FIRST LOCAL SUPPLEMENT
This Quarterly Local Supplement was begun in January, 1889, shortly after my appointment to the Parish. It has been interesting to turn to the first number, printed twenty-five years ago. The Elders’ names then were Mr Bain, Mr R. Kay, Mr McGregor, Mr McLaren, and Mr Paterson. The Session-Clerk was Mr J. Paterson, the Village. Two of the four baptisms recorded were those of William McFarlane, Ballochleum, and James Craik, Gargunnock. The only death was of Mrs McDonald.
In a personal paragraph, I say: — “No welcome could have been kinder than that which I have already received, and I can only desire that it should be carried out in practical helpfulness. We are not a wealthy congregation, nor are we an influential one; but that does not mean that there is nothing for us to do. All of us can do something, and what can be done for the cause of Christ should clearly lie next our hearts.”
One sentence from the old Record may here be repeated without alteration. It is this : —”May this be a Good New Year to all; may it bring to each, prosperity, and to the congregation, Divine blessing. ”
At a Meeting of the Young Men’s Guild, held on 24th December, Mr Robert Stewart, The Lodge, Leckie, was elected Secretary, and Mr John Bain, Crawtree, Delegate to the Provincial Council. An excellent Report of the Annual Conference in London was read by the local Delegate, Mr Robert Craik.
The many friends of the Rev. J. A. Alexander will be sorry to hear that his medical advisers have ordered him to undergo a somewhat serious operation. On the day of writing (29th December) be goes to the Deaconess Hospital, and it is feared that he may have to reside there for five or six weeks. I am sure that many in our Parish will join in the prayer that his life may be spared, and that his wife may be upheld in what must be to her a season of much anxiety. Mr Alexander has greatly endeared himself to all who have met him throughout the Presbytery, and all with one accord join in the wish that he may have a speedy recovery, and a prosperous return to his much-loved work in picturesque Jammu.
The Communion Season was favoured with the most beautiful weather I ever remember in December, and the congregations on the Friday evening and at the Thanksgiving Service were the largest we have had for some time. It is a great help to a Minister at Communion time when the Preparatory Service is well attended. It makes him conscious of the fellowship and support of others, and does much to quicken his own expectation, and prepare his own soul for the ministry of the sacrament.
The Minister had some difficulty in knowing how to arrange about the Mission Boxes when leaving last year for India. The matter was overlooked until near the time of departure, and then so many questions arose as to the wisest procedure in absence that it was thought better to leave the ingathering in abeyance for a year. It was therefore with all the greater pleasure and sense of encouragement thai so man)’ of the Boxes were found to contain the proceeds of two years’ collection. This fact has made the total considerably greater than it has ever been before. From the beginning this particular “Missions Aid ” has been a source of constant gratification.
|1177||0||7||8 1/2||1206||0||5||3 1/2|
TO THE CHILDREN
Preaching at the Children’s Service on December 28th from the text “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve,” Josh. xxiv. 15, the Minister took for his heads three “steps of choice”: “I ought,” “I can,” “I will.” He also tried to put the message of these words in some lines of verse, and, such as they are, these lines are now addressed very affectionately to the young people of the Sunday School:
CHOOSE YE THIS DAY
Three little words set forth the way
Which leads to Zion hill,
And form three steps from earth to heaven
“I ought,” “I can,” ” I will.”
” I ought ” — ’tis here that conscience speaks –
God’s voice within the heart
Points out the right, detects the wrong,
And shows where pathways part.
” I can “—this is the word of faith,
With eyes on Jesus’ face,
Sure that when duty says “thou shalt,”
God gives the needed grace.
” I will”- mark now the word of choice
Which angels wait to hear;
For a willing God meets a willing soul,
And brings salvation near.
“Choose then this day whom ye will serve,”
Our Leader signals still;
Let each young voice make glad response
” I ought,” ” I can,” ” I will.”
At Mains Cottages, on 20th January, Alexander, son of John and Mrs. Wood.
