Our History, as Hawick Home Mission

 

Hawick Home Mission 1873-1943 - a History of the Mission read at the 70th Anniversary Celebrations, on 27th February 1943 by Archibald Jardine.

To try to summarise the seventy years’ work of a Mission such as this in a fifteen minutes’ talk is no easy matter, and I trust I may be pardoned if my summary exceeds the allotted time.  We can only make a panoramic survey of these years; consequently, some quite important events may be passed over.  It might be helpful to think of this little résumé as a little book of 5 chapters.  The title of the book would be “These seventy years: A Record of God’s Faithfulness.”  In order to be concise, there must of necessity be some overlapping, but we shall endeavour as far as possible to keep to the period under review in each chapter.

 

Chapter 1 covers the years 1873-1883.

Few, if any, of us have any recollection of events during this period, and we can only glean from records.  Not one of the men who laid the foundations so well, is now with us.  All have entered into their rest.  It will be profitable to recall the events which led to the inception of this work.  In December 1872, three young men met together in an upper room to pray for God’s blessing on Hawick.  Their names were John Beattie, Willie Miller and Tom Bell, more familiarly known to his friends as “Tammie.”  Tammie was sent to Galashiels by his prayer companions to invite Messrs Scroggie and Dunn to come to Hawick to conduct evangelistic services, but was unsuccessful.  Later Tammie was sent again, but was again refused.  He was deeply distressed, and, walking across the room to the mantelpiece, put his head on his arm and burst into tears, saying – “Must Hawick go to hell?”  Mr Dunn looked across at Mr Scroggie and said- “I don’t know what you have to say but I cannot now refuse to go to Hawick.”  Mr Scroggie agreed, and to Hawick they came.  At first only a handful attended the meetings, but ere long, the Exchange large hall was crowded, large overflow meetings being held in St. Mary’s Church.  For seventeen weeks the work went on; night after night men and women were brought to Christ.  Some time ago, a friend, speaking of this time, told me that many were convicted as they walked the streets, and the fear of God seemed to fall on the town.

At the close of the four months a meeting was held, presided over by Lord Polwarth.  At this meeting Mr Scroggie recommended the formation of a Home Mission.  All in favour were asked to meet in the Exchange small hall the following Saturday, 1st March 1873.  A deputation from Gala was present, and explained how their work was carried on.  Some discussion followed and it was unanimously decided to institute what has since been known as Hawick Home Mission.  Forty-six people intimated their desire to be enrolled as members.  A committee was duly elected, and the first office-bearers appointed were:- President, William Miller; vice-president, John Beattie; treasurer, Alex Thomline; secretary, John Fowler.  The membership grew apace, and the Home Mission became the centre of aggressive Christian work.  Messrs Scroggie and Dunn paid a second visit to the town, and it was during this visit that a large camp meeting was held at Netherhall on a Sunday afternoon, when about 2,000 people were present.  It was in June 1873, that Lord Polwarth first invited members of the Mission to spend the Common Riding Saturday at Mertoun House.  For many years this outing was held, and many of us still remember happy days spent in that delightful spot. 

A choir was formed, under the leadership of Mr Johnstone, and on his retrial the work was taken up by Mr George Young, who was called home only quite recently.  For ten years the work went on, the meetings being held in hired halls.  For the first few months only two weekly meetings were held- a gospel meeting on Thursday nights and a prayer meeting on Saturday nights.  The Sunday night gospel service was then started, and has continued without interruption up till the present time.  There are only two still alive who became members during this period- Miss Agnes Douglas and Mr Tom Young.  We congratulate them both on a notable record.

Chapter 2 covers the years 1883-1894.

It begins with the Old Year’s Night soiree, 1883, and covers the period up to 1894.  At the soiree in 1883, the question of building a new hall was brought up.  It received hearty support, and £50 was immediately promised towards the project.  A building committee was formed, and arrangements made to purchase Messrs Olivers’ old auction mart.  The public responded generously to the committee’s appeal, £451 being raised by public subscription.  The members raised £319 by a penny per week fund, and at Christmas 1890, £422 was realised from a sale of work.  The hall cost £1,300, the amount required being advanced when trustees were appointed, and when in 1894 the Home Mission came of age, not a penny of debt remained, and that, I believe, has been the happy position since.  We “owe no man anything but love.”  It is perhaps not unfitting that on the very spot where animals changed hands to the highest bidder, hundreds of men and women, “redeemed not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ,” have discovered the unspeakable joy of belonging to that company of whom the apostle wrote -“Ye are not your own; ye were bought with a price.”

