Our History

1880 – 1890

The first public meeting held about the proposed new church was held in Clarkston Toll House on 24th January 1881. After many further meetings and much discussion as to the site, it was decided to accept the third offer from M Jas. D. Hamilton of Greenbank on the west side of Eaglesham Road. As there were, conveniently, no road making costs, the architects were instructed they could increase the cost of the new church from £2900 to £3100. The eventual cost of the building and furnishings was £4055.

On Tuesday, 20th November 1883 James Fraser was ordained as minister of the new church. Soon afterwards, gas lighting and a harmonium were installed, a church officer was appointed (at a salary of £20 a year) and the church was cleaned and washed. Greenbank Church opened on Sunday 13th April 1884.

Soon there was a popular Sunday School that had grown so big that the hall at the back of the church could not hold everyone and the church had to used as well. By 1886, there was a monthly meeting on Friday evenings for children with ‘magic lantern exhibitions and similar amusements’. A Boys Brigade company was set up and by 1888 there was a Young Men and Young Women’s Guild.

Greenbank, however, was not a parish church. To achieve this an investment fund had to be established to help pay the minister’s salary. A huge effort by the congregation resulted in a Bazaar held in the Victoria Halls in West Regent Street, Glasgow over three days in October 1888, which raised £1,180 equivalent to almost four years of offerings at the time. This allowed the Parish Of Greenbank to be created, which, at that time, included Busby, Sheddens, Waterfoot, Thorntonhall, Giffnock and Clarkston. The first elders, nine in number, were ordained in October 1889.


1890 – 1910

Greenbank began the decade concerned by draughts in the church, a leaky roof and water in the tower.

Repairs in 1891 cost £50, exceeding the annual budget for repairs and maintenance by £45.

Nevertheless by 1893 Greenbank was free of all debt for the first time. Its thoughts therefore turned to building a manse for the minister.   A manse fund was started in 1894 and the manse was built the following year at a cost of £1400. The church borrowed £900 for this purpose and the minister paid the interest on the loan himself. When the Women’s Guild was formed in Greenbank in 1905, it immediately proposed another bazaar be held to clear off the debt on the manse. A jumble sale was held to raise money for expenses and the bazaar was held in March 1907 in Charing Cross Halls. So successful was the event that it raised £1100 and not only paid off the manse but also provided £130 for repairs and decoration although “the question of Venetian blinds was left in the minister’s hands”.

Life in Greenbank was not entirely harmonious, however. There were complaints about the quality of the music and singing. The organ kept breaking down and, although it was replaced in 1892, the new one proved to be even more unreliable. The saga of the church organ continued into the new century. A proper pipe organ was installed in 1903 after another fundraising effort. At this time hydraulic pressure worked the organ and at times there was not enough water for the organist to get a tune out of it. (In 1912, a man was eventually brought in to work the bellows at a fee of one shilling (5p) per service.)

By 1908, Mr Fraser had been minister in Greenbank for 25 years. Eighty new members joined that year and, as he said at the time, Greenbank was “complete, well-appointed and without a single penny of debt.

1911 – 1930

The First World War affected the congregation of Greenbank in many ways. In 1916 restrictions on blinds and lighting were imposed so evening services were cancelled for while. Many of Greenbank’s young men volunteered for the services and when conscription was introduced in 1916, many more joined up. The absence of these young men created difficulties for the Sunday School and the youth organisations in which they had served as leaders. More significantly, however, some of them did not return and on 22nd December 1918, a memorial service was held for the 21 servicemen Greenbank had lost. The church tower gained its clock by a donation in gratitude for the safe return of a son but also in memory of those who had given their lives.

The period after WW1 saw significant changes in Clarkston as owner occupied house building burgeoned and, with the opening of a tramway in 1921 also increasing the popularity of Clarkston as a residential area, it became a suburban parish. As a result, Mr. Cowley, who became Minister after Mr. Fraser’s death in 1921, oversaw a great many developments in Greenbank. The Cowley Hall was opened in 1927 and electricity was installed in the church in 1928. The new hall was needed as the number of organisations in the church increased. For example, a young men’s guild was set up and in 1924 the 223rd Glasgow Company of the Boys Brigade was established. The Badminton Club began in 1927 but it was a Sunday School of 300 and a Bible Class of 100 that shows how important the investment in accommodation was.   In 1924, thirteen gaily coloured farm carts ferried the Sunday School to Letham Farm on their annual outing.

