Originally, the congregation was a Presbyterian home mission station, founded as an extension of St Andrew’s Chatswood. Land was purchased on 5 October 1948 and a part-time student assistant began work in the area in late 1950. The old hall was erected in late 1952, fell down, and was re-erected in early 1953, and the opening service was held in early 1953. (Although at least one service might have held in the hall the previous year before it was blown down.) The present church building was opened and dedicated on 8 July 1962 and named “The Forest Kirk”.
The term “Kirk” highlighted the Scottish Presbyterian heritage of most of the congregation and may also have been a compliment to the Rev. Laurence Wedderburn, a retired Scottish missionary who had made a major contribution to the congregation in its early years. In any case, Celtic crosses are to be found both outside and inside the church building, along with a small stained glass window featuring the burning bush, the historic symbol of Scottish Presbyterianism. The window designed by famous stained glass artist, David Saunders, a Scots immigrant who had been a member of the congregation. However, over the years, the Kirk has been very hospitable to Christians from many different traditions and ethnic backgrounds.
After ten years of strong growth as a home mission station, the congregation became the sanctioned charge of French’s Forest-Forestville in 1963. The first minister inducted was the Rev. Tom Knibb, BA, who served from 1964 to 1982. The Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches in Australia decided to unite and the Kirk voted to become part of the resulting Uniting Church in Australia, which was inaugurated on 22 June 1977. The Kirk thus became one of five congregations in The Forest Parish, which also included formerly Methodist churches in Belrose, Terrey Hills, Forestville and Beacon Hill.
Mr Knibb continued his ministry into the Uniting Church era and retired after a fruitful ministry of 18 years. He was succeeded by the Rev. Milton Brown, ASTC, who served from 1983 to 1994. The Rev. Yvonne Stevenson, Dip. Theol., was inducted in February 1995 and retired in January 2005. The Forest Kirk once again became an separate congregation in April 1999 as part of a general reorganization of the Uniting Church at local level. The 50th anniversary of the Kirk was celebrated in March 2002. The Rev. Dr Henry C. Martin, BTh, DipPhysEd, MTh, DMin, was inducted in March 2005 and retired on 30 June 2012. On 8 February 2013, the Rev. Melinda Graham, BA, BTh, was inducted as the fifth Minister of The Forest Kirk in 60 years.
A book on the history of the Kirk from 1952/3 to 2002, The Kirk In the Forest, is available for $4 from the Secretary of the Church Council.
In 2016, the Kirk joined Forestville and Belrose Uniting Churches to celebrate a century of Christian worship in the Forest area, 1916-2016. A commemorative book, The Fruit of the Spirit in the Forest 1916 – 2016 was published and is available from Mr Robert Murphy of Belrose Uniting Church: firstname.lastname@example.org