The churches that make us: Oakshaw Trinity
A series covering the breadth of church life in the United Reformed Church. This month, Reform visits Paisley
Climb the tower of Oakshaw Trinity Church in Paisley and you find yourself at the highest point of the entire town. If the wind hurling itself around the spire isn’t evidence enough, then the views are – the Campsie Fells to the north, and to the south the former textile mills that made the town its fortune.
The church (formerly Paisley High Kirk) and the Wynd Centre (an expensively refurbished St John’s Kirk) are the twin centres of Oakshaw, a Local Ecumenical Project (LEP) that includes members of Paisley’s United Reformed Church. Their own former building crowns the steeply climbing School Wynd from which the Centre takes its name. These three congregations united as a worshipping body in 1991; they were joined three years later by Orr Square Church of Scotland.
Even before the Plan of Union was accepted, there had been a closeness between the congregations that made the decision, if not inevitable then at least a natural development. The Revd Gordon Armstrong says that rather than being a top-down decision imposed through Church structures, the move towards union really ‘came from bottom up – which is why it has been so successful’. Members had worked together successfully to establish the original Wynd Centre in 1984 in halls next door to the then St John’s. They had run a coffee shop and facilitated a well-regarded centre for counselling. If all this community-facing activity was being achieved cooperatively, they asked, why shouldn’t they worship together equally as well?..
Laurence Wareing is Content Editor of Reform
This is an extract from an article published in the November 2022 edition of Reform