“SERVING THE COMMUNITY”
In 1977, it was decided that the old Gillespie Church, which had been closed some years earlier because of merging local congregations, should be converted into a Community Centre serving Biggar and the surrounding area. Cameron McKenzie, the then Minister of Biggar Kirk, took on the role of masterminding the project. Sufficient money was secured from the community by grants, donations and fundraising activities and the Gillespie Centre opened in 1982 as “The Church Serving the Community.”
The cornerstone of the Centre was its Coffee Shop, where volunteers served home-baked food to locals and visitors alike, but there were also halls available for rent by local organizations. For 20 years the activity was successfully run by Biggar Kirk, but it became obvious early in the new decade that modernization would have to take place and the building would require to undergo a major upgrade to make it more user-friendly and to maintain its compliance with ever-changing rules and regulations.
Accordingly, additional funding was secured giving rise to the Gillespie Centre Association and a slightly changed, more formal relationship with Biggar Kirk. As they had done 25 years earlier, the community within the Biggar area once again proved their generosity. With major funding partners secured the refurbishment project and this was completed in the middle of 2007 and the “new” Gillespie Centre opened its doors again for the community.
During April 2017, the Trustees of the Gillespie Centre Association asked that Biggar Kirk consider taking back the management of the Centre in order that it can remain open for the benefit of the community.
This proposal was considered by the Kirk Session resulting in a unanimous decision to respond positively to the Trustees of the Gillespie Association. The handover was completed and agreed by Gillespie Centre Members and OSCR. The Management Committee was appointed by Biggar Kirk Session taking up their responsibility on 1 October 2017.
The Centre is blessed to have over forty volunteers sharing their time and skills. This includes serving in the café, financial and legal management, architectural skills, catering and so much more.
During the last five years we have been busy with many aspects of the Centre that are not always obvious including the massive work upgrading the heating and new flooring in the Upper Hall which has made a positive impact. The work on the ground floor includes the corridor, small hall, meeting room and toilet situated at the back of the property and more recently the café area has been decorated and new flooring installed with the installation of a new window allowing you to view the amazing selection of cakes before you order! The work on the front of the building including the ramp has now been completed and further work has been scheduled on the stonework etc with planned completion in early Spring.
The café continues to be the hub of the community with many groups using the halls and meeting room facilities for a range of classes and activities. The Quiet Room is a small space with a Prayer Time scheduled Tuesday to Friday from 0915 – 0930 where you will find a warm welcome.
We are grateful to our funders for all the support given to us and our staff and management teams for their hard work and commitment to the Centre.
We continue to operate in the spirit of our Mission Statement: “The Gillespie Centre providing an attractive, welcoming community facility including café and halls where all may enjoy friendship and the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities.”
Our church is part of the Reformed Presbyterian tradition but we welcome believers of every denomination to our services. Our congregation is made up of worshippers from all walks of life and from various traditions, but we come together to worship and to serve God.
You are most welcome in Biggar Kirk, whether as a visitor to the town or as a new resident to the area. It is our hope that you will be a frequent visitor or become part of our church family. Sunday services begin at 11.15 am and Sunday Club for the younger folks and also Youth Fellowship. Coffee is served after Church in St. Mary’s Hall in Northback Road.