Haggs Parish Church marks 175th anniversary with VIP visit

The Kirk Session at Haggs are preparing for the church's 175th anniversary celebrations. Picture: Alan Murray
The Kirk Session at Haggs are preparing for the church's 175th anniversary celebrations. Picture: Alan Murray

It’s been at the heart of the Haggs and Banknock community for almost two centuries.

Now the area’s historic parish church will get a season of events to mark its 175th anniversary underway by welcoming a VIP guest to its service on Sunday, February 15.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev. John Chalmers, will address the congregation and congratulate them on their church reaching such an impressive milestone.

Haggs Church first welcomed worshippers on July 19, 1840.

The then small rural community was predominantly made up of people employed in agriculture, but its population steadily grew as industries such as coal mining and paper manufacture established themselves along the Carron Valley.

A special anniversary service will be held on July 19 this year to mark the occasion.

The year will also see the retrial of the church’s minister, the Rev. Helen Christie, who has served the parish since 1998.

Haggs will then become linked with Denny Old parish, although services will continue in its historic building.

Murray McCheyne, session clerk, said: “The link with Denny really brings us full circle, back to our roots and our beginning.

“We have come a long way since 1840 and, with the support from Denny, while continuing to keep our own identity we look forward in faith to growing and having a fulfilling future at Haggs.”

The Rev. Christie said: “As we celebrate the 175th anniversary of Haggs Parish Church, I give thanks for the privilege I have been given to serve as one of the 19 ministers who have shared in the life of the congregation over the years.”

Haggs is home to both Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade companies and also hosts a range of community groups.

The church lies at the western end of Falkirk Presbytery. Before its opening the nearest church was three miles away in Denny.

A petition, signed by William Forbes of Callendar and the Rev. John Dempster, was presented to Stirling Presbytery in 1839 demanding a new church be built for Haggs, dependent on Denny parish.

It became an independent parish in 1875.