One Fifty at One Seventy | 4. The Great War & Its Aftermath

An oidhche mus deach sinn a-null
Bha i drùidhteach a’ sileadh,
Bha mi fhèin ’nam laighe ’n cùil
’S thug mi sùil feadh nan gillean.

Ochan ì, ochan ì,
Tha sinn sgìth anns an ionad.
Ochan ì, ochan ì.

Cuid ’nan suidhe ’s cuid nan suain,
Cuid a’ bruadair ’s a’ bruidhinn,
Gu robh mhadainn gu bhith cruaidh –
‘Saoil am buannaich sin tilleadh?’

Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna[1]

At the 1568 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, commissioners passed an act which emphasised the position that the Church of Scotland would have ‘no earthly Head’. The following year, the Assembly reiterated this position, expressing the desire that ‘the jurisdiction of the Kirk may be separated from that which is civil.’[2] But in time, the Church of Scotland found itself occupying the place of the Established Church in Scotland, subject to the authority of the Parliament at Westminster. While this intertwining of the Church and the State had been the root of most of the Kirk’s subsequent successions, by the early twentieth century, the Church of Scotland was seeking out a way to preserve ‘the principle of a national Church while avoiding any suggestion of State oversight and control’.[3] Then, and only then, could a conversation between the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland take place with a view toward union.

A major stride in this journey took place at the General Assembly of 1913, during which the Assembly proposed the preparation of a constitution for a united Church. This resulted in the Articles Declaratory of the Church of Scotland in Matters Spiritual, the third article of which states,

This Church is in historical continuity with the Church of Scotland which was reformed in 1560, whose liberties were ratified in 1592, and for whose security provision was made in the Treaty of Union of 1707. The continuity and identity of the Church of Scotland are not prejudiced by the adoption of these Articles. As a national Church representative of the Christian Faith of the Scottish people it acknowledges its distinctive call and duty to bring the ordinances of religion to the people in every parish of Scotland through a territorial ministry.[4]

In From Reform to Renewal: Scotland’s Kirk Century by Century, the Very Rev Dr Finlay Macdonald, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 2002 to 2003, points out very helpfully that the language of this article helped to further the distinction between the Kirk and the State, noting that ‘the wording of the third Article very deliberately speaks of a national Church, not the national Church.’[5] He also notes that instead of a place of civil prestige, the Kirk was called to a role of service ‘to the people in every parish of Scotland through a territorial ministry.’ Tensions between the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland began to thaw, but the negotiations of a union were put on hold with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914. Entangled European alliances were invoked and by August, the British Empire and France found themselves at war with Germany.

Just 18 days before the outbreak of war, on 10 June 1914, Mr Shaw of Govanhill UF Church retired. His successor, the Rev William Dobbie of Castlehill UF Church, Forres, was inducted on 4 September, in time to see hundreds of his flock leave for active service. In total, 47 did not return. The congregation in Daisy Street, like many congregations during the war, provided accommodation for refugees fleeing the continent. Upon the request of the YMCA in the autumn of 1916, Mr Dobbie spent three months serving in YMCA Huts in France. Elsewhere in our church family tree, at Crosshill UF Church, the minister, Mr Cowie responded a calling to military chaplaincy. Due to poor health, he was prevented from serving overseas, though he did spend two years serving in Ripon, Yorkshire, returning to Crosshill in 1918.

At Queen’s Park Parish Church, Mr Brown left in October 1914, accepting the call to Morningside Parish Church, Edinburgh. At the time of his departure, church membership was nearing 1,500. By 1915, 165 members and adherents from Queen’s Park were serving in the armed forces. In addition, another 145 young men who had been a part of the 113th Boys’ Brigade Company were also serving. Of the men from Queen’s Park who left to serve in the war, 49 never came home. The 113th lost a further 38. The vacancy at Queen’s Park was filled by the Rev Adam McKay in 1915, and in the winter of 1916-17, Mr McKay served with the Church of Scotland Guild Camps Committee in France.

