On Sunday 7th January 2024, the newly renamed East Kilbride United Reformed Church met for worship in their newly refurbished premises in Old Coach Road, East Kilbride. This was a significant day in the life of the congregation which has had a presence in the town since 1955.
East Kilbride Congregational Church was constituted in October 1955 in the Murray area of the new town and became Righead URC in April 2000. Throughout it's life it has had involvement in it’s local community at it’s heart and, as the new town developed, became a hub of community life. Sadly the East Kilbride micro-climate, together with design issues and the quality of the building materials, meant that maintaining the building became an increasing challenge for the congregation.
East Kilbride Churches of Christ was constituted in 1954 in Old Coach Road on the edge of the Village, and become firstly East Kilbride URC in 1981, then East Mains URC in 2000. This congregation too had substantial issues with it's building and a new building was erected in 1999 with the support from the congregation, Shawlands URC and what was then the Mid Scotland District of the URC and Northern Province. In August 2022 the congregation of East Mains URC took the difficult decision to cease as a worshipping congregation.
Initial thoughts had been to retain the East Mains building as a decant facility while the total redevelopment of the Righead site was in progress but a combination of the Covid Pandemic and the cost of living crisis meant that these plans became unachievable and the Righead elders entered into a conversation with the East Mains trustees and the Synod about a permanent relocation to Old Coach Road.
A major refurbishment programme has taken place of the former East Mains church which has included replacing the heating system, lighting, kitchen and toilets. The upstairs meeting room now has a kitchen unit to let groups make refreshments upstairs, all the emergency exits now have ramp access in addition to ramp access to the main door and the premises have been redecorated throughout. The building is also the place of worship for the Malayalam Christian Church and the meeting place for the 6th EK Beavers, Cubs and Scouts; 3 AA groups, Lesley Dutch School of Dance, dog learning, and a Tai Chi class.
Revd. Lindsey Sanderson was delighted to return to East Kilbride for her first engagement as Synod Moderator to lead worship and rededicate the former East Mains URC building as the new home of East Kilbride URC. As part of the service words of dedication which had been written by the Elders were offered by the congregation:
We dedicate this building for the worship of our Lord and the celebration of Christian events. May we offer this building as a place of welcome, love and respect to all who enter it’s doors and as a base to help us reach out to our community.
The newbuilding incorporates many items from the Righead church as well as from the former East Mains church with other items from Righead being passed on to other congregations in the Synod and local charities.