About Us

Ministers of St John's

Elijah Obinna BA, MTh, PhD  (2016 - Present)
Elijah Obinna BA, MTh, PhD

Dr Obinna came to St John's from the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN), into which he had been ordained in 2002.

In addition to parish work, he was heavily involved in administration within the PCN and, just before coming to St John's he was the national director of the Directorate of Lay Development and Leadership Training in PCN.  Dr Obinna has also spent time working in the US and in Scotland at St Giles' Cathedral and St Stephen's, Comely Bank (both in Edinburgh)

Dr Obinna is the first minister to be called to the deferred union between St John's and St Andrew's Churches.  Until the union takes place, he (and any successors) will be the minister in St John's.

Roy Cowieson BD   (2007 - 2013)
Roy Cowieson BD

Born in Elderslie in Glasgow in 1943, Roy Cowieson was schooled at Bellahouston Academy.

From 1972-1978 he and his wife, Christine, were Residential Houseparents to 14 children at Quarrier's Homes, Bridge of Weir. He graduated from Glasgow University with a Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1978 and the family emigrated to Canada, where he has had successful ministries in Ontario and British Columbia.

On his retirement in June 2013, he and Christine, his wife, returned to Canada.

Michael W Frew, BSc, BD  (1991-2005)
Michael W Frew, BSc, BD

Born and educated in Edinburgh (except for a brief time in Peebles), Mr Frew gained a BSc, and worked in Ponton House Boys' Hostel in Haymarket in Edinburgh.

After gaining his BD(Hons), he served his probationary year at Ellon Parish Church in Aberdeenshire. After a year at the Institute of Holy Land Studies, Jerusalem, he was inducted to West Church, Alloa. Immediately prior to coming to St John's, Mr Frew was appointed as Organiser for Evangelism for central and east Scotland by the Church of Scotland's Board of National Mission.

He left St John's in November 2005 to go to Slateford Longstone church in Edinburgh.

William F Storrar, MA, BD  (1985-1991)
William F Storrar, MA, BD

Mr Storrar graduated MA(Hons) from Edinburgh University, and BD(Hons) from New College. He was assistant minister at Cadder Church, Bishopbriggs, before coming to St John's.

He left St John's to return to Edinburgh University to complete his studies for a Doctorate in Practical Theology.

He is currently the Director of the Center of Theological Study in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

S William Peat, BSc, PhD, BD  (1977-1984)
S William Peat, BSc, PhD, BD

After leaving school, Dr Peat served in the civil service, the RAF, before attending Edinburgh University to study physics.

He lectured in physics in Heriot-Watt College (later University) in Edinburgh before returning to Edinburgh University to study for his BD.  He came to St John's after a year as probationer assistant at St Ninian's Church, Corstorphine, Edinburgh.

He left St John's to go to St Serf's in Edinburgh.

J Stanley Firth, MA, BD  (1970-1976)
J Stanley Firth, MA, BD

Born in Greenock, where he received his early education, Mr Firth graduated from Glasgow University with MA(Hons).

After a period of National Service, he taught in various schools before taking a BD course in Edinburgh University.  He served as assistant minister in Palmerston Place in Edinburgh before coming to St John's.

He left St John's to take up a post in the Baptist Church in St Andrews.

Alan A S Reid, BD, STM  (1962-1969)
Alan A S Reid, BD, STM

Born in Malaya, Mr Reid received his early education in New Zealand.

He completed his school education at George Watson's College in Edinburgh.  His university education was gained at Edinburgh and Yale.

Mr Reid left St John's, having received a call to St Andrew's Church in Helensburgh .

John M Goring, MA  (1955-1962)
John M Goring, MA

A native of Balerno, near Edinburgh, Mr Goring was an industrial analytical chemist, enlisting in the RAF during the war.

After the war he studied for the ministry, first gaining an MA at Edinburgh University, then receiving divinity training at New College, Edinburgh.  Before coming to St John's, Mr Goring was assistant minister at the Tron Church at Moredun in Edinburgh.

From St John's, he accepted a Call to Gillespie Memorial Church, Dunfermline.

John Y Miller  (1945-1955)

Born in Laurieston, near Falkirk, Mr Miller was the first minister of St John's to have come to the ministry from a former career.

From the civil servant, he studied at Glasgow University, before being licensed by Ayr Presbytery where he became the first minister at a Church Extension Charge.  Before coming to St John's, Mr Miller was the Civil Defence chaplain at Skeabrae, Orkney.

Mr Miller moved on to Dinnet and Logie Coldstone after his time at St John's.

George Candlish, BD BSc  (1935-1944)
George Candlish, BD BSc

A former dux of Hutcheson's Grammar School, Mr Candlish gained an MA and a BSc at Glasgow University, where he was also very distinguished on the sports field.

Graduating BD at Trinity College, he served as assistant minister at Dalziel High Church, Motherwell before coming to St John's.  In 1944, Mr Candlish accepted an appointment with the Church of Scotland Home Board as warden of the Community Centre at Elm Row in Edinburgh, and of the Gateway Theatre.

Matthew Turnbull, MA  (1909-1934)
Matthew Turnbull, MA

A native of Renton, near Glasgow, Mr Turnbull was educated at Dumbarton Academy and Glasgow University.

He was licensed by Dumbarton Presbytery in 1900 and his first post was as assistant at a Church Extension charge in Govan.  In 1917, Mr Turnbull was released by the Kirk Session for a period of 4 months, to serve in France with the Churches Hut Committee.

He left St John's to move to Wanlockhead, where he died in 1945.

Duncan Ross, BD  (1908-1909)
Duncan Ross, BD

Born in Rutherglen in 1869, Duncan Ross was educated in Glasgow.

Although he only served as the minister in St John's for a year, Mr Ross had actually been appointed as a colleague to Mr White in 1900.  He came to Carluke in 1899, having had 5 years' experience as assistant in Rutherglen and Bridgegate, Glasgow.

After his time in St John's, Mr Ross accepted a call to St George's, Dumfries.

John White  (1845-1908)
John White

Born in Ireland in 1816, and brought up in the Secession Church in Ireland. Educated at Belfast Royal Academy.

Mr White attended theological classes in Ireland and Scotland.  He came to Scotland in 1844 "to give the Free Church assistance for a month, free of charge".  He preached in the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, including Carluke Free Kirk (St John's), from which he received a Call the following year.

Mr White died, aged 92, still the minister of St John's.