It should also be noted that the quality of the praise was still causing concern during this period. However, electrification of the organ, the employment of a paid lead singer and the introduction of new hymn book by 1928 seemed to put an end to the problems.

1931 – 1945

In the 1930s Clarkston continued to grow as people moved from areas such as Langside, Kings Park and Rutherglen and joined Greenbank. Such was the growth that churches were established at Williamwood and Stamperland. Greenbank assisted in the setting up of both.

Such was the pressure on the Fabric Committee during this period that a new constitution was introduced to establish a Congregational Board in 1933 consisting of the Minister and nine elders who assumed responsibility for the temporal affairs of the church.

1934 marked Greenbank’s 50th Jubilee. The Women’s Guild’s sales of work were renowned over a wide area with the 1934 event being opened by Sir Harry Lauder. Moreover, as accommodation was a continuing problem, plans were laid to provide a chancel and extra seating. There was also to be a choir room and a session house. A combination of donations, fundraising and special appeals raised the £5000 required for the build. Of particular note are the stained glass windows given by Mrs W. Brown and the oak pulpit and elders’ pews donated by the Fraser family. An anonymous donation paid for the overhaul of the organ. The new extension was finally opened and the church rededicated in 1937.

1939 brought the outbreak of WW2. Within days of the declaration in September, Greenbank was affected. Lighting restrictions curtailed evening activities and some were transferred to daylight hours. By November, thirty Greenbank members were on active service and many others relocated their families to rural areas. Those who remained busied themselves in the Comforts Fund for those involved in the fighting. The church halls were used as a refuge for about 80 people made homeless by the bombing of Clydebank and later in the war they were employed as a rest centre for soldiers. Apart from the loss of its railings, the church itself was unscathed by the war. The nearest it came to active involvement was in 1941 when Rudolph Hess’s plane flew overhead on its way to Eaglesham. Unfortunately, however, a number of Greenbank’s men did not return from the war and their names were added to the memorial in December 1946.

In the 1930s Clarkston continued to grow as people moved from areas such as Langside, Kings Park and Rutherglen and joined Greenbank. Such was the growth that churches were established at Williamwood and Stamperland. Greenbank assisted in the setting up of both.

Such was the pressure on the Fabric Committee during this period that a new constitution was introduced to establish a Congregational Board in 1933 consisting of the Minister and nine elders who assumed responsibility for the temporal affairs of the church.

1934 marked Greenbank’s 50th Jubilee. The Women’s Guild’s sales of work were renowned over a wide area with the 1934 event being opened by Sir Harry Lauder. Moreover, as accommodation was a continuing problem, plans were laid to provide a chancel and extra seating. There was also to be a choir room and a session house. A combination of donations, fundraising and special appeals raised the £5000 required for the build. Of particular note are the stained glass windows given by Mrs W. Brown and the oak pulpit and elders’ pews donated by the Fraser family. An anonymous donation paid for the overhaul of the organ. The new extension was finally opened and the church rededicated in 1937.

1939 brought the outbreak of WW2. Within days of the declaration in September, Greenbank was affected. Lighting restrictions curtailed evening activities and some were transferred to daylight hours. By November, thirty Greenbank members were on active service and many others relocated their families to rural areas. Those who remained busied themselves in the Comforts Fund for those involved in the fighting. The church halls were used as a refuge for about 80 people made homeless by the bombing of Clydebank and later in the war they were employed as a rest centre for soldiers. Apart from the loss of its railings, the church itself was unscathed by the war. The nearest it came to active involvement was in 1941 when Rudolph Hess’s plane flew overhead on its way to Eaglesham. Unfortunately, however, a number of Greenbank’s men did not return from the war and their names were added to the memorial in December 1946.