So, the close of chapter 2 finds the workers established in their own hall, enjoying the blessing of God, winning men and women for Christ, exercising no little influence on the religious life of the community.

Chapter 3 covers the years 1894-1923

We observe that the first workers are being called home one by one, and by 1923 only four of the original committee of eleven were still alive.  As has been so truly said “God buries his workers, but carries on His work,” and we find new names appearing in the records.  Members went out from the ranks to become ministers and missionaries.  The first to go was Mr Thomas Peden, father of our esteemed friend, Mr Michael Peden, who is with us tonight.   He went as a missionary to Cardiff, but to the end of his days maintained a great interest in the welfare of Hawick Home Mission, taking part in the Jubilee celebrations.  We are glad, very glad, that his son carries on the tradition. 

Mr Robert Scott, also with us tonight, has also had along association with the Mission, and still carries on the good work in connection with Carrubers Close in Edinburgh.  Others who must be mentioned are Revs. Hugh Shannon, William Aird and H R Bell in Canada, and Rev T Anderson in Aberdeen.  Among missionaries we think of Mrs Wilkes, who quite recently wrote in reminiscence of her connection with the Mission, and Robert Porteous, who has done yeoman service for God in China. We have also sent out active workers from the younger generation- Rev and Mrs Robert Waugh in Corstorphine U F (Continuing) Church, and Rev. Hope Scott in Bowhill Baptist Church, not forgetting Mr and Mrs D Moyes, who have done splendid work in Bradford.  We have already referred to Mr George Young, who was choirmaster for many years.  Succeeding him in office were Mr George Scoon and Mr. R Nisbet.

Special evangelistic efforts have always been a feature of the work, and during this period many outstanding campaigns were conducted.  Amongst evangelists we find such names as Dr McKilliam of London, Mr Michael Peden, Rev Mark N Robson, Mrs Bayertz, Mr and Mrs Stewart Thompson, Pastor Fred Clark, and the Albatross Crew.  We have seen this hall filled night after night for several weeks at a time, whilst the Spirit of God moved mightily among us, many souls being born from above and God’s people brought into fuller life in Him.  That God would again visit us in like manner is the prayer of all our hearts.

Reference must also be made to the long and faithful service of Mr William Dinwiddie, who for some thirty-eight years guided the Mission’s financial affairs.  Resigning because of advancing years and indifferent health, he remained to the close of his life a true friend of the Mission. 

Apart from the regular services held in this hall, other activities were carried on by members.  Meetings were held in a Baker Street lodging house, on the Miller’s Knowes on Sunday afternoons in the summer, at Drumlanrig Home, at the Sanatorium, and in some of the hamlets of the surrounding district, various Committee men being responsible.  It was an experience not to be forgotten to be “hurled” up to Newmill in a cab, in company with, say, Mr William Elsdon or Mr Daniel Shannon, and the organist.  At that time there was no speed limit, and your one horse-power vehicle could race along a such a speed that the four miles were covered in about thirty-five minutes!

The war years, 1914-18, were difficult, but by the loyal co-operation of the members, the work was carried on.   As can be seen from the Roll of Honour in the vestibule, the young men connected with the Mission did their part in the fight for freedom, five giving their lives for their country.

The venue for the Common Riding picnic was now changed to Harden Glen, the company travelling by lorry.  Slow as this method of transport may seem to the modern mind, there is no gainsaying the fact that the outings were thoroughly enjoyed.  The Children’s meeting on the Sunday forenoon and the Christian Endeavour, two important parts of the work are still in good heart.

A feature of the Jubilee celebrations was the testimony given by numerous friends to the spiritual benefit derived from the fellowship here.  A photograph of the committee was taken, including Mr W D Dunn and Mr T Peden.  Of the twenty on the photo twelve have passed on, three are now out of town, and three are not now on the Committee.  Only two are still in harness – our worthy President, Mr A Waugh, and Mr Tom Miller, who for many years, was hall-keeper, carrying out his duties most satisfactorily.  What a soiree would be like without Tom’s help is better not to contemplate.

