In 1896 outreach by members from Nicolson Square to the soldiers stationed at Piershill cavalry barracks, over three miles away, led to the founding of this Church. By 1902 the Society were meeting in a “Wee Tin Kirk” (as it was affectionately known). A new building replaced the tin kirk in 1930.
For over a century Abbeyhill Methodist Church served its community, in particular the young people in the area. Many hundreds of children passed through its Sunday school, youth groups and various uniformed organisations, all of them benefitting from the ‘prayer and care’ motto of the many leaders drawn from the congregation over the years.
Musical and dramatic performances were highlights of the year, as well as the annual harvest display and celebrations. An active women’s meeting ‘The Sisterhood’ made an invaluable and unique contribution to the life of the Church.
During the 1986 Commonwealth Games, held at Meadowbank Stadium across the road, the church enjoyed a high profile as the home of the ‘Welcome Café’. At some times it was so busy that helpers were forced to shut the doors in order to mop up, recover and start again. ‘Never has so much food and drink been provided by so few in such a short space of time’ recalled the then minister, Gerald Bostock.
Abbeyhill was known for the warmth of its fellowship and its kindness towards its often very young ministers, who generally stayed for just a year or two before moving on to a new Church. One such minister recalled:
“No minister had a warmer or more encouraging congregation who, through long experience in the task, knew how to smooth the rough corners of a man, and yet do so with love and a gentle humour. No young and aspiring preacher ever perpetrated his sermons on a more patient congregation whose long-suffering was amazing and patience quite unique. No pastor was ever more generously received or more often forgiven for his well meaning mistakes.”
In 2006 the congregation took the brave decision to leave their much loved building and worship instead in Northfield Community Centre, continuing their witness and commitment to the local area. The church building has now been demolished and a block of flats has been erected on the site.