1945 – 1960

After the war, Greenbank’s thoughts once again turned to its fabric and buildings. It was fortunate that the buildings were in good condition since wartime restrictions were still in place but the subject of a house for the church officer was raised. £1,200 had been gifted towards the build but it was not until 1954 when £3,000 had been raised that building commenced. In 1956, the church officer moved in. In the mid 50s wartime restrictions were finally lifted but by this time a lot of money had to be spent on the buildings: the church was redecorated, the heating system overhauled and the organ repaired and reconstructed.   The stonework was also repaired and a sound system installed.

This period also witnessed the retirement of Mr Cowley after 29 years as Minister of Greenbank. He was succeeded in June 1950 by Mr Fulton, who said at his induction, “I visualise Greenbank as a family of families.” It was a huge family. By 1954 there were 1500 members. 1955 brought 251 new members, 51 of whom were first communicants. New members never fell below 100 in the 1950s and in 1959 the roll stood at 1,820. This was also a period of great activity in church organisations with a huge Sunday School, the Brownies and Guides – with a waiting list, the Boys Brigade with a pipe band, the Country Dancers, a Mother’s and Young Children’s Group, a drama group and , of course, The Guild.

Finance, as ever, was a concern. The freewill offering scheme was started in 1947 and was quite successful in getting members to make their offerings more regular. A Quinquennial Visitation in 1958 commented adversely on the level of givings but the problem had already been recognised as in the same year the congregational appeal produced a surplus of £803. Bonds of Annuity were also introduced at this time..

In addition, Greenbank played a full role in the wider work of the Church. In 1945 it became involved in the National Church Extension Scheme and was congratulated in 1953 for achieving its ten-year fund raising target within 7 years. There was a clear need for new churches because of the new towns and housing estates being built. Thus, in 1954, Greenbank entered a Partnership Plan with the new Castlemilk churches to provide £200 a year for five years. Several organisations, and in particular the Woman’s Guild, were instrumental in raising the funds and many church members also helped in the formation and running of organisations in Castlemilk.

1961-1975

In the early 1960s, thoughts turned to how to make use of the talents of all the congregation. A Stewardship Campaign resulted, after much planning, in a congregational meal in Crossmyloof Ice Rink. From this initiative came offers to lead organisations and set up Bible Study and Prayer Groups.   A system to transport members to church was established as well as a Befrienders Team. Many existing groups and activities also benefitted from additional support and there was a 25% increase in givings.

In 1964, after much discussion as to the cost, it was decided to replace the old hut with a new hall and session house. Building began in 1966 and the new halls were opened in July 1967. The lower hall was dedicated to Greenbank’s first Minister, Mr Fraser.   The final cost was £10,000 over the original estimate. Nevertheless, finance was still found to replace the old coal fired heating system with an oil-fired boiler. Although a sound decision at the time, it was regretted in the 1970s when oil prices quadrupled and the Board was forced to find ways to economise on heating.

The Minister, Mr Fulton, celebrated 25 years in Greenbank in 1964. However, from this point onwards, his health steadily deteriorated until his death in 1970. The Fulton Hall of Friendship was dedicated to his memory, as was the mural of The Book of Ruth in the transept by Alistair Gray.

Dr Angus T. Stewart was inducted as Minister of Greenbank on 31st March 1971.

In October of that year, Greenbank played a central role in the memorial service for the Clarkston Disaster when 20 people were killed as a result of the gas explosion at Clarkston Toll. The BBC broadcast the service, and the church and its halls were packed to capacity.

The job of ministering to a congregation of 1800 was eased a little in 1973 when a church secretary was appointed and Mr John Rankin was appointed as full-time probationer assistant.

Greenbank continued during this period to help other churches. In 1972 Mr Matthew Miller went to serve on the Kirk Session of the new Greenhills Parish Church in East Kilbride and communion cups and trays were gifted. In 1975 a gift of £300 was made to Castlemilk East Church to help towards the building fund debt.

1976 – 1990

The late 1970s began another period of refurbishment: the church was repainted, the electrical wiring was replaced and extensive remedial work was carried out on the stonework in the tower. No solution was found for the drainage problems in the church grounds, however.

