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Chapter Eleven

Chapter 11

The Centenary and Beyond


The year 1962 was a busy one for Trinity Church. In preparation for the centenary celebrations the church, the Session House and the corridors were redecorated. With the money left over from the special fund, chairs were purchased to replace the forms in the large hall. A special visitation of the congregation was carried out by the minister and, in addition, volunteers from the congregation visited the 1500 homes in the parish. At a special service, conducted by Professor William Tindal OBE DD on Sunday 2nd September, a number of gifts which had been given to mark the centenary were dedicated. They included a plaque inscribed with the names of all the ministers of Trinity Church, new seats for the choir, alms dishes and new Bibles for the pulpit and communion table. Later that week, the centenary social was held in the church while on the Friday the Preparatory Service for the special Communion Services was conducted by the Reverend James A. Rule of Rutherford Memorial Church, Renfrew. On the Sunday, the Reverend W. Sinclair Armstrong was assisted by his two immediate predecessors, the Reverend Sidney Adamson and the Reverend William Barclay.

Later in the year the Sunday School, which had now three hundred and fifty two children, fifty seven teachers and eighteen monitors, held a Centenary Sale of Work. Mr McNeil, Head Teacher of Kirklandneuk Primary School opened the event which was attended by 650 people. That summer seven double-decker buses, costing £9 each to hire, took two hundred and fifty children and one hundred and fifty adults to Troon for the Sunday School’s annual trip. Children and monitors were charged 4/-, the teachers 5/6 and the adults 7/-.

Early in 1963, nearly three hundred copies of Mr A.M. Ferguson’s book “A History of Trinity Church” were printed, collated and made available to members and friends of the congregation who must have enjoyed reading about what had happened in Trinity during the church’s first hundred years.

In September 1963, a letter from the Church’s offices in Edinburgh was read out to the Session. It was asking that all congregations which had not already adopted the 1931 Quoda Sacra or Model Constitution should “carefully consider the advisability of adopting that constitution”. A Special Congregational Meeting was held to consider this matter. Mr Armstrong gave a brief outline of the background to the U.P. Constitution and explained the main differences between this and the Model Constitution. It was agreed that a simplified version of the Model Constitution should be made available to all members and a sub-committee of the Session should be set up “to look into the working and operation of the Model Constitution”. After further discussion, it was agreed to keep the status quo.

In October of the same year the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Reverend J. S. Stewart, visited Renfrew. He attended a public meeting in the Town Hall and a reception in the Council Chambers. Later that month Mr E. G. Murray from Kenya was invited to preach to the congregation. It is interesting to note at this time that Trinity had two missionary partners – Miss Guy in West Pakistan and Miss Munro in Blantyre, Nyassaland.

We start the story of 1964 with the following extract from the Woman’s Guild Minutes for 26th January: “After haggis, tatties and neeps, the Rev J. Rule gave us an entirely different Immortal Memory. We went with Burns and his friends around Ayrshire and on to Edinburgh. Mr Rule took us there with his coloured slides and, as we went, we were told of what had happened in the different places”.

Also in this month Mr Armstrong began training classes for the staff of the Sunday School. He said: “The sincerity and example of the teachers is of prime importance. The Sunday School is primarily a channel to full church membership and therefore an example is important”.

A special Session Meeting was called on May 27th 1964 at which it was announced that, at the end of April, the congregational account had shown a deficit of more that £500. It was recommended that members should be approached directly and asked for 10/- each and an increase of 25% in their giving. The elders would take round envelopes for donations to all members when they visited their districts with communion cards (using their discretion in the case of pensioners and less affluent members) and the managers would collect these envelopes at a later date. By September of that year, £420 had been raised by this direct appeal although there was no apparent increase in the weekly offerings. It was agreed to “keep this matter before the congregation”. The treasurer appealed again for the elders to show an example by taking out Bonds of Annuity.

