Lochwinnoch Parish Church may have celebrated the bi-centenary of our present building in 2008, however the history of the congregation and Christianity in Lochwinnoch reaches back many years. The congregation are now looking towards the future as we seek to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone in our parish and all who worship with us. In the past year we have taken that Good News on to the streets of our village as we presented the “Lochwinnoch Mystery Play” on Palm Sunday 2010.
On special occasions we celebrate with our friends from Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church and Calder United Free Church. Many seasonal services are shared with Calder United Free Church. We are an open, welcoming congregation and a warm welcome awaits all visitors.
The earliest Christian visitors to Lochwinnoch were probably Celtic monks in the sixth century. A preaching stone has been found in the village and the names of some local farms suggest that they are old preaching sites. The earliest documents referring to Lochwinnoch are charters of the transfer of land to the monks of Paisley Abbey, in the twelfth century.
While the last remaining section of the previous church, at the foot of Johnshill, now referred to as Auld Simon, dates only from 1729, there were earlier buildings on that site. Around it had grown a settlement known as the Kirktoun of Lochwinnoch, dedicated to St John, the original name of the Parish Church. The road name Johnshill is a reminder of these times.
In the early years of the 19th century, the structure of the old church was declared unsound and so a new, larger building was planned to be built in Church Street, nearer to the centre of the growing industrial village. The present building was dedicated to the glory of God on 4th October 1808.
At the Disruption in 1843, the Rev Robert Smith, who had been Parish Minister since 1815, walked out with about 400 of his congregation to form Lochwinnoch Free Church with a building behind the Parish Church. These two congregations were reunited in 1947. To mark the bicentenary of the present building, a book, Lochwinnoch Church, 1808 to 2008 was written and is available at the church.