St. Andrews Presbyterian Kirk

Coordinates: 25°04′34″N 77°20′36″W / 25.075979°N 77.343412°W / 25.075979; -77.343412
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25°04′34″N 77°20′36″W / 25.075979°N 77.343412°W / 25.075979; -77.343412 St. Andrews Presbyterian Kirk is a church in downtown Nassau, Bahamas. The church was founded by fifty-five Scottish Presbyterian settlers in 1798, as the St. Andrews Society. On August 7, 1810 the foundation stone of the Kirk was laid, while in 1842 a Session room was added to the Kirk.

In Charles Stuart Rae’s book “A Short History of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church” It is noted on page 69 “A careful search has been made for records of a Sunday School in connection with the  Kirk, earlier than that organized by the Hon. Timothy Darling, and it has been found that on February 10th and also on May 19th 1822, sermons were preached by the Rev. Simon Fraser, and collections made “in behalf of the Sabbath School lately instituted in St. Andrew’s Church. This has an attendance of over one hundred scholars. Admission is free to all, and all those who feel interested in the welfare of the rising generation are invited to visit the school and examine the scholars”.

                                               (Signed) SIMON FRASER -  Moderator                                                           The Royal Gazette  of 1835 mentions a Sunday School in St. Andrew's Church as the “Kirk Sabbath School” and states that “there are six Sabbath Schools in the Town, besides the one at the Kirk and there is a great need of more teachers.  

Also in Rae's Short History ... is an interesting snippet about one of the Kirk elders then, the Hon. Henry Stevenson. "Henry Stevenson was the son of Jessamyn Thompson, a free coloured woman, and Henry Stevenson, Sr. In 1835 he married Christina Farquharson, youngest daughter of Charles Farquharson, the San Salvador planter. She was also coloured (Baptism Records of Christ Church 1802-1828, p.87). The introduction to the O'Brien Family Papers states that very little is known of the Stevenson side of the Family." A memorial plaque to Hon. Henry Stevenson is to be found on the southeast wall of St. Andrew's Kirk. This is noteworthy, because in the twenty-first century Bahamas, and in a world of "Woke" attitudes and "Cancel Culture", there is an element within the Kirk who are implying that the Kirk was racially segregated for white people only. Nothing is further from the truth and while Henry Stevenson may have been the first coloured Elder there were many more who followed.

Some years previous to the founding of the Quarry Mission School, the Kirk started another 'Mission School' (1872) in Bain Town, with the object of providing religious instructions on Sunday afternoons for young people of that area who were not affiliated with other Sunday Schools. A 'Sewing School', operated in conjunction with this work was allowed to meet in the "Girls' Western Schoolroom" once a week, by permission of the Board of Education. It is quite likely that out of this humble beginning in Bain Town, the larger and more rewarding work of the Quarry Mission School, off Nassau Street, was made possible.

In 1891, the year that the Rev. Robert T. Bailey was appointed to St. Andrew's Church, the 'Quarry Mission School" was founded by Miss Emily Dickenson, of Fairport, New York. Miss Dickenson was assisted by the teachers of St. Andrew's Sunday School. The School proved such a success that a new building, the had to be erected. Today there are two identical buildings side by side and I believe that the new building noted previous, was the construction of the second identical building. Mr. Bailey presided at the laying of the 'Foundation Stone' by Miss Dickenson on March 24th 1892, whose liberal gift had made the project possible. The Quarry Mission School was conducted on non-denominational lines. In the early years of this century, Mrs. E.F. Higgs, a sister of Sir George Gamblin, assisted by teachers from St. Andrew's Sunday School held afternoon classes at the Quarry Mission School. When this venture came to an end in 1925 the property was acquired by the Board of Education.

In the 1890s the first Manse was started on West Hill Street above the Kirk. Two of the stained glass windows, on either side of the Platform and Communion Table are dedicated to the memory of Emily Frances Higgs. Hertofore, one hundred years plus later, no one knew who this person was.

George Henry Gamblin was born 28 June 1870 in Nassau, Bahamas to James Henry Gamblin & Laura Olivia Sears Gamblin. He was baptized in April 1871 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Nassau, by the Reverend Robert Dunlop.

George H Gamblin was knighted by the King in 1929 for his service on the Executive and Legislative Councils of the Bahamas and for his leadership of the government for many years. He was an elder of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church and sat on many local boards.

It adheres to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed[1] and has several house fellowships.[2] For several years it was affiliated with the Church of Scotland, but in 2010 it switched to affiliation with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and is now affiliated with the EPC. The long range plan to form the Bahama Presbytery.[1][3]

Lucaya Presbyterian Church in Grand Bahama is also affiliated with the EPC.[4]

St. Andrews Kirk

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk was founded by members of the St. Andrew Society[5] and, under the direction of Rev. John Rae, began conducting services in the Court House in January 1810.[6][7]

The first Nassau company of the Boy's Brigade began at St. Andrew's in 1909.[8] Under the leadership of Rev. J. Herbert Poole, St. Andrew's School was founded in 1948. During the ministry of Rev. James Jack, Lucaya Presbyterian Kirk was founded and began holding regular services in Freeport, Grand Bahama in 1968. In 1994, another mission charge, Kirk of the Pines, was created in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.


  1. ^ a b "About Us | The beliefs of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk (Church), Nassau, The Bahamas - A congregation within the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (USA)".
  2. ^ "Address data base of Reformed churches and institutions".
  3. ^ "The History of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk (Church), Nassau, The Bahamas - A congregation within the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (USA)".
  4. ^ "Our History". Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  5. ^ "Lucaya Presbyterian Kirk - History of Lucaya Kirk". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  6. ^ "Home". The Nassau Guardian.
  7. ^ " - St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk Celebrates 200 Years, Welcomes New Minister".
  8. ^ "Boys Brigade Bahamas National Council". Archived from the original on 2019-03-24. Retrieved 2019-03-08.

External links[edit]

  • St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk website [1]
  • Lucaya Presbyterian Kirk website [2]
  • Kirk of the Pines website Kirk of the Pines