The Reverend Roderick Macleod 1903-1923
St Andrew’s was greatly blessed in the first and longest serving minister of the church, who was called in 1903 at the age of 33 from the United Free Church of Clydebank, Glasgow. He, with his wife and three children, were held in great affection by all the people at St Andrew’s. In 1922 he celebrated 25 years in the ministry, a service was conducted by the great Bible translator Dr James Moffatt, who had been a contemporary of Roderick Macleod at Trinity College Glasgow, and the Great War Memorial Windows by Douglas Strachan were dedicated. An elder, writing of him at that time says “…our high regard for our minister has never wavered and has steadily grown each succeeding year. He has revealed to us the Word of God at all times with great lucidity and power, and we gladly acknowledge the stimulus and inspiration which his sermons have given us for our everyday life. Mr Mcleod has a remarkable capacity for sympathy and friendship, and there are very many of us, young and old, who will always remember with a deep sense of gratitude his most helpful and inspiring companionship in and through great trials and other crises of our lives”.
In 1925 he resigned to take up a position with the Mission to the Highlands and Islands for the Church of Scotland. He died in Edinburgh in 1950, and his wife in 1951.
The Reverend Dr John Kelman 1924-1926
Dr Kelman came to St Andrew’s with ripe experience, having been a minister in Aberdeen, two Edinburgh churches and Fifth Avenue Church in New York. He had served on the Western Front in 1915-6 and in 1917 had toured the USA, not yet in the War, expounding the point of view of the allies. His presence and work brought spiritual blessing and inspiration, not only to his own congregation at St Andrew’s, but to Hampstead and London. Sadly he was not in good health and had to resign after just two years. He died in Edinburgh in 1929.
The Reverend Dr Joseph Johnston 1926-1945
St Andrew’s third minister came from Palmerston Place Church, Edinburgh. In 1928 he introduced the New Church Hymnary for Presbyterian Churches worldwide. He also set up the Children’s Church, including the children of the congregation as an integral part of morning worship. The Frognal magazine of this time reveals the many activities taking place: the Badminton Club (still active), Ladies’ work party, Bible Study, Missions to alleviate poverty in the East End. He and his wife carried the congregation, depleted as it was, through the blackouts and air-raids of the Second World War, though the buildings happily survived unscathed. He was a beloved pastor throughout his long ministry and his wife also made a great contribution in many ways.
The Reverend F. P. Copland Simmonds 1946-1962
St Andrew’s fourth minister was noted for his administrative flair, his gift for preaching and his talent for music. He introduced a new form of evening service where once a month he would sing while his wide accompanied him on the cello. He encouraged the young John Tavener and in 1960 promoted his first concert in the church. His boundless energy and supreme self-confidence helped membership to grow steadily in the period following the Second World War, and at its peak in the early 1950s there were more than 700 members. He was a much sought after preacher and travelled both here and abroad, including several times to the USA. In 1959 he was Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of England.
In 1954 his love of music and its integral place within worship was further enhanced with the appointment of Miss Christine Waple as organist and choirmaster, the choir then numbering 24. But he cannot have expected that this talented young musician would go on to serve the church with such devotion and musical brilliance for more than 60years.
The Revd Copeland Simmons was much admired by the congregation who were saddened by his retirement in 1962. He died in Scotland.
Revd Dr Jack Barr 1963-1968
The Revd Jack Barr arrived from Scotland in 1963 with his schoolteacher wife and three school age children. He encouraged a broadening of the congregation’s activities, supporting the growth of the Fellowship for Youth (for young people aged between 17 and 35), linking with other groups across London and nationally. There were classes for teenagers and young adults, numerous women’s groups to support Christian education and mission at home and overseas. Writing in 2003 at the church centenary, jack Barr said “among my outstanding memories of St Andrew’s are the music, the youth fellowship and the welcome given to Christians from all over the world who chose to join the life and worship there”.
Revd David Holt Roberts 1971-1979
In 1971, after a difficult period without a minister, Revd David Holt Roberts was appointed, bringing with him many members of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Hampstead, which closed at that time. He was a caring pastor and powerful preacher of the gospel as well as being a physically imposing figure. He charmed and engaged adults, young people and children alike with his special addresses on Sunday morning and generous hospitality at the Manse on Sunday evenings following a short service of worship. One notable church garden party saw David and his wife dressed in costume as the White Rabbit and Alice, their own joke on his frequent late arrivals for meetings and visits (though never for worship).
Revd Dr Peter Jupp 1980-1988
Following the retirement of Revd David Holt Roberts, another lengthy vacancy was feared, but a little after a year Revd Peter Jupp was appointed. He was conscious of the history and traditions of St Andrew’s and sought to find ways to help bridge the past and future. He challenged elders and congregation to consider the basis of their Christian faith and the impact of this on their lives and the lives of others, leading many thought-provoking discussions and events, both within St Andrew’s and at other churches.
During his ministry St Andrew’s re-discovered its talent for and interest in drama, and a number of productions were staged fostering the substantial talent within the congregation both in front of the footlights and backstage. In this period St Andrew’s gained an Associate Minister, Revd Donald Macarthur, who, though no longer in full-time ministry, supported everyone with both his spiritual and practical guidance. Donald has continued to provide scholarly preaching and inspirational prayer together with practical management of the church building and its fabric and finances for many years since.
Revd Dr Philip Morgan 1990-1995
When Revd Peter Jupp left St Andrew’s in 1988, Revd Greta Morgan was appointed as Interim Moderator. She provided great insight an guidance to the Elders during the vacancy and frequently graced the pulpit. Two years later her husband was appointed to the ministry of St Andrew’s. He had previously been General Secretary at the British Council of Churches. Anyone who was concerned about the appointment of a 60 year old to the office was swiftly to revise that opinion when discovering his energy and efficiency, including his ability to scale scaffolding. Philip Morgan was a powerful preacher with the ability to attract to the church people from many nationalities and all walks of life. At one time it was possible to count 22 nationalities in the congregation. Writing later about St Andrew’s, Philip remembered fondly the international evenings, with every nationality bringing its characteristic dishes, and when, along with other London churches, we celebrated the Great Feast of the gospel parable when we compelled passers-by to come in!
Revd Jonathan Dean 1996-2011
Following Revd Philip Morgan’s retirement at the end of 1995 St Andrews found itself in new territory when seeking a minister. Because of a shortage of ministers within the URC and also a reducing congregation it was no longer possible to have a minister whose sole responsibility was the spiritual and pastoral care of one congregation. The appointment of the Revd Jonathan Dean, previously minister of Hammersmith Ecumenical Parish and Fulham URC brought to St Andrew’s a minister with an enthusiasm for joint working with other local churches, denominations and faiths. Jon Dean spent three-quarters of his time as minister of St Andrew’s with the remainder devoted to strengthening relations with other denominations and faiths on behalf of the national United Reformed Church. Jon and his wife Betti quickly became a vital and much loved part of life at St Andrew’s with Jon always looking to maximise and recognise individuals’ contributions to the work of the church. During his time as minister he encouraged, guided and supported the congregation in numerous ways including helping them to celebrate and mark in a meaningful way the Millennium and St Andrew’s centenary.