As the Holy Scrubbers and Dusters did their thing in church yesterday keeping it all looking spick and span, I decided to give my bookshelves a good clear out. These are the Sacristy bookshelves known the world over which contain old Scottish Prayer Books, ASBs (for those visiting clergy who will use no other), tatty Grey and Blue books, little Green short prayer book (liturgy-lite), old photocopies of Compline, Confirmations and Candlemas, videos of dodgy-looking bible stories for children, candle stubs, incense crumbs, wobbly snuffers, many lighters none of which work, and a pile of plastic cups which the Servers ignore leaving me to cough my guts up mid-liturgy while looking pointedly at the Sacristy door wherein this all lies.
So I was having a good old throw-out when I came across another issue of The Scottish Churchman dated November, 1938. (The Scottish Churchman being the monthly magazine for Churchpeople at Home and Overseas for Christ Church, Falkirk with St Mary’s Grangemouth and St Andrew’s, Dunmore.) What joys lie therein. Holy Communion on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Tuesday and Friday. Matins daily, as is Evensnog. Then there is a host of Study Circles, Lads’ Fellowship, Bible Class, and the Guides and Brownies etc. Services are held in Christ Church Falkirk, St Mary’s Grangemouth, the Masonic Hall Larbert, St Margaret’s Polmont and St Andrew’s Dunmore, only two of which remain today.
The advertisements are the usual you might expect in a church magazine: Funeral Undertakers, Mission to Seamen, Fireplaces (?), Ovaltine, Mr McLuckie the organist looking for pupils of the pianoforte, and Harry Lacey the Boot and Shoe Repairer.
The Rector’s letter talks of Remembrance Sunday and the hope that we shall never see war again in this land. He also talks of many members of St Mary’s Grangemouth joining the Navy, while most of Christ Church seem to prefer the Air Force. The eighth young man has just left Falkirk for the Air Force. (I see that one of them is the father of a current member whose ashes I recently interred in our Garden of Remembrance so he must have returned safely.)
The Rector also states: “We should rejoice in the honour done to our Church and to our Branch of the Mothers’ Union, through my Mother being elected County President for Stirlingshire of the Scottish Mothers’ Union.” Rejoice indeed.
I was more impressed by the fact that Christ Church held a Sale in aid of St Mary’s Grangemouth and raised £100. That’s not a bad total for 1938.
And finally, the letter from the Rev Patrick Broun to the People of St Mary’s Grangemouth:
My last letter was written on the eve of the crisis. Now, thanks to what may be described as a miracle, the war-clouds have been dispersed, and we can breathe freely again. Every Sunday I incorporate the prayer “for the preservation of peace” into our Services, and I hope that each member of our congregation is praying continually for this object.
My ministry at St Mary’s is one of constant joy to me, but I am far from satisfied with the present state of affairs. I know our congregation is not a large one, but I think we could do better so far as Church attendance is concerned. On Sunday mornings I am almost invariably depressed when I come into Church and see the sprinkling of people who are there. Many of those who read this Magazine are not what one could call regular attenders. It is quite useless for me to complain to the people who are in Church, so I must do it in this way. I do not like complaining any more that you like reading my complaints, but I shall continue to do so until matters improve.
I consider it my duty as your priest to exhort you to be regular in your observance of the Lord’s day, and to receive frequently the Sacrament which Christ has ordained for our strengthening in the Christian life.
Amen to that Brother Broun!