History

Grahamston United Church was formed when the four local Churches, Grahamston Parish, Grahams Road, Trinity E.U. Congregational and Falkirk Methodist representing three different denominations, Church of Scotland, Congregational now United Reformed Church and Methodist, came together as one congregation. This ecumenical experiment saw its birth on Sunday 9th January 1972 when the Very Rev. Lord McLeod of Fuinary, a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland preached at the inaugural service. He was assisted by Rev. Robert Waters, Secretary of the Congregational Union of Scotland, and the Rev. H.H. Tenant, Chairman if the Methodist Synod in Scotland and Rev. Gavin Brown of the Church of Scotland.

The experiment came into being after several years of co-operation among the churches in the area for two reasons. On one hand there was an awareness that four churches competing for declining population made little sense and was bad stewardship. On the other hand, there was a vision of a united church ministering to the area in witness and service. So, the United Church came into being with four congregations, three ministers and two sets of buildings.

All four congregations had been established in the area during the last quarter of the 19th century to serve the industrial population who provided the labour for Falkirk’s castings industry- which had all but vanished by 1972. Grahamston Parish was raised to “quoad sacra” status out of Falkirk Parish in 1876. Grahams Road Church traced its roots back to the secession of 1733, the congregation transferring in 1879 from the building of the Cow Wynd in central Falkirk – “the Tattie Kirk” to a new building in Grahams Road. The EU Congregational – Trinity Church in Meeks Road – had a chequered history which reach back to the middle of the 18th century. The Methodist Church was established in James Street in 1894.

The early years of the experiment were not easy with many for various reasons leaving to worship elsewhere. After three years the United Church became fully integrated with members worshipping as one congregation in one building. Slowly the initial difficulties of four congregations coming together were resolved and the members began to feel a pride in their identity as ecumenical pioneers. The congregation built on the organisations inherited from the past and began to develop new ones to serve all ages. The buildings were extended and improved and were in use morning to night, seven days a week. Not only Church groups found a place to meet but a variety of community groups.

In 2000 Grahamston United Church became part of the United Reformed Church as a result of almost fifty congregations of the Congregational Union of Scotland voting to join the United Reformed Church. 

In 2018 as part of Falkirk Presbytery readjustment Grahamston United Church was further expanded with assimilation of St James Parish Church into the united church.

As Grahamston United Church approaches it half century we continue to maintain and hold true to the traditions of the three denominations, and we hope the pioneering spirit that set us off on the ecumenical path in 1972.