On the last day of December, 2013, the St John's Church, Oxgangs church bell may ring out one more time before becoming silent.
Last Sunday on a beautiful sun-kissed, mid-November morning I stopped by, to hear the bell ring out for perhaps the very last time for me.
It was a still and frosty morn.
I walked the 360 degrees around the church and the old church hall and then entered the Narthex or vestibule inside St John's and unobserved, watched an elderly church warden making ready for the church service.
The gentleman was tall and erect as an old soldier and attired in a jerkin and cloth cap.
He walked up and down the side aisle; at one stage he carried a kettle; and then some plates and also some other objects.
Previously he had laid out the Order of Service at the front door of the church.
And all the while as he performed his duties he sang to himself.
He was oblivious to me standing there. And whilst he had a good voice it could be better described as a happy voice.
His happiness and joy could be heard in his voice.
He was at one with himself.
It was clear these were not really duties for him, He was so happy in making a contribution.
I recalled the Latin phrase-ora et labora-to work is to pray.
It turned out that he was the church bell-ringer too-who says men can't multi-task!
The church bell rang out five minutes before the service commenced-ringing out, calling the parishioners to worship.
The elderly gentleman then emerged from the door of the bell tower and glided up the path to enter the church by a side door to join the congregation.
The congregation was very small and the average age must have been around seventy.
There was a feature on BBC Radio 4 the other morning saying Christianity in the United Kingdom may be dead in a generation. My visit brought this home.
Shortly before the service began I spoke to a lovely and very pleasant older lady at the top of the steps on Oxgangs Road North.
I mentioned that as I was in Edinburgh I was keen to hear the sound of the St John's Church bell ring out one last time and to record it for posterity.
We exchanged some memories of times past.
She has attended St John's for many decades since she first lived at Redford at the army houses back in the 1950s. She pointed out to me another parishioner who had attended the church each Sunday since St John's first opened in 1957, the year after I was born.
I spoke of happy memories of the annual summer fetes and the marvellous contribution made to the Oxgangs community by the Orr family-the Reverend Jack Orr and his wife who had taught at Hunters Tryst School, also sadly no more.
The lady spoke to me about her sadness about the church closing on Auld Year's night and the challenges of joining up with Colinton Mains Church and how very good the incumbent minister, the Rev Iain Goring has been.
She became quite emotional and I held her hand.
On a note of serendipity, she told me that next week, the Rev Orr's daughter, the Rev Dr Kathy Galloway, will be a guest preacher at a special church service (Sunday 24 November, 2013 at 11.00 a.m.) to celebrate the church's existence in Oxgangs, to be followed by a lunch in the church hall.
Whether one is religious or not it's perhaps something to consider for anyone interested. Special occasions should always be acknowledged and marked.
John Donne has been mentioned by me before, particularly on a blog about the end of our school days at Hunters Tryst. And once again the sound of a church bell ringing out signifies something important; for when Donne spoke of 'For Whom The Bell Tolls, It Tolls For Thee', it does indeed because when something dies, we all die a little; I guess what Donne was really saying was that whatever affects one, affects us all....