Mr Armstrong had been invited by the Committee of Inter-Church Relations to go to America on a preaching tour that summer. Because he was going to be away for more than six weeks, the Reverend James A. Rule of Rutherford Memorial Church was appointed as Interim-Moderator and Reverend Ainslee McIntyre of Trinity College was to undertake pulpit supply for the whole period.

At a Session Meeting on 3rd February 1965, a decision was taken that the elders in future should distribute the elements to the congregation and a box was put in the vestibule for donations towards the new equipment and a new storage cabinet for the plates and trays.

The congregation also agreed about this time that a suspended ceiling should be installed in the large hall. The Preses indicated that the fabric fund was healthy enough to meet the outlay but it was hoped that the organisations would contribute to the cost. The Sunday School, for example, decided to hold a Sale of Work and a total of £197 was handed over for this purpose.

Meanwhile, a more far reaching decision had been taken. At the request of the minister, a special meeting of the Session was called on Thursday 24th March 1966. Mr Armstrong informed the elders that, after eleven years at Trinity, he had accepted an invitation to preach on 14th April as sole nominee at St. Marnock, Kilmarnock. He was called to the charge and was inducted on Wednesday 15th June 1966.

The Reverend William MacPherson, assistant at St. James’ Pollock, was appointed locum tenens in the vacancy and the Reverend James Logan, Martyrs’ Memorial, Paisley was appointed Interim Moderator. By 26th June the congregation was ready to appoint a vacancy committee and the stipend for the new ministry was fixed at £1250 plus £150 travelling expenses.

Seven ministers were heard before the whole vacancy committee visited Montrose and, at a meeting on the 27th November, they submitted the name of Gilbert Drummond of St. Luke’s and St. John’s Church, Montrose as sole nominee. The Reverend Gilbert Drummond was inducted on Wednesday the 18th January 1967 and a social was held on the Friday of that week to welcome Mr and Mrs Drummond to Trinity.

To enable Mr Drummond to meet as many of the congregation as early as possible, a series of social evenings were held. These proved popular with 80% of members taking up their invitations. Another innovation was the Senior Members’ Social Evenings. Initially, a concert was to be held for members of the congregation aged seventy or over. Sixty members accepted the invitation and thereafter senior members were invited to dinners, film shows, slide shows and musical evenings. These proved so popular that for a while they were held four or five times a year.

One feature of the church today dates from this first year of Mr Drummond’s ministry – the congregational magazine, “Trinity Topics”, which was produced on a new duplicator bought for the purpose. Also in 1967 the Session agreed to have, for the first time, a Christmas tree in the church for the Christmas Services.

The start of 1968 saw a visitation by elders to forty-eight homes to encourage members who had not been attending regularly. This proved so successful that it was suggested that the exercise should be repeated every two years.

To the delight of the office bearers and the congregation, Professor William Barclay DD was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1969 New Year’s Honours List and congratulations were sent to him from Trinity Church.

Mr Drummond’s health was giving cause for concern and, in July 1969, he was granted leave of absence until the end of October. The Reverend Alexander McLachlan was appointed Interim Moderator and the Reverend William Muir, minister emeritus of Paisley Wallneuk Church was to be locum tenens. When Mr Drummond took up his duties again, the Session looked for ways of reducing his workload. It was suggested that elders would do sick visiting in their own districts and pass on to the minister the names of those for whom a visit from the minister was really necessary although Mr Drummond would do all the hospital visiting himself. Some of the elders agreed to assist the Minister by reading the scripture lessons.

For a Special St. Andrew’s Day Appeal every member received a leaflet and an envelope with their copy of “Trinity Topics”. Each was asked to give the equivalent of one day’s pay to Christian Aid. The congregation responded generously and a total of £130 was forwarded to Edinburgh for Christian Aid. In 1973, collectors went out in Renfrew during Christian Aid Week for the first time and the organisers were encouraged when the total collected reached £600.

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