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Looking Back: The Tron Moves Out

From Nov 1952


Historic Edinburgh congregation in new sphere

The Royal Mile has seen many processions, tragic and gay; but the procession of elders and ministers of the Tron Kirk on 21st September was probably unique. It left the kirk which had been closed as the place of worship of the congregation after more than three hundred years of history, and carried Bible, Communion vessels and Baptismal laver – the silent witnesses of the Faith through many generations – to the High Kirk of St Giles, from which, in 1647 the congregation had come.

On the Sunday following, the same procession entered the newly-built church at Moredun, standing in its new community in the outskirts of the Capital near Craigmillar Castle. The Tron had found its new home.

Considerable discussion and controversy has centred round this end and new beginning. It was no light decision to take; but in its essence it typifies what the Church as a whole is being called to do to-day in many places and in varying circumstances; it is having to go out again to where the people are; it is having to begin again with them in their new homes and communities; it is having to lay down a traditional life and find a new one.

What of the historic building left behind – built to the order of Charles I for the congregation of the south-east parish of Edinburgh, then worshipping in part of St Giles? It would indeed be tragic if the Church Of Scotland could find no good and proper use for it, standing at one of the centres of the Capital’s life, with a great business population around its doors. It may no longer be suitable as the place of worship of a small and scattered congregation; but it remains a strategic point in Christian witness. It should not be impossible for our Presbyterian system, too closely bound as it is to a single uniform pattern of Church life, to turn necessity to gain and find a new usefulness for such a building in a week-day ministry to the ‘unattached’ who do not set aside Sunday for the purposes for which it has been ordained.

That is, however, a separate story now. For the Tron at Moredun the future is in new surroundings, amongst people who are beginning again – very many of them, by all the evidence, eager to begin again with the Kirk and to see their children’s feet set in ‘the way of life’.

The three-hundred-year-old Baptismal laver will be both old and new as it ministers the Sacrament of Christ’s ingatherings of His family; and the ancient Cups will make yet another generation one in Him.

The new building was dedicated by the Rt Rev George Johnstone Jeffrey, Moderator of the General Assembly; and associated with him were Dr George S. Gunn, Moderator of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Dr Irvine Pirie, Clerk to the Presbytery, the Rev Horace Walker of the Home Board, the Rev George A. Henderson, interim minister, and the Rev W Ian Ireland, minister of the parish.

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