Some of our history
The present building was erected new and first used in January 1842. Since the 1960s there have been five ministers.
Rev Thomas Jones served from 1963 – 1972 and during his ministry Miss Betty Williamson trained at Carey Hall and commenced her 30 year service with the London Missionary Society now the CWM, in South India. She married Dr Robinson and they served together. Now retired in Glasgow they still have links with our church. The Pilot Company began in 1964 and ran successfully for 30 years. An outreach Sunday school operated in the village of Crossford and provided a service for the children of this community which had no church. Many of the children from the Martha Frew Children’s Home also attended.
Rev Frank Garvey served from 1972 – 1982. In 1973 Canmore Congregational Church and the North Congregational Church united to become Dunfermline Congregational Church and the Rev Frank Garvey became the minister of the joint charge. In 1976 St. Paul’s Church of Scotland next door was completely destroyed by fire and the members were invited to share the Congregational Church building. The two congregations continued largely independently, holding their own services, although members were free to attend any service, and frequently did so. St. Paul’s met at 9:15am and the Congregational at 11am. The two congregations united at Christmas and Easter and held two joint communions per year. There was always a good spirit of co-operation and finances were shared by both congregations where appropriate. This happy arrangement lasted for 24 years until the Minister of St. Paul’s, Rev Frank Smith retired in 2000.
Rev. Dr Angus Allan served from 1983 to his retirement in 2000 and is still a member of the church. For several years during this period, “Woodlands”, which was part of Lynbank Hospital, had a weekly meeting in our Church Halls. Here a group of young adults with learning difficulties ran a lunch club where they cooked and served meals under the instruction of staff from Lynbank and supervised also by church volunteers.
They helped in the kitchen, served tables, took money and cleared up afterwards, and their social skills were improved by contact with church members and friends who came along to have lunch or a snack. The project only folded when Lynbank patients were dispersed into the community. It was an impressive piece of outreach, and extremely well organised by all concerned.
Towards the end of Dr Allan’s ministry the Scottish Congregational Church united with the United Reformed Church and we became Dunfermline United Reformed Church.
The Congregation took part in the Pilgrim Crossing of Scotland and arranged holidays at Sannox on Arran, Gigha, Iona and Whithorn.
John Sanderson was a student Assistant from October 1991 – 1993 and is now Minister at Rutherglen URC.
Rev Janet Adamson served from 2001 – June 2006. She guided the congregation through the change from Scottish Congregational Church to United Reformed Church and helped in the integration of the St. Paul’s Church of Scotland members who had chosen to continue to worship in the URC when St. Paul’s was dissolved. Mrs Adamson was adept at helping us to accept the new church and the changes that came with it. She took on a joint ministry with Coaltown 25% and Dunfermline 75% which meant that she often had two services on a Sunday with a half hour drive between. She also had a ministry in Coaltown Primary School. A hall mark of her ministry was the innovative use of artwork which transformed the Sanctuary and made it beautiful and memorable, particularly for Christmas, Easter and Harvest.
After a two-year gap, in 2008 the church, again along with Coaltown of Balgonie, called Revd Kathryn Price to be its minister.
The Church Buildings
The church buildings were completed in 1842 including the sanctuary and halls at a cost of about £1500. Since then the sanctuary has been in continuous use as a place of worship except for short periods when renovation was being undertaken. The church halls have also been in continuous use by societies both within the church and from the wider community. The buildings and interiors have been actively maintained throughout with major projects at various times to upgrade the heating, replace the roof and rearrange the halls and the sanctuary. Recently a refurbishment and renovation programme for the halls and sanctuary was started. The initial projects to provide disabled access and facilities are nearing completion. The next phase to completely replace the heating system has been approved and is in progress. Once the heating installation is complete, refurbishment to the sanctuary will be considered.
In its original form the sanctuary was designed to hold a congregation of 400 on two levels. With recent modifications and fire safety restrictions this has been reduced to about 300. The area around the pulpit has been altered and modernised to suit changing styles of worship. However, the pulpit has remained in its original position since construction.
The pipe organ, one of the first in Dunfermline, and one of the few remaining, has been overhauled and upgraded since its installation around 1880. A recent rebuild will, with minor preventative maintenance, allow the organ to continue in full use for at least the next 50 years.
As part of the recent work to improve access for the disabled, some pews were removed to provide comfortable seating for worshippers with disabilities. Pews were also removed to provide an area for young children to remain with their parents or guardians in the sanctuary.