At Crawtree, on 11th March, John McEwen, son of John and Mrs. Bain.
At Crawtree, on 8th March, Mrs. John Bain.
We desire to offer profound and reverent sympathy to an esteemed Elder and friend, Mr. John Bain, in the inexpressible calamity which has befallen him through the sad death of his recently-wedded wife. Mrs. Bain had won all hearts during her too short sojourn in the Parish. In the presence of so great a sorrow one feels that even the voice of sympathy must he hushed into silence, but Mr. Bain may be assured that many thoughts and prayers have gone forth towards him and his little boy. We commend the little one to what a great writer has justly called the “Motherhood of God.”
LETTER FROM MRS. STEVENSON TO THE WOMAN’S GUILD.
Manse of Gargunnock,
20th March 1914.
DEAR FELLOW-GUILDSWOMEN – So much seems to have happened since I wrote reminding you of our last Sale of Work that it seems to me lunch longer than two years ago. And yet it is just that time since we were all planning and working for what turned out such a happily successful event. In case any of us should he caught napping, I think it is wise to keep reminding ourselves that in little more than four months the time will he round for our next Sale. And so I take this opportunity of expressing the earnest hope and confidence that we are all working as busily and interestedly for it as in former years, so that when the time comes round there may be the usual splendid display of work. As we saw-for ourselves in India, the most thriving Missions are those which are growing the fastest, and those whose needs are therefore the greatest. Let us then not slacken in our endeavour, but let each of us Guildswomen willingly and joyfully take our share in the great enterprise of winning the world for Christ.
I append a list of those ladies who, in the various districts of the Parish, have kindly agreed to be receivers of work :-Miss Robb, Meiklewood; Miss Bain, The Mains; Mrs. McGregor, the Village; Mrs. Moir, Nethercarse; Mrs. McCallum. Glencairn; and the Office-bearers, Miss Lang and myself. The Provision Stall will he under the charge of Miss Jamieson, Miss Marion McCregor, and Mrs. Inglis, Mid Frew. – I am, Yours very sincerely, AGNES J. STEVENSON.
DECLINE IN POPULATION.
It is for many reasons desirable that I he Congregation should recognise frankly the facts regarding the population of the Parish. The figures, which I had not previously looked carefully into, were startling to myself, and I here set them down for the information of others. In 1888, the population of Gargunnock stood at almost exactly 700. At last census, it had dropped to 573; and since then it has undoubtedly fallen by more than 20. Thus in 25 years the population of the Parish has declined by about 100 souls. In these circumstances it is matter of comparative congratulation that the Communion Roll, whose numbers stood at 229 in 1888, bears 206 names as stated in the last issue of the Year-book. Or in other words, while the population has fallen by 21 per cent, the communicant membership has only fallen by 10 per cent.
This is very satisfactory as far as it goes. Nevertheless we must look facts in the face, and realise that should the decline in population continue it is bound to involve the lessening of the Congregation also.
Among those departures which weaken us not only numerically, but in loss of valued help, is that of Mr. Robert Stewart, who has recently sailed for Basutoland, South Africa. Mr. Stewart was Secretary of the Young Men’s Guild, and was of great assistance in many departments of our parochial life. Many good wishes accompany him to his new home, and especially the wish that a fuller measure of health may there he his portion. I learn on the day of writing that a “cable ” has been received telling of safe arrival at Capetown.
It has been with much regret that we have learned of the illness of Miss Waugh of Kalimpong, and of her enforced sickleave. Her vessel, the ” Mombassaa,” must by this time he approaching the shores of England. She herself is hoping to return to India recruited and set up by a short holiday, and we must all join in the wish and prayer that this unselfish desire may he gratified.
