History of St Mary
St Mary’s began its life in 1907 in Ranfurly Castle Hotel, where a small group of Episcopalians joined together for a monthly service. Then towards the end of 1908, a site was given to the church – which explains why St Mary’s is “The little white church in the wood” – and a foundation stone was laid in January 1909. The church was dedicated by Bishop Archibald Campbell on May 1st that same year. They moved fast in 1909!
However, by the early 1920s the church nearly closed because the numbers attending were so small. Then in 1926, a priest was appointed to serve both St Mary’s and St Fillan’s in Kilmacolm and the link has continued ever since. The first priest of the joint charge was provided with a motor cycle by St Mary’s. But the Bishop objected; he felt a car was more seemly for an Episcopal priest!
In 2014, it was decided to join the three Episcopal churches in central Renfrewshire into joint charges (called the Refrewshire Heartland Group) served by a team of ministers, led by a Rector based in Port Glasgow. (Interestingly, in its early days St Fillan’s in Kilmacolm had been served also by the priest at Port Glasgow). The current Rector is the Revd David Gifford, a Welshman. He leads a ministerial team consisting of our priest, the Revd Heller Gonzalez, himself a Cuban, two Scots, a Northern Irishman and a Yorkshireman.
St Mary’s Church is a Scottish Episcopal Church, which can be traced back to Celtic Christianity. Today, we are part of the global Anglican Communion and this is reflected in our current ministerial team.
St Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Church
Bridge of Weir