Renfrew Trinity Church of Scotland
It seemed that the ensuing vacancy was going to be the shortest on record when, at a meeting of the vacancy committee held on 8th April 1928, it was agreed to ask the Reverend Joseph Gray of Junction Road U.F. Church, Leith to preach in Trinity as the sole nominee but, to their disappointment, Mr Gray withdrew his name.
The next candidate to be considered was the Reverend Richard Ross Robertson BD from Burghead on the Moray Firth, who was selected at a meeting of the vacancy committee held on 14th May. Mr Robertson preached in Trinity on Sunday 27th May and was unanimously elected by the congregation at a meeting held the following evening. The call was signed by 503 members and 45 adherents. His induction took place on 11th September 1928 and his stipend was £450 per annum.
From the beginning of his ministry in Trinity, Mr Robertson proved to be a man of vigour and determination, willing to use advertising to attract people to the Church. The large noticeboards, which displayed the topic of the following Sunday’s sermon, soon became a feature of the landscape and his Sunday evening musical services where he illustrated his subject by vocal or instrumental music proved to be very popular and attracted large congregations.
An addition was made to the communion plate of the church during the first year of Mr Robertson’s ministry when Mr and Mrs Tod gifted two silver salvers for use at Communion in memory of Mr Tod’s father, who had been an elder in the church for many years. These plates were first used on Sunday 9th December.
Another step towards union with the Church of Scotland had been taken when, at a Session Meeting on the 9th November 1927, the elders had agreed to the terms of the Uniting Act and at special meeting of the congregation held on 7th February 1929, the final step was taken towards the union. The following three points had been sent down by the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland for consideration by the congregations:
The majority were satisfied on all three counts and voted in favour of joining with the Church of Scotland.
February 1929 was obviously a month for decision making because a few days later the Session decided to allow whist drives to be held in the church halls while, at the Annual Business Meeting held on 21st, it was agreed that a special collection should be uplifted for the Benevolent Fund at Communion Services. At that same meeting it was decided that the newly published Church Hymnary should be brought into use in the following October. An organisation also had its birth at this time – the Dramatic Society. This group presented a range of plays in both the Church Hall and the Town Hall. As a result of the players’ efforts, the hard work and loyal support of the back stage workers and the generous support of the public, the club was able to hand over more than £300 to church funds as well as helping outside charities.
At a Congregational Meeting on 20th February 1930, the proposal to move the afternoon service to the later time of 6.30 p.m. was again discussed and it was decided to introduce this change as an experiment during the winter months. The need for additional hall accommodation had been apparent for some time and so, at the same meeting, it was agreed to go ahead with an extension scheme and another of Trinity’s dreams became a reality. To raise the necessary funds, a bazaar was held in Renfrew Town Hall on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th December 1930. This bazaar was very well supported by members and friends and the sum of £1600 was raised.
The newly extended halls were opened on Saturday 9th April 1932 by the Very Reverend Harry Miller CBE DD, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. With the additional hall accommodation, new organisations began to appear – the Gymnastic Club in May, the Men’s Club in June and, later in the same year, the Badminton Club. In 1931 the Woman’s Guild had been formed to replace the Ladies’ Work Party which had served the church so well in the past.
The first few years of the 1930s had brought a number of changes to Trinity and August 1932 brought news of another important one: Mr Robertson intimated to the Session that he had received a call from St. Clement’s Church, Aberdeen and because of ill health in his family he had decided to accept the call.
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