In 1979 the Visitors’ Book was introduced. In a very busy 1982, the Congregational Board addressed such varied matters as plasterwork, pew cushions, rubbish bins, chancel lighting, external doors and exit signs and Dr. Stewart was appointed Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery. Also, with Greenbank’s Centenary approaching, a Centenary Committee was established.

The Committee set about fund raising with celebrations planned to last three weeks. There was difficulty in deciding on a suitable project. The final proposal was to create a two-storey building with a walkway between the church and halls, a small hall above the Cowley transept, and refurbishment of the Cowley Hall with possible new heating. A nearly new shop was opened as a fundraiser. However, despite various donations, by April 1984 the final total was £43,000. This proved insufficient for the original plans, which now needed reconsideration. Nonetheless, the Centenary produced many highlights. The 223rd Boys Brigade presented bibles. The Moderator, Dr James Fraser McLuskey, preached at the Easter service. Members were given a memento of an old communion token. In August 1984 Greenbank’s first summer mission team went to Dornoch and in September women elders – five in number – were appointed to Greenbank Kirk Session for the first time. In April 1985 the Centenary Chapel was created. The communion table for the Chapel and the public address and loop system were gifted to the church.

After the excitement of the centenary celebrations, the Church turned to other business. In 1986 there was a petition against seven day opening and concern was expressed over the use of the common cup because of AIDS/HIV. Greenbank also joined the technological age with the purchase of its first computer. The fundraising campaign in 1985/86 saw a magnificent 49% increase in offerings and a doubling of bonds.

In 1987, Greenbank Mother and Toddlers Group was formed, while in 1988 taping of church services for housebound began.   In June 1989, Greenbank played host to a group of young people from Des Moines and in 1990 there was visit to Munich. Also in 1990, the church office opened and the Garden of Remembrance was donated the same year.

1991 – 2005

The link building between the church and the halls was opened in 1992 as a very welcome shelter on the way to the church halls as well as providing a very necessary disabled access to both church and halls. A new church organ was also purchased.

In 1993 all age worship was introduced. However, an alternative service was introduced in early 1994 to accommodate those who preferred quieter worship. The present pulpit fall was donated in 1994.

The 1990s also witnessed a reappraisal of Greenbank’s mission with ‘The Ministry of All God’s People’.  The Kirk Session attended a conference at Crieff with a view to evaluating its impact on Greenbank.  In 1995, the Session thought it would be helpful to the congregation and visitors if they wore name badges and photographs of elders were made available. In 1996 the Lunch Club was established.

There was also an increasing focus on young people in the church.  A youth forum was established to examine Greenbank’s provision for young people and ways to increase participation. The legal requirement to institute safeguarding procedures for young people began in 1996 too.

Dr Stewart retired in August 1999 after 28 years as minister of Greenbank.  He was much missed.

Mr Shaw was appointed as minister in October 1999. During his time as minister, Kirk Session meetings were opened up to all members of the congregation and working parties were set up to assess the various ways the report from the Church of Scotland entitled ‘A Church without Walls’ could impact on Greenbank. Greenbank’s website went online in 2001.  Mr Shaw left in 2002.

In 2003, Greenbank welcomed its first woman minister, Mrs Jeanne Roddick.  The following year saw the celebration of Greenbank’s 120th anniversary with a variety of events including a ceilidh.   Work continued in shaping Greenbank’s Vision arising from the work on ‘Church without Walls’.  Greenbank’s Praise Band, Age Gap, was set up in 2004.

It was also decided to return to one Sunday service in 2005.  This was followed by the introduction of tea and coffee after the morning service. The new church hymnary, CH4, was adopted and copies were gifted to the church.  In addition, Greenbank went ‘hi-tech’ when the multi- media system was installed in the church.

War Memorial

A war memorial dedicated to thosemembers of Greenbank who were killed in the two world wars can be found in the front vestibule.On entering the church, on the facing wall there are three plaques dedicated to those who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2. The plaques are inlaid into a wooden frame.Further information on those who names are listed on the memorials can be found by consulting The Scottish War
Memorials Project.

The Pulpit Fall

The pulpit fall was unveiled and dedicated during the 11 o’clock service on Sunday, 1st May 1994.It was designed by Mr Alistair Watt and stitched by his daughter Sheila, gifted in memory of a much-loved wife and mother.

