Ellon is a town of over 10,000 people located approx. 16 miles north of Aberdeen. It is a vibrant, dynamic community with many different groups working and meeting the different needs in the town. It has in the past been a particularly fluid community given its proximity to Aberdeen and the oil industry.
1984 – 2002 Ellon Baptist Church was founded in 1984 by Loren Turnage as a church plant from Bridge of Don Baptist and was constituted on 5th April 1987 with 30 members (28 signatures on list). Loren left in May 1987 and the church was run by its members. A vacancy committee was set up and an American PhD student, Paul Wolfe, provided pastoral leadership for the next 18 months prior to the call of the first full-time pastor, the late Rev George Campbell in late 1988. At the time the church had around 40 members and about 75 regular adherents and met in Ellon Primary School. Children and young people made up a large percentage of the congregation, a position that continues to this day.
Rev Campbell served the church until 1991 before leaving due to ill-health. The church was again run by its members with Brian Rosner, a deacon at EBC and lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, providing temporary leadership until Rev John Jamieson was called and took up the charge as minister in June 1994. Rev Jamieson served the church until late 2001. The church was grant-aided in his first year but has been self-sufficient since 1995.
The church moved to rooms at Ellon Academy in 1996 for the morning service and to Castlepark Community Centre in the evening. The congregation numbered approximately forty to fifty in the late 1990s and saw regular changes as people moved to and from the area with the proximity of the town to Europe’s oil capital, Aberdeen. In addition to the existing Sunday School outreach a Tuesday night Kids Club was started in the late 1990s on a weeknight, reaching out to p3-p7 ages and it has been a continual source of encouragement to see how God has blessed this work and how many people outside the church have been touched by it.
In 1999 a review of the constitution saw a change from closed to open membership, a position to which the church continues to be committed.
2002 – 2008 Following a time of vacancy the late Rev Stuart Falconer was appointed and served the church from 2002 untill April 2009, before retiring due to ill-health. During Rev Falconer’s service in Ellon God blessed the church both spiritually and numerically and the congregation grew to over 80 in the morning. The church moved from Ellon Academy to the (Church of Scotland owned) Kirk Centre in the morning around 2005. A Parent & Toddlers group was established in 2003 one morning a week and now serves Ellon in different locations twice a week. There are often anything from 20-40 parents attending with a plentiful provision of toys, juice and crisps as well as tea and coffee and a listening ear from those in the church who are involved in this.
2008 – 2013 Rev James Clarke, who retired to the area, became interim pastor in December 2008 and has overseen the church through a time of change since Rev Falconer’s retirement. The church moved back to Ellon Academy in November 2010 and saw an increase in membership and congregation with 11 new members added in May 2011 and over 20 baptised in the same period. Jim retired in Dec 2012.
As a result of the increased numbers, the increasing recognition of the need in our community and the desire to increase our identity to reach out with the good news of the Gospel in Ellon, the church decided in January 2011 to set up a building fund and the first giving day was held in March 2011.
2014 William Butchart was invited to become our minister in March 2014 and a service of Ordination and Induction was held on 21st June. Our active membership now stands in the mid 60’s.
2016 The church agreed unanimously to purchase a plot at Birness next to the Ythan with the intention of building a church building on it.
2018 A 5 year CAT lease agreement for the unused council building, the Ythan Centre, was signed and after a significant refurbishment carried out by the church the first service was held on 6th January with a service of thanksgiving to God for His provision a few weeks later.
2019 After a long period in the planning process, and against many seemingly insurmountable barriers including roads and floods, our God miraculously provided the church with an approved planning application for the Birness site.
March 2020 Church services are suspended temporarily due to the COVID-19 situation and sermons are broadcast via Facebook (from 22nd March).
July 2020 Re-start of evening services
October 25 2020 Re-start of morning services
December 19 2020 Final services before lockdown
January 6 2021 Church met via Zoom and agreed to move forward with a church building on the Birness site.
Worship and Music
Worship in Ellon Baptist Church is a mix of the traditional and contemporary and the church is served by a mixture of keyboard, guitars, recorder, clarinet, violin, saxophone as well as several gifted singers. A young person’s praise group leads worship from time to time.