St George's Tron Church
History and museums
The St George's Tron Church, in Glasgow, Scotland, is a Church of Scotland church in the city centre, located in Nelson Mandela Place near Queen Street Station. It should not be confused with the 17th-century Tron Church, which lies to the south-west on Trongate and was redeveloped in the 1980s as the Tron Theatre. Right on the busiest shopping street in Scotland (above Buchanan Street, Glasgow) the building is a significant presence, and the oldest in the area. It stands as a terminating vista for West George Street.
The building, which was commissioned by the City Fathers was designed by William Stark, was opened in 1808, originally as St. George's Parish Church. In 1815 Thomas Chalmers, later to be the leader of the evangelical party in the disruption of 1843, became minister of the church. A notable minister of the parish was Tom Allan, a key figure in the Scottish evangelical movement of the mid-20th century. Another notable minister, also an evangelical, was Eric Alexander, who served from 1977 to 1997. In 2012 the then minister and congregation seceded from the Church of Scotland and a new Church of Scotland congregation was established in the building in the following year.
From 2007-9 the church building was extensively refurbished by CRGP architects and surveyors, at a cost of £3m, the vast majority of it raised by the then congregation. This restored a number of original features which had been concealed by practical alterations over the years as well as revealing and addressing structural weaknesses in the tower which could have been catastrophic if left unaddressed. The new interior is much more open and of contemporary design.
In 2012 the then minister and all of the 500 members of the congregation left the Church of Scotland over the ongoing discussions within the Church of whether to permit openly gay clergy, which the congregation saw as the Church of Scotland rejecting the Authority of Scripture. They moved to a nearby building in order to continue as an independent congregation. There was controversy after Messengers of Arms interrupted the congregational prayer meeting and requested the minister leading the prayer meeting come and meet with them. They then served him with the interim interdict. The following day, Messengers at Arms called at the St George's Tron manse to serve the same writ because there had been a mistake made by the Court in the dating of the court order. This was reported in the national press and on BBC news.
The Church of Scotland in June 2012 announced that it would attempt to re-build from nothing the Church of Scotland congregation based in the Church building where worship continues under a new minister and none of the original congregation. In March 2013 the Church of Scotland minister, the Rev Alastair Duncan, was inducted at the St George's Tron Church.