Strathbungo Parish Church also experienced heavy losses during the First World War. Of some 300 men and women from the congregation who went forth to serve, 49 fell. Perhaps due in part to the great strains of the war, on 29 November 1916, only weeks after his 70th birthday, having spent 40 of those at Strathbungo, Mr McMillan retired from his charge. He was succeeded by the Rev Charles Guthrie Cooper on 21 June 1917.

More than 250 young men from the congregation at Queen’s Park West UF Church were enlisted during the war. Of these, 42 did not return. It goes without saying that, for a minister, these years were a time of particular strain. Having to console bereaved parents was something which pushed pastoral skills to the limit, yet Mr Craig seems to have been equal to the task. For bereaved parents, the loss of loved ones was made all the more difficult by not being able to receive the body home for burial, which meant that they did not have the consolation of a proper funeral.

During the war, weekly intercessory prayers were held jointly between Queen’s Park West UF Church, Strathbungo Parish Church and Camphill UF Church. Even before the passage of the Articles Declaratory, the denominational differences which had so plagued Christ’s Church in Scotland for two centuries were beginning to break down.

In 1919, both the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church Assemblies passed the Articles Declaratory. By 1921, Parliament approved the Church of Scotland Act, recognising the spiritual independence of the Church ‘in matters of worship, government, doctrine and discipline while, at the same time, safeguarding the jurisdiction of the civil courts in matters of a civil nature.’[6] Lord Hugh Cecil praised the Act as ‘harmonising with a definiteness and completeness for which I think no parallel in Christian history is to be found, the national recognition of Religion with the spiritual freedom of the Church.’[7] In May 1926, the congregation of Queen’s Park West UF Church held a discussion as to whether the United Free Church should enter negotiations with the Church of Scotland about possible union. When it came to a vote, there was only one dissenting voice out of nearly 700.

The post-war years were extremely difficult for the country, and churches were not spared. There was a great deal of long-term unemployment, especially after the Wall Street ‘Crash’ of 1929. The unemployed had no opportunity for the Social Security benefits of the present, and there was a great deal of poverty within the present-day parish. The minutes of the Kirk Session at Queen’s Park West UF Church reveal that several special collections were held to raise funds to help specific cases of need. As givings were falling, this caused much concern. In response, the Weekly Freewill Offering (WFO) system was established.

After the war, the first voices advocating that women should be ordained as deacons (enabling them to have a say in the financial affairs of the local church) at Queen’s Park West UF Church were heard. In 1919, the Kirk Session dismissed the idea unanimously, and it was many years before the debate re-emerged. Some other incidents in the minutes of the Kirk Session can raise a wry smile today. For example, members who led the youth work were refused permission to use a ‘Magic Lantern’ to illustrate scenes from Pilgrim’s Progress at the Forenoon Meeting. By 1924 things had relaxed to the extent that dancing (reels, quadrilles and lancers) was permitted on church premises, ‘but not exceeding three dances in any one evening’.

The year 1920 saw a significant event in the evolution of our family tree at 170 Queen’s Drive. The UF Presbytery of Glasgow saw fit that Eglinton Street UF Church, once Eglinton Street United Secession Church and the first branch of our church family, should leave its home of 95 years in order to unite with Elgin Street UF Church, located less than half a mile south. The two congregations would then become, of all things, Eglinton Elgin UF Church.

It was around this time, near the end of the First World War, that a young woman from Dumfriesshire moved to the Southside of Glasgow. Her name was Jane Haining.

OOR JANE

Haining

Jane Haining c. 1917.

Jane Mathison Haining was born to Jane and Thomas Haining in Dunscore on 6 June 1897. Her mother died when she was only five years old, which may well have inspired her passion for and empathy with orphaned and homeless girls, as such is the passion and commitment for which we so remember and honour her. In his book Heroes of the Faith: Short Stories in Christian Biography, a later minister at Queen’s Park West, the Rev William Steven, comments that these qualities showed themselves ‘quite early, indeed, for as a boarder at Dumfries Academy she spent so much of her time making other girls feel at home that some of them referred to her playfully as “Little Mother”.’[8]

Even in the midst of her ‘motherly duties’, Jane found the time and energy to excel at the Academy. During her six years there, she was awarded some 41 prizes. She also demonstrated proficiency in linguistics, with her Leaving Certificate showing that among her five higher standard subjects were Latin, French and German.

