150 years of Strathkinness Church

Above the door of Strathkinness church the date carved in stone is 1864 so on 5th October its congregation will celebrate its 150th anniversary.   Though some villagers of the Relief and other persuasions had previously tried to establish in the village, the church which is now Holy Trinity in St Andrews was the Parish Church.   Clearly the distances involved created difficulties even for the hardy folk of that age and the Parish church provided preachers who led worship in the school room.   In time, the demand for their own kirk grew more irresistible until the law was changed to allow a new “quad Sancta” parish to be established and in 1860 the church congregation was created.   The property owners, being Trustees accepted their responsibilities and in November 1863 minuted, “It is advisable, if the funds can be raised, that a new church should be built”.   By February they worked on plans and specifications and by September 1864 reported that the new church was finished.

So it was that the church opened its doors on land donated by landowner and R&A grandee John Whyte Melville of the big hoose.   A few years later a manse was built and the church continued to develop as the village grew with work in agriculture and in the quarries that provided much of the stone to build St Andrews.   There was some decline by the end of the century both in the workplace and in adherence to the church though it was a time of modernisation.   Out went the Precentor and his box, in came choir stalls and a harmonium costing £25.   Communion tokens were abandoned and the Minister intimated that it was unfitting that the manse did not have a bath.   The big event of the early 20th century was the Free Church uniting with the Church of Scotland in 1929.   Not in Strathkinness it didn’t.   The canny folk waited till the very long serving Parish Minister died before uniting five years later.

In the post war years the church has had further embellishment with the installation of stained glass windows surplus the University’s requirements, heating, lighting and furnishing improvements and the building of a hall.   Two halls, actually.   The first one, with little money available, lasted no more than 40 years but the present one fulfils all our needs.

More modern times brought a linkage into a group of 3 churches which served during the ministry of the Rev Alex Strickland but with more recent pressures on the availability of ministers, money and members, Strathkinness has resumed its original association with St Andrews by being united with Hope Park and Martyrs Church.

Thus Strathkinness church reaches its 150 years of service in the village with a service of commemoration and celebration on Sunday 5th October at 11am conducted by its minister the Rev. Allan McCafferty, with Rev Alex Strickland preaching and the participation of the Very Rev. David Arnott.   This will be followed by a congregational lunch but on the previous day, Saturday 4th October there will be a display in the church of flowers and the work and life of Strathkinness Kirk over the years and the folk who contributed to so much to it. Come between 10am and noon or 2 to 4pm.   Visit and have tea with the present guardians.