The opportunity was taken on the occasion of a children’s party on the 10th February to convey to Miss Jamieson the handsome Long-Service Certificate of the Sunday School Committee of the Church of Scotland, presented by them to teachers who have served for over twenty-one years. Miss Jamieson is the second teacher in our School who has gained this most honourable token of recognition. Both teachers and scholars displayed warm and heartfelt satisfaction at the well-deserved tribute thus paid to steadfast work. Out- of the signatories to the Certificate is the present Moderator of the General Assembly, the distinguished Minister of St. Giles’ Cathedral, Dr. Wallace Williamson.
Any readers who have been interested in the famous “Kikuyu” controversy will read with special satisfaction the following extract from a letter recently received from the Rev. Alexander Silver of Arkonam. It shows that many of the Bishops and Clergy of the Church of England are more broad minded than their brother of Zanzibar. “On that particular Sunday, Mr. Brown (the Church of England chaplain) took his service in our Church for the first time. The Bishop of Madras gave his sanction, and to crown all he came along himself a few days later and held a Confirmation Service in our Church. He captivated every one. He talked a lot to me about Union, and said, “After you unite with the United Free Church at home, the next thing will he for the Church of England and the Church of Scotland to unite.'”
At Garioch Road, Glasgow, on 5th June, by Rev. R. Stevenson, John Millar to Agnes McGregor, Gargunnock.
At Gargunnock, on 15th June, by Rev R. Stevenson, Colin Moir to Janet Morris Fulton Couborough.
SALE OF WORK
The date fixed for the Sale of Work is Saturday 8th August. The Sale will be opened at 3 P.M. by the Hon. Mary Scott, Honorary Missionary at Kalimpong. Miss Scott’s name is well known as that of a devoted worker, who has laboured for several years in India at her own charges. Many readers remember with much pleasure a previous visit on her part to the Parish. It is needless to add anything to the appeal already made in the Supplement by Mrs. Stevenson. May the same Divine Blessing crown this enterprise as has graciously rested upon it in former years.
The children may like-to see the following letter, which is only a specimen of three received. It will serve to show that the gifts of flowers which made the Church so beautiful on the evening of 28th June have been appreciated in their wider ministry, and that the trouble spent in gathering and bringing them has not been lost.
CHILDREN’S HOME, WHINWELL
29th June 1914
REV. SIR – We beg to acknowledge the lovely gift of flowers received so fresh and sweet today. What a difference they do make in our rooms, not only in their beauty but in their fragrance The children do enjoy the flowers, and every face is bright and pleased as the eyes light upon the flowers in every room and lobby as they go.
We do thank you very much indeed, and send grateful thanks to all who kindly thought of us, or had anything to do with the sending of the flowers. I am, Yours very faithfully in the Children’s cause,
ANNIE H. CROALL.
THE COMMUNION AND AFTER
We may record the visits to the Parish of three friends, whose varied ministry has been specially helpful to us.
On the evening of the Preparatory Service to Communion we had with us Mr. Houston of Shawlands, who after fruitful service rendered to the Church in Dundee. Cambuslang, and Edinburgh has now succeeded the late Mr. Sloan in Glasgow. Mr. Houston is also at present Convener of the Mission Weeks Committee of the Church – a post which I had the honour of occupying for 10 years. He is a well known speaker at Conventions; and his address upon “Who art Thou, Lord?” formed an uplifting preparation for the Communion.
Then on the Communion Sunday itself we had with us the Rev. Dr. Robertson of Coltness, who has for many years occupied the responsible post of Convener Christian Life and Work Committee. This Committee was founded by Dr Charteris; and was one of the enterprises whose influence on the Church led Dr. Cameron Lees of St. Giles’ Cathedral to say to a friend before his death, “Well, Mackenzie, we are looking on a very different Church of Scotland from the Church we knew 50 years ago. And under God, we owe this difference most of all to Charteris.” Dr Robertson had no easy task in being called to succeed Dr. Charteris as Convener, and can receive no higher praise than that of being a worthy successor to the Chief. His short address at the Communion Table direct and experimental — and his notable sermon in the evening, drawing aside with reverent hand one corner of the “veil,” have placed us all in his debt.
