The First Generation
The first generation of Blawarthill members occupied the Hall Church, new in 1941. The Hall Church served as the base for all the adult and youth organisations, with folding seats being laid out on a Saturday night for the services on Sunday. The building served its multi-purpose role until the present sanctuary was opened in 1964.
Margaret Bow, a former member of the congregation, tells the story of Blawarthill Church's early days:
It was a proud day for all concerned, when the opening and dedication of the New Church, by the Very Rev. Dr. John White, took place on Saturday the 1st March 1941. The congregation was assembled in the church at 3.00 p.m. Dr. White knocked on the closed door saying, "Open unto me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them and I will praise the Lord." The church door was then opened and Dr. White then said, "Peace be to this house. May the peace of God which passeth all understanding be with you and all who worship here." Dr. White, together with the officiating ministers, members of Presbytery and the Kirk Session then entered the church to the singing of the Old Hundredth, 'All people that on earth do dwell'.
I remember the excitement and pride I felt throughout the whole ceremony that day and how devastated I was less than two weeks later when the church was damaged in the Blitz. I could not understand how God could have allowed this to happen to His new church. I have since thought that perhaps this was His way of testing our mettle and I believe that by the efforts of many past and present members of this church we have shown that we can cope with adversity and rise to new heights.
Some of the memories I cherish include my adult Baptism by the first minister, Rev. James Morrison, my marriage and the christening of my son and daughter by the second minister, the Rev. James McKay, and his officiating at the marriage of my daughter and christening of my two grandchildren.
Memories flood back of the old church dances we used to hold, the fun we had on the church bus outings, the trials and the triumphs of the Christmas shows, the laughter in learning Scottish Country Dancing, the childrens' displays and the choir practices.
Most of all I cherish the memory of so many wonderful people it has been my privilege to know during my long association with this warm and friendly church.
The interior of the Hall Church, showing the pulpit and the communion table.
Ben and Margaret Bow, with their bridal party.
Sam and Elizabeth Gilfillan with their attendants at the main door of the Hall Church.
184th Glasgow Company Boys' Brigade, 1942-43.
Sunday School teachers, June 1953.
The Guides in the Hall Church.
An early Armistice parade, with the BB marching through the Parish.
Brownies and Guides on parade.
Jenny Addis, another former member, adds her own memories:
In 1950, the Rev. James McKay came, and with his encouragement and renewed energy, the congregation with great zeal set about plans for 'The Church' to be built. We created a building fund, and in due time the main structure was erected. The congregation and office bearers gave their total commitment and dedication, spending many hours of hard work to achieve the beautiful church that we have today. The Rev. James McKay and his very supportive wife were always ready to take part, and enjoy, over the next three decades, all the activities of our church, before retiring for a well earned rest.
Greta Hamilton shared these reminiscences on the occasion of the church's Golden Jubilee:
I remember the 1st March 1940 vividly! What a treat to walk into this bright place, with central heating. It was a lovely spring day. I can remember that during the service, a man came into the hall, straight from the Elderslie Bar. He stood beside me as we sung 'City of God, how broad and far out-spread thy walls sublime'. He slapped me on the back and said, "Yer a rerr singur, gie it laldy!" I never sing that hymn without remembering that day. Why am I writing this saga of my life for Blawarthill Church on the Jubilee? It is just to say that whatever I have done in the church, I feel I owe it to my early training in Blawarthill, to love Christ and His Church.