The Jubilee celebrations were great in the true sense of the word, marked by spiritual power and fervour, gratitude to God for His goodness pervading all the gatherings.  The two veterans, Mr. W D Dunn and Mr T Peden, were in great form.  The former was presented with his portrait in oils, painted by Mr James Tait, another of the Mission’s most faithful workers, who was president on sixteen occasions.  So closes an outstanding chapter in our history, bringing us to 1923.

Chapter 4 covers the years between 1923-1933

During these years the work went steadily on.  Evangelistic campaigns were conducted by various men, including Mr Walter Main, Mr. S. Carser, Mr Naish and Mr Jock Troup.  Short conventions were held for some years in the autumn, chaired by Mr R B Stewart of Glasgow, who arranged for outstanding speakers to be present.  Rev. Mr Farrow and Rev. Mr Oldham of Edinburgh, ministered with much acceptance, as did Dr. F B Myer, who, in spite of physical weakness, delivered searching addresses.  We were also privileged to have a visit from Rev. R B Jones, of South Wales Bible Training Institute, and Dr McIntyre of Glasgow B.T.I.  It is a great privilege to hear such a man, whom God has so signally honoured, but it also carries responsibility, and it is incumbent upon us to see to it that our lives show that we are not only hearers but doers of God’s word.

It was during this period that Mr William Miller resigned from the office of choir-master.  For twenty-five years, Mr Miller gave himself unsparingly to the work, his whole heart and soul being in it, ever endeavouring to give and to produce the very best.  Whenever young people made decision for Christ, Mr Miller was sure to be after them if they could sing at all, consequently, his choir was always full of bright, young life.  He was succeeded by Mr Justice, of whom we have more tto say in the next chapter.

Reference has already been made to Mr Dinwiddie’s long record as treasurer.  On his retiral he was succeeded by Mr George Bell, who was succeeded by Mr A. Waugh.  Mr Waugh seems to be an all-round man, having held almost every office there is, although as far as can be seen from the records, he has not yet been choir-master!  In 1931, Mr Waugh was succeeded as treasurer by Mr Tom Miller, jun., who has thus given twelve years capable service.  He guides our financial affairs with caution and discretion.   Another office filled at this time was that of corresponding secretary.  Mr William Johnstone undertook the duties and carried them out most conscientiously and successfully, and doubtless would still have been in office had he not been called to the Forces.

Of the eighteen members of committee photographed at the Diamond Jubilee in 1933, seven have passed to be with Christ.  Mr Waugh was president on that occasion, and Mr J Currie vice-president.  Seven still serve the Mission on committee – Mr T Miller sen., and Mr T Miller jun. ; Mr W Glendinning jun.; Mr Justice, Mr W Kerr, Mr W Johnstone and the President.  There are really eight if we include Mr James Haining, who has acted as auditor for many years.  At the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Mr Tait presented a framed inscribed roll to the Mission, giving the names of the presidents and vice-presidents since the institution of the Mission.   This hangs in the vestibule.  A handsome clock and barometer were presented to Mr and Mrs Tait in recognition of fifty years’ devoted service.  Several speakers brought greetings and good wishes to the Mission, and the choir sustained the musical part of the programme with their wonted excellence.

Chapter 5 covers the years 1933-1943.

The first of these years were years of quiet, plodding work, interspersed by special missions, conducted by Dr Lamb of Australia, Mr Ronald Barnes, Dr Sale Harrison and others.  In 1935 Mr Justice resigned from the choir, and was presented with an umbrella, as other great men have been.  Mr R Stenhouse was appointed successor, and filled the post with distinction until he was called up.  His musical ability and his fine tenor voice were consecrated to the service of Jesus Christ, and we are glad to know that in the Air Force he is finding opportunities of using his talents for Christ.  On his departure from Hawick there was nothing for it, but to turn once more to the veteran, Mr Justice, and he is deserving of our heartiest gratitude for his splendid work.  You can’t help putting your best into it with such a leader.  He is a good leader of a good choir.  He has composed and printed a hymn which will be sung tonight. 

In 1936 Mr William Turnbull, who was one of the first trustees of the Mission, was called home at a ripe old age.  In later years we have had visits from Dr Ironside of America, Mr Harold Wildish, Mr Hitman, Rev S Baxter, Dr Hay and Rev Mr Pinch.  Last weekend we had a memorable time with Pastor Matthews.  As our president said, it wasa fine preparation for this time of thanksgiving and gratitude, which,  we trust, will also be a time of re-dedication.

