A Brief History of the Scots Kirk Lausanne

The origins of the Scots Kirk, Lausanne go back to 1876, when the Reverend A.F. Buscarlet of the Scots Kirk, Naples, was invited to come over from Montreux, where he was acting as seasonal chaplain. He soon became the first minister of a permanent Scottish church in Lausanne and built a sanctuary, which was dedicated in 1877.

It was originally named Trinity Presbyterian Church and was a congregation of the Free Church of Scotland. The denomination was renamed the United Free Church in 1900 after a union with another Scottish church, the United Presbyterian Church.

This card would have been used for publicity around 1920. Like the original name, neither the Alexandra Hotel nor the tramcars have survived.  However the church still meets for worship at 10.30!

The Free Church had broken away from the Church of Scotland in 1843 and was more mission minded than the “Auld Kirk”. The congregation joined the Church of Scotland at the time of the reunion of the denominations in 1929.

Right from the start, the Scots Kirk was marked by an extensive ministry among the young people who stayed at the numerous local boarding schools. Bible classes sometimes numbered over 200 participants!

Of course, many things have changed since, but the congregation is still the centre of active Christian life. There are fewer students now, but they have been replaced by a variety of English speakers from all over the world, representing many different backgrounds and denominations.

In 1876, the well known French architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, in Lausanne for the renovation of the cathedral, also drew up the plans of our Scots Kirk.  It is the only new church that he planned outside of France. 

The church windows were originally of clear leaded glass. Thanks to various donations, these were replaced by stained glass between 1971 (east wall, by Bernard Viglino) and 1981 (north wall, by Jean Prahin). Between 1967 and 1975 Mr Ian Reddihough designed, worked and presented three beautiful tapestries now adorning the church walls