Then, as though to remind us of what after all the Christian Church is in the world for not merely the rendering to God of a true worship, but also the winning of the world for Christ – we had with us on the Sunday following Communion the best-known of all our missionaries, Dr. Graham of Kalimpong. There is probably no man in India, outside the little company of chief rulers, whose name is so well known from north to south, and east to west, as the name of Dr. Graham. Men of all ranks and classes conspire to do him honour. He has received from Government the highest dignity it can offer to a man of his profession the Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal, and the title of “C.I.E.” I have met people who said they believed in no other missions who cheerfully admitted that they believed in Dr. Graham. I am sure that he would be the first to say that the close connection of Kalimpong with the Young Men’s Guild, and the definite personal intelligent prayer which that connection has implied has been one chief secret of the success of the work,
NOTES AND NEWS.
A letter received from Miss Maggie Barclay, Vancouver, on the morning of writing, tells of the death of her mother, Mrs. Barclay, on 24th June. “The end came as a great shock to us all Mother realised it herself, and tried to break it to us. My father keeps up wonderfully. . . . We never forget the old place, and the old familiar faces ; and we like to be remembered too, especially at this time.”
The Miss Ellie Kelly whom we knew in Gargunnock is now Mrs. Dr. Pugh, wife of a medical missionary in Travancore, South India. Her sister took her annual holiday at the time of the wedding and has now returned to Madras, to take up the old work under new conditions, but to take it up with the old courage and devotion.
A letter from their brother, Mr. James Kelly, Chiefs’ College, Lahore, tells of the celebration of the marriage in the Scots Church in that city ; and of the pleasure given to himself and his wife, by the first visit of the sisters.
A friend in the village will excuse me inserting (without permission) another sentence from Mr. Kelly’s letter. He writes: “Now, Gargunnock, I write your sweetest-sounding of names on the envelope with a strange far-away feeling. You are losing your correspondence with the Gargunnock I knew. Strange to think that Willie Stewart is no longer walking about, with grand Scotch sounding forth in chance greetings. I hear he is only on his bed now. Kindest regards to him, and all friends.”
Miss Waugh writes from Kingussie thai she feels “a different being” and is to see Dr. Fleming I his month in the hope that he may allow her to go back to India soon.
Dr. Ara Rankine, who left Scotland for Poona in the winter has had a very sad experience Two young missionaries belonging to the United Free Church were drowned while bathing in a pool, and Miss Rankine, as the nearest doctor, was sent for. It was thought for long that there was hope of restoring one of the victims to life; and for more than an hour Dr. Rankine and her helpers used every device appropriate to this end only to find that their efforts were vain, and that life was gone. One of the missionaries, who was a good swimmer, had succumbed to heart -attack; and the other, less expert, lost his life in trying to save his friend.
Little may profitable be said about the War.
Eight powerful nations are now embroiled. Nothing comparable with it has been known in history. I hope that many members of the Congregation am remembering the compact we were asked to make, never to let a day pass without mentioning in prayer our sailors and soldiers. These brave men are fighting for us ; and the very least we can do is to make continual remembrance of them before the Throne of Grace.
From the War Office itself a request has been sent out by the Chaplain General in the following terms:
“May I invite all people to offer up a prayer at 12 o’clock each day for all those now engaged in fighting for their country? I am sure the knowledge that they are being remembered at a given time will be a great source of comfort, hope, and strength to our soldiers and sailors.
SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM.
The following paragraph is reprinted from a Supplement now twenty two years old – the date being June 1892. Here and there (in brackets such as these) a note is added, the most important of these being at the end. In that olden day I said : It may be desirable to state for permanent reference some reasons why the Ordinance of Infant Baptism should properly be celebrated in the Parish Church, except in exceptional cases. I am sure I shall obtain for these reasons a courteous and attentive consideration.
