St John the Evangelist

Roman Catholic Church | Portobello, Edinburgh

Parish Priest: Fr Jock Dalrymple
Deacon: Revd Eddie White

Parish Administrator: Mr Enrico Fertini
A warm welcome awaits you at all of our services.

Her Majesty the Queen – 70 Faithful years

Happy and Glorious – The Thursday Club Platinum Jubilee Celebrations
(Photograph courtesy of Gena, Margaret, Eva and Tom, taken from the table decorations for the Thursday Club Platinum Jubilee Party in St John’s Hall)

Update 30 July 2021:

View from the dizzy heights of the St John’s Tower, as work progresses ...

Update 22 July 2021:

Men at work !

Walter (on left) is working on preserving the original stones and Ian (on right) is removing defective mortar in preparation for repointing.


Chris Vinestock, St John’s Fabric Co-ordinator, writes: ‘The erection of the scaffolding surrounding the tower is nearly completed. Our workers, led by Gail Howie, are removing the old mortar from the joints in the tower, and at the ground level on the outside of the church walls. As the weather forecast is set to be favourable during the next week, we hope the work will continue to make steady progress.’

The Work Commenced on St John’s Church Tower (update - 8 July 2021)

Chris Vinestock, St John’s Fabric Co-ordinator, writes: ‘As we can see, the scaffolding continues to be erected, despite the inclement weather, and will probably require another 2 weeks to be completed. In the meantime, the stone mason has been working on the stonework on the lower areas of the church, in preparation for the re-application of the pointing. Your patience is greatly appreciated as at times there may be unavoidable noise – which is why Mass will normally be held at St Mary Magdalene’s during these weeks. Heartfelt thanks for your help and support during this necessary structural work – and please pray for the safety of all involved.


Tickets for this draw cost £10 each and can be purchased on an individual basis or in groups of two or more people. The prize will be 25% of the prize pot with the other 75% of the prize pot going towards the Tower Fund – so for example, if we sell 100 tickets, the prize will be £250 while £750 will go to the fund.

Tickets can be purchased monthly or, if preferred, 6 months or 12 months in advance, and payment can be in cash, standing order or a bank transfer. We have sent out an information leaflet with all the relevant details to each household in St John’s – and to any St Mary Magdalene’s parishioner who would like to receive it. The plan is to have the monthly draw on the second Saturday of each month, with the first one being on

Saturday 14 August 2021

Please contact Catherine Mc Anenny (07968970159) if you would like to take part.

"This image of St John's has 150 sections, each representing £1000 of fundraising for the church tower renovations.

All your donations will 'colour in' the church and help to reach the total £150,000 needed. Thank you!"


(12 June 2021)

Fr Jock writes: ‘This week we return to ‘Ordinary Time’ in the Church’s Year: and perhaps it’s an opportunity to encourage those who haven’t been to Mass since lockdown began to consider coming back to one (or both!) of our churches. We’re aware COVID 19 is still active in Edinburgh and many people are understandably still a bit nervous. We certainly don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, but we’re continuing to do our very best to keep everybody safe (through regular sanitising and social distancing etc).

However, if I’m honest, I’ll admit to a growing concern that without such encouragement and invitation, more than a few parishioners (and families) will end up drifting away from our community and the nourishment that keeps faith alive – and, I believe, if that were to happen, both we and they lose out…one of the real bonuses of being an active Catholic Christian is belonging to a warm and diverse community where we can support each other in the joys and sorrows of everyday life, and help one another in our rather secular world to continue to try to embrace and live the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you’re thinking of coming back to Mass, please be assured the warmest of welcomes awaits you… Likewise if you want to have a chat about anything that might be worrying you or holding you back from doing so, please do make contact.

PS If you’re worried about joining us on a Sunday, do consider coming on a weekday when there are fewer people and there’s no need to book in advance).

PPS Do show this to anyone who might appreciate this….

St John’s Church Tower (4 June 2021)

Chris Vinestock, St John’s Fabric Co-ordinator, writes: ‘We are very pleased to announce that repair works on St John’s Church Tower and the surrounding areas will start on be Monday week, 14 June.

The works will continue throughout the summer until mid-October.

During this work, the church will be open for Mass and other Services as per normal. However, your patience will be greatly appreciated as at times there may be unavoidable noise.

Please note that the bells will be silenced for the duration of the work.

Heartful thanks for your help and support during this necessary structural work.’


Gary Zoltie, Chair of St John’s Finance Council writes: "After 18 months of planning, work commences on the church building on Monday 7th of June.

Thank you very much for the continuing donations you have made for the Tower Fund, we have received a further £2,413 since last month, predominantly from the two fundraising events, the sponsorship of school dresses and the treasure hunt. A reminder that the total project cost is £352,000 and we have started with £202,000 in the bank so we have a target to raise of £150,000. In the first six months since we launched the project we have made a wonderful start as the fundraising efforts have raised around £6,000 and we have now received donations totalling £32,500.

Whilst we have secured a loan from the Archdiocese for the full £150,000, all funds raised will reduce the amount that we will need to borrow. We have applied for grants from both Historic Environment Scotland and The National Churches Trust but we still do not know yet whether these applications will be successful.

It is worth noting that the fundraising effort is being done to mitigate the large loan but the project will use up all of our existing funds and there is still a long list of other maintenance works required not only in the church building but also the hall and Parish house. It is therefore imperative that the fundraising is well supported, and your kind donations continue.

I can be contacted via the Parish House if you have any questions in relation to the project itself or how best to donate. This weekend brings news of our main initiative for the coming months – Tower Tumbola (see newsletter) and another second collection for the tower fund - you can still donate by placing cash in an envelope and dropping off at the Parish house or by bank transfer to

sort code 80-46-53

account number 10765768

account name St Johns Church

In both cases please mark as “Tower Fund”. Thank you"


(from 17 May 2021)

For the latest comprehensive guidance, please follow this link: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the safe use of places of worship - (

There are a number of changes affecting places of worship which are too many to record in one document and so the link above should be accessed for full information. The more significant points are listed below.


• Children, regardless of their age, who need their own seat are to be counted towards the maximum capacity of the Church.

• The maximum capacity of the Church and any halls used to increase the numbers attending Mass should be posted on signage outside the buildings.

Test & Protect

• The Government is now describing the collection of contact information as voluntary for places of worship but is asking for co-operation in the practice to assist contact-tracing.

• The information collected should now be for each attendee, not just a lead contact.


• Congregational singing and playing of wind instruments are still not permitted.

Other Uses

• Church Halls may now be used for a number of different activities. There is not one set of guidelines for the use of halls but the guidelines for each and every different activity must be followed.

• The general advice is that groups should continue to meet online where possible, but in limited circumstances, they can go ahead.

• Ensure you receive a comprehensive risk assessment from any group wanting to use the hall and ensure there is clarity about who is responsible for the cleaning after a group leaves the venue.


• This is now permitted within places of worship but with several restrictions and the hospitality sector guidelines must be followed: Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance - (

• Places of worship are not eligible to reduce physical distancing to 1m.

• Capacity is restricted to 6 people from 3 households (from 17 May).

• Collection of contact details is mandatory.

• Only table service is permitted.

• Face coverings must be worn by all whilst entering, exiting or moving within the premises. They may be removed whilst seated and eating/drinking.

• Socialising between tables is not permitted.