Welcome to Springburn Parish Church

The Church Begins

The dawn of the nineteenth century coincided with a remarkable rebirth in every place of national life. Not only were factory chimney stalks beginning to rise like spear points against the horizon and steam locomotives to shatter the age-long quiet of the country-side, but new ideas had begun to ferment the minds of the people which would issue in drastic reforms. The church, as well as the state, was to feel the impact of their ideas, which, though shaking it to its foundations, would also purge and quicken it to face the challenge of a new age. In 1791 John Wesley died, and eight years later the Church Missionary Society was instituted. In 1806 William Wilberforce won his great victory with the passing into law of the Slave Trade Abolition Sill, and in 1811 the tongue at' Thomas Chalmers was first unloosed to preach the Gospel.
Three years later in 1814 Thomas Chalmers arrived in Glasgow and began his notable ministry in the Tron and St. John's Churches. It was in this period, that he threw himself body and soul into Home Mission work, thus sowing seed that resulted in several hundreds of new churches being built up and down the land. In 1824 the General Assembly first resolved to espouse the work of Foreign Missions, and ten years later Dr. Chalmers set the country on fire For Church Extension when he was appointed Convenor of the Committee charged with this task. Within seven years over £300,000 was raised for this purpose and twenty-two new churches opened throughout Scotland.
In this work, Chalmer's brother James was well supported by the friends he had made during his earlier ministry in Glasgow, the most notable among them being Mr. William Collins, fonder of the publishing house. For a short time, Chalmers co-operated with William Collins in forming a publishing business known as Chalmers & Collins. In 1834 Collins made the proposal that steps should be taken to build twenty new churches in the Glasgow area, but before any steps were taken he and his friends agreed to wait until £20,000 had been subscribed. In the month of October, nine months after the scheme was first launched, the Glasgow Society for Church Accommodation, or as it became better known, the "Glasgow Church Building Society" had raised £21,400 and work on new churches began at once. According to the original plan it was proposed to build twenty additional churches each containing a thousand sittings, the cost of the ground and buildings not to exceed £2,000. An investment of £2,000 given to each church was expected to yield annual revenue of about £80. Each church was to have a small parish containing a population not exceeding three thousand persons.
In August 1841 it is recorded that "William Collins Esq., Secretary of the Church Building Society, produced the Societies answers to the questions of the General Assemblies Church Extension Committee anent an application that had been made by the Society for pecuniary aid towards the erection of a new church at Springburn." This was to be the last of twenty churches planned by the Church Building Society when it started seven years earlier.
© Frank Myers 1997

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