Mr Waugh was president at the fortieth, fiftieth, sixtieth, and is now at the seventieth anniversary - an eloquent testimony to his loyalty and devotion to God’s work in this place, and to the esteem in which he is held by his fellow members. 

Some of the activities previously mentioned have now ceased, but besides the Saturday and Sunday services, we still have Christian Endeavour meetings on Mondays, their Sunshine Committee doing much appreciated visitation of the sick, and a meeting on Thursdays, open-air services in summer, and meetings at Drumlanrig Home.  The Tract Society maintains its quiet but useful service, with Miss Waugh and Miss Oliver in control. 

In our survey more men than ladies have been referred to, but we do not forget the important part played by many ladies in our work.  Worthy of special mention are Miss Cavers, Miss J Waugh and Miss C Miller, who render such loyal and valuable help at the organ and piano.  Courtesy forbids that we should state how long Miss Cavers and Miss Waugh have helped in this way. 

Like all other communities, the Mission has felt the burden of the war, yet we have much to thank God for.  In spite of the black-out and other difficulties incidental to war-time conditions, we have maintained all our regular services, and we have had a succession of splendid speakers at weekends.  Once or twice we feared we might lose our hall, but God over-ruled.  During the first winter of the war we had several meetings for soldiers, which were well attended and much appreciated.  For the last two and a half years, the choir has gone to Stobs on alternate Sunday nights, and the singing of the gospel message during that time will surely not be in vain.  Many expressions of real appreciation have been heard from the men. 

Our young people have had to go at the country’s call.  David Miller, James Turnbull, John Waugh, Robert Wallace, Archie MacDonald, John Glendinning, George Hunter, Robert Stenhouse, Andrew Hogg, William Johnstone, J Jardine, Lilla Copeland, Ella Miller, Mary Glendinning, Jenny Turnbull and Margaret Hunter are all in the Forces; Bella Waugh in the Land Army; and Victor Kersley, Sam Meek, Neil Wintrope, Walter Glendinning, and Betty Glendinning in munition work.  How glad we are that everyone has been able to take their stand for Christ.  There have been no spiritual casualties.  Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with them.  God hasten the day of their return in peace.

So closes our little book, but we do not write “Finish” here.  Please God the work of the Mission shall go on till the Church of Christ is complete and He shall come to take His redeemed to Himself.  Then, freed from bodily limitations, we shall serve Him as we ought, for we shall see Him as He is.  Till then our watchword is “Forward!”

LOOKING UNTO JESUS.

 

OFFICE-BEARERS

1st March 1943

President … … … … … ... ... … … … Mr A Waugh

Vice-President … … … … … … … …Mr A Jardine

Treasurer … … … … … … … … …   Mr T Miller

Recording Secretary … … … … … … Mr W Miller

Corresponding Secretary … … … … .. Mr A Jardine

Choir-Master … … … … … … … … Mr C Justice

Organist … … … … … … … … … … Miss Cavers

 

Committee-

Messrs J. Johnstone, W Kerr, T Miller, sen., Wr Glendinning, jun., G Wintrope, R Lewis

 

This Day of Jubilee

Written by Mr C Justice and sung at the Celebration of the Seventieth Anniversary Service of the Hawick Home Mission, Saturday February 27th 1943

 

1. Eternal God of Love and Grace                               4. For all the saints gone on before

We meet to worship Thee                                             Who laboured faithfully

Grant us Thy blessing Lord we pray                           Our heartfelt thanks to Thee we give

This day of Jubilee.                                                         This day of Jubilee.

 

2. For all our absent ones who serve                           5. For every sinner saved by grace

In Air, on Land or Sea,                                                    And set at liberty

May they with us Thy blessing share                           Our Hallelujahs now ascend

This day of Jubilee.                                                         This day of Jubilee.

 

3. For blessings through these seventy years          6. To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

So manifold and free                                                     The Blessed Trinity,

Our Ebenezers here we raise                                       Be Thine the Glory, Thine alone

This day of Jubilee.                                                         This day of Jubilee.

 


Our History
Webpage icon Our History - Hawick Home Mission 1873 to 1985
Webpage icon Our History, as Hawick Baptist Church