The shape, colour and length of the Fall were chosen to complement the pulpit area as well as being a foil to the colours used in the embroidery. The main
theme, the Burning Bush, is the insignia of The Church of Scotland: and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2)

The colours used in this depiction of the Bush have certain symbolic meanings.The greens, used in the leaves, remind us of vegetation and spring, and thus symbolise the triumph of Spring over Winter, or of Life over Death. Golden yellow is the emblem of the sun and of divinity, and in certain religious paintings of the Renaissance period the background flows with a golden hue, to
enhance the sacredness of the subject matter. Red, the colour of fire, is used during the season of Pentecost, which commemorates the coming of the Holy Ghost. White, as used in the central flames, has always been accepted as symbolising the innocence of the soul, purity and the holiness of life. Silver was chosen for the cross, both for reasons of aesthetics and for the light and purity which this colour suggests.

The Celtic cross was chosen initially for the balance and enhancement of the overall design, but also for the symbolism of the circle, or “Ring of Glory” which represents life never-ending.
The quadrants of red reflect the red in the stained glass windows, and the dove
superimposed on the centre is a symbol used many times in Christian art, from
the story of Noah to John’s vision of the Holy Ghost descending like a dove at the baptism of Jesus.
The butterfly is, of course, a symbol of the resurrection of Christ, and thus the
resurrection of all. The meaning is taken from the three stages in the life of the
butterfly, as represented by the caterpillar, the chrysalis and the butterfly,
symbolic of life, death and the resurrection.

The Memorial Mural: The Book of Ruth

The East Wall

Boaz, divided from Ruth by a curtain, sings to the others at the feast. Later, exhausted by food, drink and merriment, he falls asleep on a heap of grain. (This incident is not shown in the mural). Naomi has foreseen this, and instructed Ruth to take off his shoes and lie near him till he wakes, and then ask for his protection. He wakes early in the morning and, cheered by her company, thanks her for not going off with  younger men. In effect, he recognises that she is wooing him, but respects her reputation, and sends her back to Bethlehem before it is light enough for people to see her. He also fills her cloak with grain as a present for Naomi.
Outside the threshing-shed, Ruth is shown going toward the gate of Bethlehem, the sky overhead paling from dawn to noontide.

The reasons why Boaz has not immediately suggested marriage to Ruth is that Noami has a closer kinsman than himself, who has a prior claim to aid the widow by marrying her daughter-in-law. Boaz waits at the city gates until the nearer relation passes by, then calls him over, and in the presence of twelve elders asks him if he wishes to marry Ruth. The closer relative relinquishes his right of inheritance; holding up his shoe he swears he has no claim upon Ruth, thereby leaving the way clear for Boaz to marry her.

The ceremony is shown taking place under a canopy. And on the extreme right Ruth and Boaz stand beside the seated Naomi, who holds their son upon her lap. By adopting him as her own son, she has made him one of the chosen people. He becomes the grandfather of King David, and an ancestor of Christ.
In 1950 the Rev Archibald Fulton succeeded Mr Cowley as minister and on Mr Fulton’s death in 1970 the Rev Dr Angus Stewart succeeded him. The mural in the transept, based on the Old Testament Book of Ruth, is by Alasdair Gray and it, together with the adjacent wall plaque, was dedicated in memory of Mr Fulton in 1973.
The West Wall


The mural begins at the left corner where Orpah and Ruth embraced Naomi in a necropolis. The wild weather above them, the broken withering tree, the carrion crow all suggest trouble, dearth and death but the tree puts out a living branch, meaning renewal.
Naomi, bitter in misfortune, tells the girls to return to their own families, as she has no more sons for them to wed and she means to go back to her home town, Bethlehem in Israel. Ruth declares she will go with her: “Your people will be my people, your God shall be my God.” The journey is represented by the figures crossing the bridge from the Moabite city to the harvest fields outside Bethlehem, by the dead leaves driven by the wind, and by the migrating swallows. The wild weather over Moab and the clement air in Israel are linked by a rainbow, another heavenly sign of renewal. In Bethlehem Ruth goes gleaning to support her mother-in-law, and does so in the fields of a rich farmer called Boaz. He is shown on the right, seated on a platform overlooking the fields. He has noticed the foreign girl among the gleaning women, and learned who she is from the overseer beside him. He has given orders that the reapers drop extra handfuls of corn in Ruth’s way, and she has come to thank him and ask why. He explains that he knows her history and wants to help her, and that his men have been told not to molest her, and that water will be drawn for her when she thirsts.

