The group of Christians, which would finally be known as Riverside Evangelical Church, first met on the 2nd of March 1906 in ‘The Masonic Hall', Nile Court (off Ayr, High St). This new group was a breakaway from the Brethern Assembly, formed in 1860, that met in James Street Gospel Hall.
Although the new church had no written Constitution, its beliefs' and practices included weekly communion, bible teaching and study, prayer, believers baptism by immersion, the preaching of the Gospel, and work among children.
Six years later, on the 19th May 1912, the church moved from Nile Court, to occupy a hall in a new building owned by the Co-Operative Society at 119 Main Street. It was called ‘Victoria Hall’ and was to be the Church’s home base for the next 35 years.
In the new premises, the pattern of weekly services and events which had been taking place over the six-year period in the Masonic Hall, was continued and extended.
In response to the challenges and changes after the second World War, a major move was made to John Street, Ayr. The church officially opened the doors to its' new premises on 14th December 1952. The building had been purchased from the Church of Scotland for the sum of £6000 and underwent a typically Brethren makeover!
The early seventies saw the church go through a time of ‘spiritual review’ and it also went through a further major long-term renovation to the church building. Even more radically, the decision was made to change the church’s name from ‘Victoria Hall’ to what was considered to be the more relevant - ‘Riverside Evangelical Church’.
(Taken and adapted from ‘100 years of Riverside’ by William Gilmour, available from the church office).
(Riverside Church Wedding, early 1970's)