United Reformed Church, Barrhead

Image of the United Reformed Church, Barrhead

About the same time as the Disruption, another doctrinal dispute was ongoing in the Church of Scotland. Presbyterians accepted the Calvinistic Doctrine of Election as defined in the Westminster Confession of Faith. To this doctrine was offered that of free salvation for all, with the Rev. Dr. Morrison of Kilmarnock as leader of the new dissenters. In 1844 a small local group set up an independent church in Neilston.

In 1853 the Morrisonian Church in Arthurlie Street (now the United Reformed Church) was opened. The first minister was Rev. Mr. McCallum. Another notable minister was the Rev. Alexander Davidson, father of John Davidson, poet and friend of Oscar Wilde.

The church became a leading influence in the cultural life in Barrhead. It acquired the first church organ in the town. Mr Rochester, the organist, was also a conductor of Barrhead Brass Band.

The most notable minister of the church was Rev. Edward Bruce Kirk, a noted amateur astronomer. Barrhead Co-operative Society evolved from a meeting in the Morrisonian Church in 1861.