The origins of Balerno Parish Church date back to 1826 when a group of ‘inhabitants of Balerno’ met to press for a church in Balerno. At that time Balerno was in the parish of Currie Kirk. The leaders of the Established Church were reluctant to upset the status quo so the group turned to the independent presbyterian church of the United Secession. Seceder churches were independent of local patronage, this gave the congregation the freedom to select their own minister rather than have one imposed by the local land owner but it also meant that they had to be self supporting financially.
The first minister of congregation was Rev Andrew Tod who was inducted 1829 – 1846, he was followed by Rev William Dickson 1846 – 1855. The other ministers of the parish can be seen below. More detail can be found in:-
- Iain F Maciver’s excellent history of the congregation 1826 – 1984 written to mark the centenary of the current church building and recently updated to include the next 30 years by his wife Lesley Burt.
- A timeline of significant events in the history of the congregation prepared by Malcolm Fergusson.
Balerno Parish Church has been at the heart of the village community since 1826. The original building opened in 1828 was sold to the Roman Catholic Church in 1884 becoming St Joseph’s Church, when our present sanctuary was built. The Congregation, like the village, has grown in that time from the original 100 members to a peak of over 1000 in the 1980’s. The current roll is circa 600.
The Parish Church was refurbished in 2006. The bright interior provides comfortable flexible seating. and a space that has become an excellent concert venue as well as a beautiful church. Overhead projection is used to enhance worship by providing the words of Hymns as well as other useful information. Around this time the St Joseph’s building became available, the congregation purchased it, in 2007 made it wind and watertight and completed a major refurbishment in 2012.
The Church Campus now comprises the Church, the St Joseph’s Centre, which consists of the St Joseph’s Hall, the Ogston Hall (built in 1980) and The Shepherd Room, and the Old Hall, built just after the Second World War and currently used for storage.
The Kirk Session of 1990
Bill Black, Malcolm Ferguson, Martin Oliver, Paul Bassett, John Burnside, Bill Wilson, Martin Petty, David Duff, Jim Goodbrand
Graham Allen, Alastair Mowatt, Mary Tait, Craig Dunlop, Jim Grant, Phyllis Tait, Jack Esslemont, Archie Heggie
William Wallace, Melville Christie, Ron Gray, David Veitch, Leslie Arnott, Alastair Fraser, Gordon Elliot, Brian Taylor
Mac Robertson, Michael Wright, Joan Ogilvie, Flora McAdam, Harriet Young, Ian McIver, Alison Lyon, Betty Main, Arthur Addison, Anne Shaw
Ken Bisset, John Howie, John Williamson, Marian Finlayson, Brian Buchanan, Ian Alexander, Ian Muir, Betty Nicholson, Bob Walker
Anne Charman, Ian Ogilvie (Session Clerk), Modertor of General Assembly, Rev. Henry Shepherd, Ian Falconer (Treasurer), Anne Loudon