Laurieston Parish Church celebrating 125th anniversary year

Reverend Mary Henderson is pictured with session clerk William Bell
Reverend Mary Henderson is pictured with session clerk William Bell

This Easter will be an extra special one for Laurieston Parish Church — as it falls in its 125th anniversary year.

Members of the congregation have lined up a series of celebratory events to mark the milestone, all of which began with a mass Easter card handout around the village.

A total of 1300 cards were distributed across Laurieston by a hardy team of volunteers who carried out door-to-door deliveries a fortnight in advance of the occasion.

Concerts and singing workshops for children are in the pipeline, as is an anniversary meal at Laurieston Bowling Club which all village residents will be invited to.

Though the foundation stone of Laurieston Parish Church was laid on July 31, 1893, the celebrations are scheduled to stretch into late October.

The thinking behind the staggered approach is to commemorate the church’s first-ever service, held in what was once St Columba’s Church before the two parishes merged together in 1940.

Laurieston Parish Church minister Reverend Mary Henderson is the eighth in its history and has held the title since 2009.

Rev. Henderson insists the church’s 125th anniversary plans are based on engaging with its community.

She said: “We normally put out our Christmas card and our Easter letter just to our own congregation.

“But with this being the anniversary year, we wanted to do something that reached out to the rest of the village and let people know we’re here and we’re interested in them.

“We’re having an anniversary meal in Laurieston Bowling Club and again that’s something we want to do as part of the village, so we’re not just doing it in our own wee space.

“We’ve got a concert with Cheryl Forbes and Gordon Cree.

“They did a concert here before and it was very, very popular.

“We’ve also got a concert with the Unison Kinneil Band who have been a couple of times before and seem to enjoy coming here.”

Like many others, Laurieston Parish Church’s congregation is predominantly made up of elderly members.

And while a lack of younger parishioners means the church no longer runs a Sunday school, Miss Henderson is hopeful the anniversary celebrations will bring all generations together.

She added: “Sadly we have no children coming regularly to the church now at all but we do have a good connection with the primary school.

“We’re struggling like every other congregation, we get roughly 60 people on a Sunday morning.

“The pattern of people’s lives has changed but the world and the church as well is just in such flux at the moment.”

The celebrations include a school concert with Fischy Music.

The minister added: “It’s a Christian group but they gear their material for schools so it’s about expressing emotions and being okay to be yourself. The children just love their songs.

“The church is sponsoring Fischy Music to come to the school for a day in June and the morning will be taken up with singing workshops.

“Then there will be a concert in the afternoon that everyone’s invited to, church people and parents.”