- Open consideration is expressly required in the “Directory for Public Worship.” There it is commanded that Baptism “be not administered in private places , but in the place of worship and in the face of the congregation.” This principle has been reaffirmed by the General Assembly, and is formally binding upon all the ministers of our Church. (Fresh stress was laid upon this rule by the General Assembly of 1911, as well as at a recent meeting of the Presbytery of Stirling It is really hardly fair to put a minister in the embarrassing and uncomfortable position of being asked to disregard it.)
- Baptism is a Church Ordinance as truly as the Lord’s Supper. Il coincides with the admission of the child into the visible Church ; and unless the congregation are present to represent the Church, the Sacrament loses one of its important emblems.
- The solemnity of the Ordinance is greatly deepened by reverent public celebration. The opportunity is given to Christian parents of reminding older children of their own baptism, and of explaining to them the meaning of the Sacrament.
- False views of the Ordinance are largely guarded against. No one after witnessing a public Dispensation would be likely to speak of baptism as “giving a child its name.” If that had been its only purpose a registrar’s office would have been its most appropriate scene.
- Public and united prayer is made on behalf of the child baptised.
Other advantages might easily be adduced, but the above may suffice to show the reasonableness of the Church’s position. Of course, in a country parish such as ours, there are reasons which might make the open celebration burdensome, in spite of its desirability such is the existence of the very long distances, which the parents have no means of traversing comfortably, and possible weakness of health in parent or child. And if it is impossible or difficult to bring a child to Church, God will grant His presence and blessing in the exceptional circumstances. But I venture to ask all members of the Congregation to cooperate with me in making the “holy Ordinance” as full of reverence and order as we should all like to see it.
(So far the old Supplement. I have now to add that in view of the fact that some nervousness in a new situation is on the part of a mother a natural feeling, and one with which we can all have hearty sympathy, it will henceforth be arranged for those who specially desire it, that baptism will be administered at the close of the ordinary service. The Congregation will thus consist of the Elders and some singers, and just as many friends as the parents may wish to ask. It is hoped that this course may not be very often necessary. But it may smooth the way for some who might feel apprehensive of the ordinary procedure.
I should like also to take the opportunity of adding that just as baptism may lawfully be administered in private in cases of sickness, so may also our other Sacrament, the Lord’s Supper. If any invalid should ask me to administer the Lord’s Supper in his or her own home, I should gladly accede to the request. Our two great Sacraments are on the same footing.)
SALE OF WORK.
Our Sale of Work was this year in a strange position following by three days the declaration of war. It cannot be denied that for these three days the outlook on the Sale seemed very black, and was complicated by genuine perplexity as to the right course in the circumstances. But the rally of our friends, and the gratifying result brought “clear shining after rain.” I am sure we did right to go on quietly and calmly in the appointed path, trying even in hesitation to put first things first, and remembering that of all the distresses caused by the War none will be more sorrowful or clamant than those suffered by our missionaries and the cause they represent. The following apportionment of the splendid sum raised will give satisfaction.
|Guild Mission, Kalimpong||£10||0||0|
|Do. (to be allocated by Miss Waugh)||5||0||0|
|Women’s Mission, Darjeeling||10||0||0|
|Do. to be allocated by Miss Berry)||5||0||0|
|Stirling Presbytery Association||12||0||0|
|Women’s Mission, Madras||10||0||0|
|Kikuyu Mission (Miss Stevenson’s work)||7||0||0|
|Women’s Association, Jewish Missions||6||0||0|
|Home-House for Missionaries’ Children||5||0||0|
|Retained in hand||4||13||6|
OUR FOURTH MISSIONARY
With deep thankfulness and content of heart I have to announce through the Supplement that another recruit for Foreign Service has come from our own ranks – Miss Jessy Silver having volunteered for a post in the Colonial Homes, Kalimpong, under Dr. Graham. It is much to give money for the extension of Christ’s kingdom, but it is still more in give lives. May the same Divine blessing follow Miss Silver in her labours which we believe to have followed her predecessors. Nothing can be settled at the moment about travelling to India, but our new missionary’s departure is not likely to be very long delayed.