When the slums and church in Richmond Street, Edinburgh, were due to be demolished, the people and congregation of North Richmond Street Church moved to the Craigmillar area.
The foundation stone of the church was laid by the Right Revd. P.D. Thomson, Moderator of the General Assembly, on 11 July 1934. The Duke and Duchess of York had been invited to lay the stone, but could not do so as the Duke was ill. Mrs J. E. Stewart, wife of the minister of Richmond, laid a casket under the stone which contained signed documents and copies of leading Edinburgh newspapers of the time.
The church itself “Richmond Craigmillar” was opened and dedicated on 18 September 1935 and once again the Very Revd. P. D. Thomson did the honours (see the booklet Richmond Craigmillar 1935-1985 for further details)
During the ensuing years the church went from strength to strength and notched many ‘firsts’ and unique events.
The first team ministry in Edinburgh served at Richmond (as it was called locally) from 1970 – 1977 and consisted of secular and non-secular members. A commercial café known as “The Brew” was opened, with the name reflecting local industries, but also referenced the yeast of the Gospel; however, it closed in 1977 when the team ministry ended.
Richmond called its first female minister in 1978 and this line of female ministers has continued to the present day, with the present minister being Revd. Elizabeth Henderson who has currently served Richmond for 25 years.
In 1980, the community café reopened as the Richmond Café Project. The café sells low cost food and offers a welcoming place where people in the community can meet each other. It has always sought to live up to its mission statement, “Making the church a part of the community and the community a part of the church!”
In 2003 the church set up the charity Richmond’s Hope which is a bereavement service for children aged from 4 to 18. It was the first of its kind in Scotland. It now operates throughout Edinburgh, Midlothian and, in 2016, started a new service in Ibrox Parish Church in Glasgow.
MINISTERS WHO HAVE SERVED RICHMOND CRAIGMILLAR
Alexander Hutchinson – 1941
Joseph Gray – 1949
David Millar – 1956
William Christman – 1965
Ian Cowie – 1970
Douglas Galbraith – 1970
Mary Spowart – 1978
Mary McKenzie – 1987
Elizabeth Henderson – 1997 to present