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St John’s Parish Church, Oxgangs: a brief history 1957 – 1997


In May 1957, the General Assembly ratified the transportation of Leith St John’s to Oxgangs. The Rev John F. Orr was inducted to the charge in Sept 1957.

Two members of Leith St John’s lived in Oxgangs and became the founding members of St John’s Oxgangs. The first service was held in their home and soon services were being held in houses throughout the parish.

The foundation stone of the new church was laid on 17 Oct 1957 by the very Rev George MacLeod, Moderator of the General Assembly and leader of the Iona Community.

A hut church was erected in November – and the growing congregation moved from worshipping in their homes to this temporary home. Soon Sunday School, Youth Camps, Girl Guidry and Boys Brigade were started and the Women’s Guild branch (average age about 30!) was established in 1958.

In Sept 1958, the beautiful new church and hall of St John’s Oxgangs were opened and dedicated by the very Rev Doctor John Fraser, Moderator of the General Assembly.

Over the years the church’s life emphasized:
– the establishment of House Groups for discussion, study and prayer
– participation in the leading of worship by members of the congregation
– ecumenical outreach and the establishment of the Oxgangs Christian Council (which included ecumenical visits to Iona).

On Jack Orr’s retiral in 1987 the Rev Ron Dick was called to be the minister. Rev Yvonne Atkins was then inducted to the charge in June 1997.

History by Janet Orr, Sept 1997

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