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Who we are today

We are a large church in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, with members gathered from across Edinburgh and beyond. We are

  • inclusive and welcoming
  • committed to social justice
  • progressive in our approach to faith
  • known for our Anglo-Catholic worship style, which is integrated with a rich musical life
  • heavily supported by a team of dedicated volunteers who keep the church thriving.

Inclusive and welcoming community

Whoever you are, and in whatever situation in life you are in, you are welcome.

At Old Saint Paul’s we try our best to live out God’s radical love. Through all of our glorious perfections and imperfections, we love and accept one another as we are.

We share our humanity with one another, including our sadness as well as our joy. We rejoice together on feast days and life events such as weddings and births, and grieve together when we lose those we love.

At different points in our lives we can find things particularly hard. We might feel grief, shame, loneliness, distress, or just sad. Some might never have felt fully accepted, or been discriminated against because of disability, gender, sexuality or being marked out as “different”. Whether we have felt like an outsider or not, all are valued.

Committed to social justice

As part of our identity to welcome and love all, we are strongly committed to social justice. We have a long tradition of seeking to help those who are in difficult or vulnerable situations, such as people who

  • are living HIV and AIDs
  • do not have a secure or permanent home
  • are experiencing poverty.

In recent years we have given to a number of organisations including

  • Archbishop Romero Trust, El Salvador
  • Edinburgh Street Pastors
  • Orissa Christian College, India
  • Souper Saturday
  • Child of Hope
  • Refugee Survival Trust
  • Scottish Churches Housing Action
  • SkatePal, Palestine.

Progressive approach to faith

We take our faith seriously enough to not claim to have all the answers. We have a willingness to face difficult questions and to live without tightly-drawn boundaries. For many, Old Saint Paul’s is a place where we embrace doubt and encourage questioning.

We have a tradition of strong and thought-provoking preaching. We engage with the bible critically and thrive on being nudged to uncomfortable and challenging places. Many find freedom to engage more fully with God as unbending certainties are transformed into liberating truths. We treasure the diversity of our spirituality and approach to God as there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’.

Anglo-Catholic worship style

We are an Anglo-Catholic church, with our liturgy centred around weekly High Mass. Our clergy and musicians work hard to integrate beautiful liturgy with inspiring music and silence.

Our worship is holistic and goes beyond words. We meet God through our hearts, senses, minds, and actions. This can be through a number of ways including incense, liturgical garments, music, religious artwork and stained glass, preaching, and the act of taking part in communion. It can also be through reflective moments in worship, where there is space for silence and stillness. The building lends itself as a space to be and sit in the presence of God.

Committed to joining in

We serve one another in the church’s ministry. Many of us are volunteers, and as part of a large team take active responsibility for running the church smoothly. On Sundays and on major feast days, many of us take part through

  • music
  • serving
  • welcoming
  • reading Scripture
  • intercessions
  • children’s ministry
  • setting up and clearing away
  • offering hospitality through coffee and parish lunches.

Throughout the week, members of the congregation

  • wash and iron linen
  • clean, dust, and polish
  • arrange flowers
  • fundraise
  • maintain the fabric of the building
  • carry out administration
  • look after the church’s communications.