Nazarene Church, Elm Street

Nazarene Church

   The Church of the Nazarene is an evangelical Christian denomination that emerged from the 19th-century Holiness movement in North America around 1907. The Holiness work in Blantyre began in March 1907, the following year the American movement commenced.

   It was originally called the ‘Blantyre Holiness Mission’ but changed name in 1910 to become the ‘Blantyre Pentecostal Church.’ When they initially formed they met in each others houses, those meetings known as “cottage” or “kitchen meetings”. However by 1909, just 2 years later they worshipped in the Caldwell Hall at the junction of Glasgow Road and the previous location of Auchinraith Road junction. The hall was shared with Stonefield Parish Church.

1952 Nazarene Church Blantyre

1952 Photo of Nazarene Church, Elm Street

   In need of a separate identity and to avoid confusion and conflicting service times, in 1910, opportunity arose to buy land and a large Nissan wooden hut was built. The hut was erected further west in Jackson Street and their inaugural service was held on 10th March 1910 conducted by Rev. George Sharpe, the first minister of the church. George was also doing work for the mission at Parkhead. In those early years anybody involved with the church had to abstain from smoking and drinking. The hut faced on to Jackson Street, the rear facing on to the miners homes of Merry’s Rows.

   Their religious work became a part of the Pentecostal Church of Scotland uniting with the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene in 1915, with other venue added at Perth, Uddingston and Paisley. In Blantyre the church became known after World War One as “The Nazarene Church”, those early names confined to history.

The first resident pastor was Rev. George Dempsie, appointed on 31st August 1910. Since 1907, a total of 24 ministers had served as pastors, the best known of whom was the much respected Rev. William Mackie, who served from 1967 until 1987. Rev. Mackie was a butcher in the Central C0-op on Glasgow Road and sometimes at High Blantyre. A large vacant field was adjacent to the mission hut or “Mission Hall” as it was shown on maps of the era. This field was still vacant right up until the 1950s. In 1924, the Pastor was Pastor McLaglan. By 1931, Pastor Wilkie. In December 1947, Pastor Leslie Roberts was in charge.

   When Elm Street houses were still being constructed in 1952, Mr. Bill Clayden, a member of the congregation asked the council to lay a small path to the rear of the church, so people could access it from the new street. With the council agreeing to the request, it was decided by the congregation, they would reverse the layout of the church entirely, amending the insides to suit. This was done with much enthusiasm and almost single handedly by Bill.

   After many years of meeting in the old Nazarene Church (hut) it eventually burned down in 1980. A new church, on Elm Street was built on the opposite side and officially opened by Mrs. Janet Mackie. It was dedicated on Sunday 24th October 1982. For nearly 100 years the witness was maintained in Blantyre; a ministry that concluded on Sunday 24th September 2006. The Church was officially closed in its centenary year 2007 when the building on Elm Street was sold to St Andrew’s Church of Scotland whose church is adjacent to it, and named, by the Church of Scotland, “Nazarene Hall”.

Nazarene now

Nazarene Church Hall in 2016, Elm Street

   The name lives on – and the work of making Christ known in that community continues. The Nazarene Hall is used every day of the week, for youth and children’s work, for Sunday School and community groups.

From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road South – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,:

Louise Mclachlan I was christened in that church in 82
Helen Allan Foodbank in there tues and thurs 11-2pm still serving the community
Janet Saunders Got married there with Sept 1988..by Willie Mackie..He was a butcher before a minster? ?
Betty McLean Paul Bill Clayton was a minister, another rule was no movies, no makeup afraid I broke some of those rules. Happy to say things have changed.
Blantyre Project makeup? To a church!? Well, my goodness! 😉
Betty McLean i should have put Clayden. Our son and daughter were christened in the wee hut. Alex’s dad played the organ and so did Willie Mackie. A lot of good people attended the church.
Blantyre Project These streets and buildings must hold a lot of memories for you Betty,
Thea Borland Mcnamee Used to go to sunday school there late 60’s
Liz Allan Thank you for the info
Davy Thomson My grandas auld church,, pastor Roberts
Peter Carney Remember him Davy Thomson
He stayed in welshdrive
Davy Thomson He did that Pete
Ina Sanders my nana and papa took me there for sunday school
Ina Sanders my daughter and son got christened there by rev Mackie
Samuel Rodger I Preached there at the new building on Elm Street around 4 times during a vacant time and the last time I preached for them was across Glasgow Road in a sheltered housing building.

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