After offering her labours on the family farm for most of the war, Jane set out for Glasgow in 1917. She found employment with the Paisley-based J. & P. Coats and over the next decade rose up through the ranks as ‘a highly competent and greatly trusted servant  of  the  company.’  Not  long  after  her  arrival,  Jane  also became a member of Queen’s Park West UF Church. Mr Steven writes, ‘It was characteristic of her that she should lose no time in harnessing her gifts and energies to the work of the congregation, and equally characteristic that her main interest should lie in work among the young.’[9] Jane served as an ‘enthusiastic monitor’ in the Band of Hope, a weekly evening meeting. Mr Steven notes that ‘it was to the Sunday School that she rendered her most notable service.’[10] She began as a teacher and, very soon thereafter, served as secretary to the Sunday School.

Even into the 1950s, there were members of the congregation at Queen’s Park West who worked with Jane and remembered her as ‘a quiet, unobtrusive but resolute young woman, who became, by natural selection, a leader among them.’[11] But after a decade, Jane’s leadership skills would come to be exercised beyond the bounds of her local church. Dr George Mackenzie, Convenor of the Church of Scotland Jewish Mission Committee, delivered a talk in Glasgow outlining the work of the Committee. Upon hearing his words, Jane’s call to missionary service became solidified in her mind. ‘I have found my life-work’, she commented to a friend.[12]

In due course, Jane undertook training to that end, resigning from her lucrative post as a secretary with J. & P. Coats and took the Diploma of the Glasgow School of Domestic Science. For a time, she worked as a Matron in a Radium Institute in Manchester while retaining the earnest expectation that the door to missionary work would be opened. In Life and Work, Jane learned of the need for a matron of the Girls’ Home of the Jewish Mission Station at Budapest. She applied for the post and, despite the fact that she had no knowledge of the Hungarian language, she was appointed. On 19 June 1932, after completing her training at St Colm’s Missionary College, Jane was dedicated for missionary service at St Stephen’s Parish Church, Edinburgh. The next day, she set out for Budapest.

After three years in post, Jane returned to Scotland on furlough, proficient in Hungarian and expressing a deep love for her work. Her dislike of public speaking kept many of her experiences a mystery to the folk back home, until she visited Scotland once again in 1939, this time accompanied by one of her Hungarian friends, a Miss Prém, who spoke of Jane’s work on her behalf. But Jane did make one exception, speaking to a crowded gathering at Queen’s Park West. This would end up being Jane’s final visit her native land.

Shortly after the Nazi invasion of Poland, Jane returned to what she would discover was a changed continent. The Church of Scotland Jewish Mission Committee twice recalled Jane to Scotland and twice she refused. Her sister Agnes commented that ‘if the children needed her in peace-time, they had much more need of her in war-time and she would never have had a moment’s happiness if she had come home and left them.’[13]

In early 1944, Hungary fell under Nazi control. Jane’s work became increasingly restricted and she was ordered to sew yellow Stars of David onto her Jewish children’s clothing. At this task, she wept bitterly. In May, the Gestapo placed Jane under arrest and she was detained in the prison at Fő utca. The charges raised against her were as follows:

  1. That she had worked among the Jews.
  2. That she had wept when putting yellow stars on the girls.
  3. That she had dismissed her housekeeper, who was an Aryan.
  4. That she had listened to the BBC News Bulletins.
  5. That she had many British visitors.
  6. That she was active in politics.
  7. That she visited British prisoners of war.
  8. That she sent them parcels.[14]

Efforts were made to secure Jane’s release, but failed. Without any semblance of a trial, she was sent to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. Jane Haining died on 17 July, her death certificate claiming, ‘Miss Haining, who was arrested on justified suspicion of espionage against Germany, died in hospital, July 17th, of cachexia.’[15] It was later determined that Jane had starved to death. It was not until September that her family, both biological and spiritual, heard the devastating news.

A report to the Church of Scotland General Assembly of 1945 stated, ‘Typical of all that is best in the Scottish tradition of missionary service, she gave the best years of her life to enhancing that tradition and at last gave life itself.’[16] Her former minister at Queen’s Park West, Mr Craig, said in tribute,

No one can assess the value of her wholehearted service of love. That is God’s secret. but of this we can be sure—she must have made a lasting impression upon the hearts and minds of the girls who came under her influence; and they in their turn will transmit to others something of what they received from her; and so through successive generations the effect of her work will be felt.[17]

The Kirk Session resolved to honour Jane’s memory with a permanent memorial. In 1948, the two stained glass windows in the vestibule at 170 Queen’s Drive were commissioned, installed and dedicated.

Haining Windows

Jane Haining Memorial windows at 170 Queen’s Drive: ‘Service’ and ‘Sacrifice’.

One of Jane’s former Jewish pupils commented, ‘The body of Miss Haining is dead, but she is still alive, because her smile, voice, face are still in my heart. I will never forget Miss Haining and I will try to follow in her footsteps.’[18]

THE KIRK UNITED

One of the final major institutional distinctions between the Church of Scotland the United Free Church of Scotland involved a last vestige of patrimony that dated from the eleventh century. A portion of the stipends of Church of Scotland ministers was tied to teinds, ‘the revenues to which the Church was entitled from the owners of land.’[19] Unlike the UF Church, whose financial affairs operated independently of any other institutions, within the Church of Scotland the teinds, or ‘tenths’, were the responsibility of heritors, set aside ‘to sustain a Christian ministry for the people on their estates.’[20] In order to overcome this obstacle, Parliament passed the Church of Scotland (Properties and Endowments) Act, 1925. Within the two Churches, a Basis and Plan of Union was developed and in 1929, it was passed by both General Assemblies.

The unrest that had so greatly marred the Church in Scotland had come to an end and the vast majority of UF Churches returned to the Church of Scotland.[21] For the many who had prayed for this union it was a wonderful time. The prominent Scottish journalist and one-time member of Queen’s Park West UF Church, J. M. Reid wrote, ‘The incredible thing had been done! The National Kirk was again united and free.’[22]

Prior to the union, on 30 March 1929, the Victoria UF Church building was destroyed completely by a fire. The congregation decided not to rebuild, opting instead for a union with their neighbours at Crosshill UF Church. The union between the UF Church and the Church of Scotland came around and the two churches became Crosshill Victoria Parish Church. The service of union took place on Sunday, 1 January 1930:

The Kirk Session of Victoria Church, led by their minister Rev Francis MacLaughlin walked down the east aisle of the Church [on Dixon Avenue] and the Kirk Session of Crosshill Church led by their minister Rev Alex. Stewart walked down the west aisle of the Church. Both ministers entered the pulpit together and with a friendly handshake, Crosshill Church changed its name to Crosshill-Victoria Church of Scotland.[23]

In addition to Crosshill Victoria, a whole new round of unions and name changes also came to our church family tree.

Following the departure of Mr (by then, Dr) Davidson and induction of the Rev John L Howat in 1928, Queen’s Park Parish Church became known as Queen’s Park High Parish Church in 1930, its new name simply indicative of the hill or ‘high portion’ of the parish where it was located. Govanhill UF Church, following the departure of Mr Dobbie, was led by the Rev James Barclay from 1922. At the union between the Churches, Govanhill UF was given a parish and became Govanhill West Parish Church (in order to distinguish it from Govanhill South Parish Church).

Queen’s Park West UF Church at 170 Queen’s Drive became Queen’s Park West Parish Church. Two years prior these events, the Rev Sydney C. Still from Kilcreggan and Cove UF Church in Argyll had been called as minister of Queen’s Park West UF Church. It was he, therefore, who became the first minister of Queen’s Park West Parish Church. On 6 October 1929, a special service of thanksgiving was conducted by Mr Still. A district service for young people was held in the afternoon and in the evening and ‘A United Service of Thanksgiving’ took place up the road in what had become Camphill Parish Church. Addresses were given by Mr Still and the Rev John M. Munro, representing the two UF congregations now entering the Church of Scotland together.

During Mr Still’s ministry, church life at 170 Queen’s Drive continued to flourish, although there were some concerns about the financial state of the congregation. Keith Steven comments that the church income figures were ‘indicative of the difficulties facing the Church at the time and of the wider social problems which faced people still suffering from the effects of widespread unemployment.’[24] Nevertheless, during the summer of 1933 the church had undergone major redecoration, during which electricity was at last installed throughout the building. In June 1937, Mr Still accepted a call to St James’s Parish Church in Paisley and a successor had to be found. Early in 1938, the Vacancy Committee brought forward the name of the Rev Norman Boyd Scott of Moncreiff Parish Church in East Kilbride. Mr Scott was inducted in April 1938.

Following the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland, by 1930, when all of the corresponding unions and name changes were said and done, our family tree was reduced to nine Church of Scotland parish churches: Candlish Memorial, Crosshill Victoria, Eglinton Elgin, Govanhill South, Govanhill West, Polmadie, Queen’s Park High, Queen’s Park West and Strathbungo. And so it would remain until after the Second World War.

 


[1] From ‘Air an Somme’ (‘On the Somme’), Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna: orain is dain le Dòmhnall Dòmhnallach a Uibhist a Tuath (Loch nam Madadh: Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, 1995), The night before we went over/The soaking rain poured down;/I lay in a corner/And looked around the lads./Ochan ee, ochan ee,/We are tired in this place;/Ochan ee, ochan ee.Some sitting, some slumbering,/Some dreaming and talking,/Saying the morning would be hard –/‘Do you think we can make it back?’ trans. Ian MacDonald.
[2] W. M. Hetherington, History of the Church of Scotland, from the Introduction of Christianity to the Period of the Disruption in 1843 (Robert Carter & Brothers: New York, 1856), 71.
[3] Finlay Macdonald, From Reform to Renewal: Scotland’s Kirk Century by Century (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2017), 167.
[4] Hildegard Warnink, ed., Legal Position of Churches and Church Autonomy (Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 2001), 143.
[5] Macdonald, 168.
[6] Ibid, 169.
[7] Ibid.
[8] William Steven, Heroes of the Faith: Short Studies in Christian Biography (Edinburgh: The Church of Scotland Youth Committee, 1952), 46.
[9] Ibid, 47.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid, 48.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid, 51.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid, 52.
[16] Keith M. Steven, Queen’s Park West Church of Scotland: A Centenary History (Glasgow: printed privately, 1967), 36.
[17] W. Steven, 53.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Macdonald, 169.
[20] Ibid.
[21] As with the union between the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church in 1900, in which a small minority of Free churches chose to remain distinct, so too did a small number of United Free churches, and these two ‘wee’ denominations have continued into the present. For example, when Candlish Memorial UF Church became Candlish Memorial Parish Church, a dissenting minority formed Candlish Wynd UF Church in Daisy Street, which still exists today.
[22] K. Steven, 30.
[23] P.R. Dodds and N.M. Donaldson (compilers), A Historical Record of Crosshill Queen’s Park Parish Church (Glasgow: printed privately, 1976), 5.
[24] K. Steven, 31.


Introduction
1. Our Early History
2. The Late 19th Century: a Period of Rapid Growth
3. Into the 20th Century
4. The Great War & its Aftermath
5. A Second World War
6. The Post-War Era
7. The Late 20th Century
8. The Millennium
9. Queen’s Park Govanhill
Conclusion: Beyond 150 at 170
Bibliography