As many already now know, as part of the restructuring of the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh Presbytery has asked Craigsbank to unite with the Old Parish Church in Corstorphine. This is a ‘deep-breath-in’ moment for each and every one of us who has been associated with Craigsbank over the years. Watching declining numbers in congregations across Scotland and beyond, we have long known that change had to come – quite simply, the familiar is no longer working and doing more and more of the same, running ever faster, is not bringing results.
And so, change has now come and for us, it is a positive change. It gives us a path forward and a genuine opportunity to build lasting faith partnerships, new friendships and a new way of ‘Church’ in the coming years. We can all be a part of this. It is exciting, it is new, but it is also the only option we currently have if we share in the hope that Craigsbank (including both Craigsbank and East Craigs centres) will have a place in faith in the west of Edinburgh in the future.
What are the plans?
The practical details of what an eventual union between us and the Old Parish will look like will be discussed between our two congregations over the course of the coming months. At this point we can report that we have not been asked to release buildings although an audit of church estate is ongoing. We have been given the green light to keep two ministers and two manses. Many congregations are not in this position. It is hoped that between the two ministers, our own Alan and Rev Moira McDonald, they will be able to focus on pastoral care and ministering to the new united congregation while reaching out to the new communities emerging at West Craigs. However, it has also been noted that there are many of faith in the existing two parishes who are not currently involved in Church – and so that act of reaching out will embrace them too.
To celebrate the past and plan for a future, together.
Craigsbank – with both of its centres – has served us well for 85 years. In the 1930s Corstorphine was expanding and the village boundaries moving west. In 1933 the Church Extension programme gave consent for a hall-church to be built to serve those moving into the new housing and to create a new parish.
The date on the foundation stone of Craigsbank is 1937 (with the original building now forming the church halls). The second phase of building was halted during the second world war but in the early 1960s the congregation had grown and plans for a new sanctuary were approved. Work began in 1963 and the iconic white ‘formal church’ opened in 1966. In the 1980s the East Craigs area was expanding and a new church building opened in 1984 to serve that community.
Change has been a constant and as each generation has learned that Church is not a building, they have had to come to terms with movement and change of use of the properties that they hold dear.
And now it is our turn to face change and move forward together in faith.
Over the weeks running up to Easter we invite you to bring-in or send-in images and items from Craigsbank (both centres) over the years. These will be displayed over Easter week as we celebrate all that has gone before.
On Easter Sunday we will press the big NEW START button,and embrace this new moment of change. By that point, your elders will have met with the elders from the Old Parish. Already Alan and Rev McDonald are chatting about possible ways of working together. Our Session Clerk is in contact with their Session Clerk. In short, we are making a start. Presbytery require the two parishes to become one by early 2025 however they encourage faster progress where possible. In our case it is possible and starting now allows us to take small steps in what we all hope will be a joyful journey together.
In the meantime, we continue to build towards greater community use for our centres with the development of Craigsbank as an arts centre and venue and East Craigs with a community cafe. And we delight in the growing interest in Forest Church.
There is more excitement and motivation within our community than there has been for many years – Craigsbank remains a community where LIFE is celebrated, LOVE is affirmed and GRIEF and JOY are shared.