One of the loveliest memories of living at Oxgangs between 1958 and 1972 was the sweet sound of the St John's Church bells which rang out every Sunday morning calling the parishioners to worship. They had a lovely tone to them, somehow fresh and inviting, but also serving as a reminder of church bells down the centuries too. Very sadly these bells may no longer ring out.
|St John's Church, Oxgangs|
Last year on 2 September, 2012 I did a blog which focused on the former St Hilda's Church, Oxgangs Avenue-the last paragraph of which said: And what of St Hilda's Church? The congregation first met in a cottage in Colinton and then moved to the existing hall in 1951. In 1966 a striking, state of the art Modernist building was opened; and yet less than half a century later the church was knocked down only a few years after the start of the 21st century. The coming and going of a church within a few generations says something about Christianity and lends some weight to recording these vignettes before they disappear of life at The Stair.
I got quite a surprise a few weeks ago when I noticed that St John's Church and Hall were up for sale-St John's-surely not? I decided to inquire a little further and entered into some correspondence. I received an update from the Rev Iain Goring as detailed below.
Last year I authored a blog entitled The Stair about eight families living in Oxgangs between the years 1958-1972 which has proved to be quite popular with followers from as far away as Australia-St John's Church is mentioned a few times and particularly Rev Jack Orr-I still put up occasional updates and noticed the church building and hall has been put up for sale. I wondered whether you would be kind enough to please give me an update on this and also the congregation.
|The charismatic, Rev Jack Orr|
Hi Peter - Alison Swindells passed on to me your email to her about St John's Oxgangs. I arrived here on 15th August as Interim Minister and it is my task to take this congregation and the congregation of Colinton Mains to the point of becoming a united congregation on 1st January 2014. The two congregation are only half a mile apart and although they are very different in background and culture the Presbytery of Edinburgh has wanted them to unite and become St John's Colinton Mains.
|Colinton Mains Parish Church|
As you might imagine this is a difficult time for St John's people because the building chosen for the united congregation is Colinton Mains and they are deeply sad at losing their own building that has been so much a part of their life and the life of the area. As you have discovered, the building is to be put up for sale. That will be hard for people to see. There is a real hope that the site might be used for housing rather than for a supermarket which the area does not need - it already has two and a small local supermarket as well.
Come 31st December the building will no longer be used - and that will be another difficult time for people to come to terms with.
I hope this gives you a little of the picture of what is happening, but if you need any more info, then please do let me know.
Every best wish
Iain M Goring Interim Minister
Colinton Main & St John's Oxgangs
Mob: 07762 254 140
I'm sure all followers of The Stair will join me in wishing Iain and the new united congregation well-I can't recall whether Colinton Mains Church had bells-I don't think it does-if so it's a pity that the old St John's bell tower couldn't somehow be incorporated into Colinton Mains Church-as well as combining the two names a merging of the two buildings might go some way towards making it easier for those from St John's to adapt to life at the church down the hill-just a thought!