built at a cost of £187,000. The main sanctuary has seating for 180, but a sliding partition connecting with the hall provides seating for 400 if necessary.
With decline in numbers as part of the modern church’s challenge, St Andrew’s embarked on a philosophy of mission. The church became a ‘mission partner’ with St Ninian’s Centre in Crieff and a program of mission development began. The laity was challenged to become part of the vision building and the church was structured to develop mission. A Tea Room was established which has become a welcome community resource that continues to this day. A ‘Mustard Seed Prayer Group’ was formed and healing services were introduced. In 1992, Rev James Gregory retired.