The North (window) Wall
Boaz is a distant kinsman of Naomi. On hearing he has shown an interest in Ruth, Naomi tells her to dress her hair and put on her best clothes. That night there is to be a feast at the threshing floor where the men will celebrate the bringing in of the barley harvest. No women will be there, but Naomi tells Ruth to spy on them without being seen, and to watch where Boaz lies down after the feast. The window wall design moves from daytime on the left, to night-time on the right. The two tall trees between the windows are the tree of Life and the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The Chancel

In 1921 Mr Fraser died and was succeeded by the Rev James Cowley. Memorial wall plaques to both these ministers are in the original Church.

In 1929 at the Union of the Churches, Greenbank transferred to the Presbytery of Glasgow. In 1934 it was decided to extend the Church. The architect for the extension, which consists of the present chancel and transept, was Joseph Wilson with advice being given by Sir D Y Cameron RA, a noted Scottish artist. The chancel contains beautiful carved woodwork, the work of Macneill Brothers, Beith and John Crawford of Glasgow.

The windows and wooden furnishings were largely gifted by members and  friends of the congregation, many in memory of loved ones.

On the chancel walls are three stained glass windows designed by James Ballantine of Edinburgh.

The Organ

The pipe organ was installed in 1903. At this time hydraulic pressure worked the organ and at times there was not enough water for the organist to get a tune out of it. (In 1912, a man was eventually brought in to work the bellows at a fee of one shilling (5p) per service.) The organ was electrified in 1928 and overhauled in 1937. In 1992an Allen electronic organ was purchased as it was uneconomical to refurbish the original. The originalorgan pipes remain.

The Stained Glass Windows

The Middle or Love Window

This shows Christ Blessing the Children as the central theme.“Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” Above is Christ the Good Shepherd. “Our Lord Jesus that great Shepherd of the sheep” and below is the supreme revelation of the love of the Son of God in the fellowship of the supper.

The Left or Faith Window

In a lovely blue, this window is based on the 104th Psalm version of the Creation. “O Lord my God, Who covered thyself with light … Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created.” At the foot, the Birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, is represented.“I bring you good tidings of great joy.”

The right or Hope Window

The tones of green carry forward the idea of Christ and youth into the Life everlasting. Children with garlands of flowers and playing happily give a modern interpretation of the words:“The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing.” Below is shown the Angel of the Resurrection with the Cross in the background and the words: “He is not here, for He is risen.” These windows were presented to Greenbank as a memorial to William Brown of Rhuallan who died in October 1934 and were donated by Mrs Brown and family.

The Centenary Chapel

The Centenary Chapel (the pews on the left side of the church as you enter) was created to mark the 100th anniversary of the building of the Church with the seating and screen behind the communion table being a gift from the Greenbank Women’s Guild to mark the national organisation’s centenary in 1987.

The Church Halls

A Church Hall was opened in 1927. (See the stone on the external wall facing Eaglesham Road). A suite of new halls attached to the original hall was dedicated in 1967 and a building linking the halls to the church was added in 1993, the architect for this link building being John Wallace of the Eaglesham.

In 2014, a ‘Quiet Garden’ was gifted to the church in memory of Mr Jack McKinley, a former session clerk of Greenbank. This provides an area for both contemplation and play in the church grounds.


Church Halls

Cancellation of Worship ServicesCorona Virus Response

Church of Scotland Task Group has asked in the strongest terms, that all gatherings for worship should cease until further notice, with effect from Wednesday 17th March 2020. This will obviously include the Easter services.

We will keep you updated with any further information as soon as we have it. 

In the meantime, may you all keep safe and well and know the loving presence of God with you during these times.