About the Church of Scotland in Dumbarton

Following a number of changes to the Presbytery of Dumbarton’s plan for the area it was decided that the three congregations within the town of Dumbarton (St Andrews, Riverside and The West Kirk) should be linked with a view to some form of union at a future date. This triple linkage was completed on 17th January 2018 at a Presbytery service of linkage and induction. The Rev. Ian Johnson is the minister for all three congregations. He leads our ministry team which now includes Development Worker Marie Clare Dungavell and Pastoral Assistant Maureen Burke.


Under normal circumstances worship would be continuing at each of the three parish churches in Dumbarton, but due to Covid-19 restrictions normal church services have been suspended. We are working hard to restart services, initially on a joint and fairly restricted basis, as soon as we can satisfy current health and safety requirements. In the meantine we hope you can enjoy our “virtual” online services, the latest linked below:

  • Sunday Worship, 2nd August 2020
    Contents: Welcome; Hymn 555 Amazing Grace; All age time; Prayer; Reading Matthew 14: 13-21; Hymn 268 O God of Bethel; Reflection; Prayer for others; Hymn 547 What a friend we have in Jesus; Blessing

Click on the date above to view the full service of worship.

Thought for the Day

Since the start of the Corona Virus Lockdown in mid-March the Minister has been publishing daily thoughts and prayers. The most recent ones are listed here:

  • Thought for the day 3 August

    Went for a walk yesterday along the path beside Gruggie’s Burn, South of Castlegreen Street. In a pool a fish was swimming lazily (don’t know what kind, but quite big). In the late Spring (in the hot weather) the water in the burn was very low. On Saturday (after the thunderstorms) it was a fair torrent. Where the burn meets the sea there were swans swimming gracefully, and hordes of gulls screaming and squawking – and all no doubt interested in a fish. But the fish continued swimming lazily round its pool. Maybe we could learn from the fish’s example: when all can change so quickly round about, just take life as it comes, and don’t panic

    Lord, we can be quite good at worrying or panicking, but doing either does not change the world. Help us to accept with calmness and patience life as it is, and just get on with it

  • Thought for the day 1 August

    August already! The Premiership resumes today. Fans will be pleased, but no fans will be present in the grounds to support their team. How will players feel playing to an empty stadium? Will it affect the quality of their play? (Dare one ask, ‘will they be a bit rusty after all this time?’) Will fans just watch at home, or go to the pub to share the joy and drown the sorrow? But the public have been urged to be cautious about going to the pub because of the risk of passing the virus. How long will life be like this? Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ is going to be very hard

    Lord, living the ‘new normal’ is hard. The temptation to go back to the old ways is strong. Help us to put the past behind us and focus on the present and future

  • Thought for the day 31 July

    There is an old adage about hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Seems a bit like that when looking at the news: schools in Scotland definitely planning to re-open the week after next, swimming pools and gyms in Wales re-opening from Monday, but restrictions placed on large numbers in Northern England, quarantine required of many arriving from abroad, and countries around the world seeing rises in the number of cases. Against that background the three Church of Scotland churches in Dumbarton are working through the requirements for re-opening. More details will be given in due course when plans are firmer. If you want to understand a bit of why it takes so long to re-open, have a look at the guidelines at this link: Covid-19-Buildings-Guidance-DOCUMENT-3.0-V4.pdf 
    (And by the time we have our heads around the latest version, the guidelines have usually changed again!)

    Lord, if we are honest, back in March we hoped that by now the pandemic would be over and life would continue as it was before. But it isn’t over, and doesn’t look like being over any time soon. Help us to appreciate, rather than just criticise, the work that people are doing to cope with it. Help us to cope with our feelings: frustration, anger, despair, loneliness, grief. Help us to recognise that other people have these feelings, and do what we can to help them cope with them

  • Thought for the day 30 July

    Better to eat a dry crust of bread with peace of mind than have a banquet in a house full of trouble

    (Proverbs 17: 1)
  • Thought for the day 29 July

    I’ll attach a couple of photos of the new installation at the former Ballantyne’s warehouses near the Dumbuck Hotel, as some people haven’t yet seen it. The geese are back! But these ones won’t scare away robbers. If you could have a statue or ‘installation’ put up, what would you choose, and why? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section (note: anything inappropriate will be deleted)

    Lord, the world changes and moves on, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. There are things that we miss, things that were special to us. Help us to hold those memories, but live life for today and tomorrow

  • Thought for the day 28 July

    There is talk of promoting healthy living and healthy eating. There is benefit in both, for the physical and mental health of the individuals concerned, and for the wider community with (hopefully) reduced healthcare costs. But changing behaviours is a complex process. It will include addressing advertising and special promotions, but it also includes recognising and addressing why some people don’t eat or live healthily. Some find ‘unhealthy’ food cheaper to buy or to cook; some cannot afford the kit, equipment, membership/entrance fees associated with engaging in particular types of exercise; for some there are mental health issues (why bother? What’s the point? I can’t do it on my own); for some a role model, or some kind of mentor is needed (how easy is it for a single parent in a flat to get exercise for themselves and their family if there is no safe green space nearby?). Addressing the issue is of benefit to us all, but it cannot be solved easily or quickly

    Lord, you want us all to have good mental and physical health, and to be healthy, caring communities. Without being judgmental, help us to offer support to those who need help in discovering healthier ways of living and eating. Guide decision-makers into the right steps that will bring health and wholeness to the whole community

This is the joint website for Dumbarton: St Andrews, Dumbarton: Riverside and Dumbarton: West Kirk.
Due to the challenges of the Corona Virus COVID-19 and the need to do as much as possible online we are combining our efforts on this page to avoid duplication and to streamline our efforts around worship, Bible readings, prayer and wider community support.

Further details about the three Church of Scotland parishes in Dumbarton can be found below: