Scripture says, in Isaiah Chapter 42 verse 16:
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them.”
I feel, as your Minister, a measure of inadequacy as we all face uncertain times.
Internationally, nationally, locally and as a city-centre church, we are confronted by uncertainty. Sometimes for a few of us, we may feel we are groping in the darkness, wondering how to move forward. God doesn’t always stand at a juncture and point the way. Does He ever? God is a guide, not a signpost. He walks with us, leading us down pathways we never envisioned. All we have to do is walk beside Him.
In the last few months there have been sorrows, catastrophes and opportunities for us as a church. With sorrow we have mourned the passing of some and sympathised with the continuing poor health of others. A few have evacuated their pews. We have scratched our heads and wrung our hands as the church’s heating system has proved itself vulnerable to break-down and costly repair. Similarly with some appliances in the kitchen. Genuinely, God bless the efforts of those who have undertaken responsibility to set these matters right.
And opportunities, what of these? What can we look forward to and enjoy?
The return to formal worship of those whose health is improving. A joy to welcome you back.
In spite of almost zero heating in the sanctuary, returning there each Sunday for worship.
The prayer corner, sadly not widely supported, but still regarded as an important and necessary part of our worship. Can we really expect the church to grow without a commitment to prayer? Communal prayer is of value.
The joy of seeing and listening to “new” contributors who read the Bible lesson or offer prayer for others.
Being able to sing without masks
Opportunities to offer or receive “Healing words.” Proverbs, a wonderful Old Testament book says, “Gracious words bring healing to the bones.” (Ch.16 v 24)
Simply put, encouragement buoys us for the challenges we encounter now or may meet in the future. If you doubt this, let me share with you a report I read recently. A simple experiment exposed volunteers to a skin allergen. They itched. Two groups where isolated. One received positive encouragement from health care workers. The other didn’t. Patients who received encouragement had much less discomfort and itching than their counterparts.
I appeal to you. Please take time or even make time to be an encourager to those you haven’t seen at church for a while. A cheery word in person or on the phone or via an email or a message or even via a little card, may be all they need. Your encouraging word may be the catalyst for healing that would make a timely difference for good. Very few of us can do much. Surely most of us can do a little to cheer and reassure others.
God bless you
Dundee Congregational Church
WARD CHAPEL WW1 BRONZE MEMORIAL PLAQUE
(HANGING BEHIND THE GRAND PIANO)
DEDICATED ON 21st JANUARY 1921
Mrs. Karen Mitchell has very kindly and meticulously researched and compiled a record of the 29 young men, members of Ward Chapel, who tragically lost their lives during WW1. The aged plaque commemorating these courageous men, some little more than boys, is difficult to read now but I report their names and family details for our understanding of the suffering their families endured.
(excerpts from Dundee Advertiser 24th January 1921
“The memorial was unveiled by Colonel J.B. Muir DSO. and was designed by Charles G. Soutar, FRIBA who was a member of the congregation. The Dedication Service was conducted by the Rev. W. Major Scott who poignantly preached from the text “For what purpose is this waste?” The names inscribed on the bronze memorial would, he said , shine for future generations long after we had gone, with undiminished lustre, while far from the homeland their deeds would hallow the ground redeemed by their priceless devotion. Solemnly and reverently Colonel Muir drew aside the flags which veiled the plaque and read the inscription and names of the fallen: “To the Glory of God and in memory of the following men of the congregation who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918.”
A special evening service was conducted by Mr. Scott whose words resonate with all of us who know the reality of what was to come. His words were “......... the first charge upon us as a nation was the charge of the men who were maimed and broken by the war. If we had any consciences, any sense of honour or decency, these men must ever have first claim. It was said there were thousands of unemployed ex-servicemen at the present moment and if that were true it ought to make our sleep impossible until it was remedied. Our duty to the dead and living, however, could only be fulfilled as we ourselves strived to make secure the things for which they offered their all – freedom, truth, justice, righteousness, and the fulfillment of the law of love”.
E.M.C`s Footnote: this was supposed to be the “War to end all wars” and it is heart-breaking to face up to the fact that we, as human beings, have learned nothing and man`s inhumanity to man is so much in evidence to this very day over one hundred years later in May 2022.
SOME DETAILS FROM OUR POIGNANT ROLL CALL
(with ages where given)
ABERNETHY, Robert Steel : Private (781004) Canadian MGC, DOD 1st November 1918
killed in action, France. Parents: Mr. & Mrs. Henry Abernethy, 61 Lochee Road, Dundee.
BEGG, Arthur: Captain, Norfolk Regiment, 2/5 Battalion, DOD 21st March 2018, age 38
killed in action in France. Parents: David & Eliza Begg, 8 Adelaide Place, Dundee.
BLACK, Alexander Macdonald: Private 272nd Mechanical Transport Company attached to Heavy Artillery, Australian Corp. DOD 18th May 1918. Buried in France
Parents: David & Annie Black, 4 Lytton Street, Dundee.
BROWN, Aitken: Captain, Black Watch 1/6 Battalion. DOD 24th April 1918 age 27. “Died of wounds in France in the act of rallying his men in a stiff engagement when he was struck by a bullet.” Parents : John & Isabella Brown, 34 Thomson Street, Dundee.
BURRY, William Malloch: Private/Rifleman (373490), London Regiment (Post Office Rifles). DOD 6th March 1917 age 36. Killed in action in Belgium. Parents: Mr. & Mrs. William M. Burry, 10 Mollison Street, Dundee.
Wife: Margaret Burry (nee Warden) 141 Clepington Road, Dundee.
CAMERON, James Nichol Campbell: Private (288110) Canadian Machine Gun Corps, DOD 10th November 1917, age 32. Killed in action in Belgium. “He had only been at the front for 2 weeks.” Parents: James & Jemima Cameron, 1 Dallfield Terrace, Dundee.
DAVIE, Charles S: Signaller Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1st Battalion. DOD 2nd June 1917, age 21
Killed in action in France. Parents: Mr. & Mrs. John Davie, 45 Commercial Street, Dundee.
ESPLIN, David: Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Pembroke. DOD 6th March 1916 age 31. Died in Yorkhill War Hospital, Glasgow.. Parents: David & Mary Esplin, formerly of Lochee, 50 Dundrennan Road, Langside, Glasgow.
GEDDES: John Henderson: Private (202596 Seaforth Highlanders 4th Batt (attached 6th Battalion). DOD 9th April 1917 age 29. Killed in action in France. Parents: James & Helen Geddes, Dalhousie Terrace, Dundee.
Wife: Edith Geddes, 31 Westbury Avenue, Wood Green, London.
GIBSON, John Morgan: Private (40987) Kings Own Scottish Borderers 6th Battalion (formerly Musketry Instructor). Sergeant: (1782) Fife & Forfar Yeomanry), DOD 20th September 1917, age 22. Reported missing in Belgium. Parents: Robert & Nancy Gibson, 79 Clepington Road, Dundee.
HARRINGTON,, Charles Daniel: Sapper (69995), Royal Engineers, 15th Field Company. DOD 15th March 1916. Died of wounds in France.
Parents: Joseph & Agnes Harrington, 64 Appin Road, Alexandria, Glasgow.
Grandfather: David Gray, wine merchant, Polepark, Dundee.
ISLES, Robert: (Guardsman) Private (15048), Scots Guards, 1st Battalion. DOD 14th October 1917 age 20. Killed in action by a bomb dropped from a German aeroplane in Belgium. His company officer wrote “He was buried yesterday in a cemetery close at hand and you can rest assured that his grave will be well looked after”. Parents: James & Mary Isles, 153 Lochee Road, Dundee.
KERR, James: Second Lieutenant Highland Light Infantry 4th Batt (attached to 16th Battalion) DOD 1st July 1916, age 25. Killed in action in France. The Major of his battalion wrote “Your son`s Company, “A” was the directing one in the main attack in the battle of the Somme, and he was last seen gallantly leading his platoon into the enemy trenches. What actually happened in the trenches we cannot say as no-one came back.. Parents: James & Jeannie Kerr, 3 Wellgate, Dundee.
LAWSON, Peter: Saddler (539), Scottish Horse, 3rd Battalion. DOD 4th November 1915
age 21. Killed in action at Gallipoli. Parents:: Archibold & Alice Lawson, 1 Errol Terrace, Victoria Road,Dundee.
LEIGHTON, David Ferrier: (Guardsman) Private (13125) , Scots Guards, 1st Battalion. DOD 30th March 1916, age 23. Killed in action during an enemy bombardment, Belgium. He had six months of active service. Parents: Margaret Leighton, 24 Garland Place, Dundee.
LOW, Alexander Sturrock: Second Lieutenant, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), 10th Battalion. (originally joined the 16th Canadians as a Lance Corporal. DOD 23rd June 1917, age 28.
Died of wounds in Belgium. Parents: Mr. & Mrs. H.D. Low, 7 Rosewood Terrace, West Park Road, Dundee.
MacDONALD , Jack (John): Private (40813) Argylll & Sutherland Highlanders, 2nd Battalion.
DOD 3rd October 1918, age 35 in France. Parents: John & Kate MacDonald, Isle of Skye.
McDOUGALL, David: Able Seaman (Clyde Z/3497), Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Hawke Battalion, R.N. Div. DOD 31st August 1916, age 19. Died of wounds in France. “He had been dangerously wounded about the back and legs and one of his legs had been amputated”. David & Margaret McDougall, 7 Rosefield Street, Dundee.
McBURNEY, Tom: Private (105993) Machine Gun Corps, 75th Company. DOD 9th September 1917, age 25. Killed in action in Belgium. Parents: William & Grace McBurney, Constitution Terrace,Dundee.
McGILL, Alfred John: Private (8/201266) Rifle Regiment, 2/10th Battalion, London Regiment. DOD 21st September 1918, age 26. Reported missing but killed in action.
Parents: John & Margaret McGill, 6 Tulloch Crescent, Dundee.
McINTOSH, James: Private (20823), Royal Scots , 12th Battalion. DOD 25th April 1918. Reported missing. Parents: James & Elizabeth McIntosh, 4 Morgan Street, Dundee.
PEARSON, Robert: Private (1391) Gordon Highlanders, 2nd Battalion. DOD 25th September 1915. age 19.
Killed in France and Lieut. George H McDonald wrote to his parents:-
“I regret to have to inform you of your gallant son`s death, and I hasten to convey to you the sympathy of all of us who are left in his platoon. He fell near my side. We had just captured the second German line trenches and had sprung into the trench. The retreating Germans were playing upon us a heavy artillery and rifle fire. A few seconds after entering the trench your son was hit and killed instantaneously. We were wearing smoke helmets. For a minute I thought he had been gassed and had fallen, but the bullet had passed through his head. He never uttered a word and suffered not at all.
Twenty-four hours later we were relieved, and returned for a rest to the trench where he fell. We found his body and on the Sunday morning we reverently buried him, those doing so being exposed to snipers` fire.
Parents: Robert & Janet Pearson, 47 Loons Road, Dundee.
Robert had two other serving brothers, William & Alexander.
POTTER, Alexander: Sergeant (6863), Black Watch, 1/7 Battalion. DOD 31st October 1916, age 24. Killed in action in France by an explosion of a shell over the post where he was in charge.
Wife: Maggie Potter, 49 Victoria Road, Dundee.
RATTRAY, Robert Jamieson: (Clyde Z/287) Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Drake Battalion, R.N. Div. DOD 18th December 1915. age 21. Died in Alexandria 15th General Hospital, Egypt, of enteric fever.
and his brother:-
RATTRAY, James Milne: Sergeant (345264), Black Watch, 14th Battalion (formerly in the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry). DOD 6th November 1917. age 30. Killed in action Israel/Palestine.
Parents of both young men: Charles & Mary Rattray, 2 Prospect Place, Broughty Ferry.
( To lose one son in Egypt and the other one in Israel was very cruel indeed. )
SHAND, Charles Alexander: Private (13037), Scots Guards, 1st Battalion. DOD 6th March 1917 age 22. Died of wounds at a Casualty Clearing Station, France.
Parents: Robert & Jessie Shand, 30 Benvie Road, Dundee.
SIMPSON, Andrew Kay Gordon: Lance Corporal (S/18218), Gordon Highlanders, 3rd Battalion.
DOD 30th November 1918, age 21. Died of pneumonia following influenza, Dundee War Hospital.
The Dundee & Angus Foodbank Staff in Dunsinane Avenue have expressed sincere gratitude for our contributions to their collection depot so please continue to bring donations of non-perishable goods for the box in the Welcome Hall. We are very grateful to Brian Flynn for delivering these on our behalf as this is a never-ending need throughout the entire year.
How to stay safe in the world today
Avoid riding in cars, because they are responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents.
Do not stay at home, because 17% of all accidents occur in the home.
Avoid walking on streets or pavements, because 14% of all accidents happen to pedestrians.
Avoid travelling by air, rail or water, because 16% of all accidents involve these forms of transport.
Of the remaining 33%, 32% of all deaths occur in hospitals. So above all else avoid hospitals.
You will be pleased to learn that only 0.001% of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these are usually related to previous physical disorders. Therefore logic tells us that the safest place for you to be at any given point in time is at church!
And Bible study is safe too. The percentage of deaths during Bible study is even less.
So, attend church, and read your Bible. IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE !
(from A Basket of Gems” compiled by Mark Stibbe)
SOME ANAGRAMS TO BRING A LITTLE SMILE TO LIFT OUR SPIRITS
PRESBYTERIAN A DECIMAL POINT
becomes: Best in Prayer becomes: I`m a dot in place
ELEVEN PLUS TWO SNOOZE ALARMS
becomes: Twelve plus one becomes: Alas! No more Zs
ELECTION RESULTS THE MORSE CODE
becomes: Lies – let`s recount becomes: Here come dots
THE EYES DESPERATION
becomes: They see becomes: A Rope ends it
SLOT MACHINES ANIMOSITY
becomes: Cash lost in me becomes: Is no amity
THE EARTHQUAKES DORMITORY
becomes: That queer shake becomes: Dirty Room
ASTRONOMER GEORGE BUSH
becomes: Moonstarer becomes: He bugs Gore
AND THE VERY BEST TO FINISH
(Thank you to Alan & Chris for this - word puzzlers could find these very useful! )