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Chapter Five

The Role of Women


Women had no official role in the Church of Scotland until deaconesses were commissioned in 1935. In 1949 women graduates of divinity could preach but not be ordained. It was in 1968 that Mary Levison became the first woman to be ordained as a minister. In 2004, Dr Alison Elliot became the first woman to be Appointed as Moderator of the General Assembly. She was not a minister but an elder, the first to hold this post since the 16th century.

In 1945 a proposal to admit women as elders was submitted by the presbyteries for discussion by congregations. In Kenmure, the Kirk Session unanimously voted against and the congregational vote was - for - 19, against - 46. This rejection was the result throughout Scotland and it was 1966 before the first women elders were ordained. It was 1990 before Kenmure followed suit.




Women Elders

The Church of Scotland's first women elders were ordained in 1966 following the General Assembly's decision to allow women into the Eldership. Kenmure's first women elders - Mary Houston, Ruth James and Myrette Cowan were ordained in February 1990 during Mr Crawford's time as minister.

At the next ordination in August 1990, Moira Calderwood, Evelyn Glasgow and Helen Steven joined the Session. I myself was ordained in 1994. The next ladies to be ordained were Helen Kidd, Aileen Watkins and Wilma Cox in 1996. In 2002 Jacqueline Murray and Rebecca Wallace were welcomed to the Session. Most recently in 2005 Christine Cameron and Lesley Shaw were ordained as elders.

A distinctive characteristic of the elder's role is his or her position as a channel between the congregation and the minister and an important part of the elder's role is to identify pastoral concerns. Each of us has different gifts and by God's grace the gifts that women can bring to the work of the Session will be of benefit to the life of the Church.

I have enjoyed working as part of a team along with the other members of the Session in helping to make decisions which will help shape the future of Kenmure.

In my role as elder I particularly enjoy and consider important the contact with the folk in my district, and am grateful to God for the many friends I have made along the way. I also have enjoyed keeping contact going between the Church and those of our folk who can no longer attend due to illness or infirmity.

I believe that allowing women into the eldership was a right and wise decision and that the mixture of men and women on Kenmure Session has proved successful. Hopefully Kenmure will continue to ordain young women along with young men to eldership in order to help secure the future of our Church.


Jennifer McLennan


Although women had no official role in the church they were the backbone for the provision of finance through fundraising, they contributed to the maintenance of the buildings and they tirelessly supplied home baking and tea. Twenty three of the fifty three signatories of the petition to found Bishopbriggs United Presbyterian Church, in 1879, were women. They were members of the first choir formed in 1893 and several ladies from the congregation set up a committee to raise funds to honour Mr Dick by providing him with his robes. These ladies also supplied and served the tea on the occasion of the presentation of the robes on November 16th 1893. They were Mrs Dick, Steven and Black, the Misses Bell, Gourlay and McBride.

During the 1930s a Ladies Work Party met every week. They sold the goods which they made until they had enough to contribute items required for the church. They raised enough to renew the matting throughout the church, the choir platform, the pulpit and the pulpit stairs.




Woman's Meeting

In the 1920s the Women's Meeting began. This was a weekly gospel and devotional meeting with speakers and singing. They met at 2.30pm one Wednesday and 7.30pm the next.

They also raised funds for the church donating their collection money annually, holding sales of work and giving the proceeds from concerts. In 1945 they raised £139.5.0, [£139.25p] and again in 1951 the sum of £237.50 for the Endowment Fund. In 1966 they gave £35 to the Organ Fund. Well known names were on the committee in the 1960s; Mrs Gray, Owen and Reid. The minister was chairman of their meetings, Mr Heriot being the last before the demise of this stalwart organisation in 1966.

They also had annual outings.


First outing to Rouken Glen Park 1920s


Helensburgh 1930s




Women's Guild

A branch of the Woman's Guild was formed in Kenmure in 1951. It met on a Monday night at 7.30pm in the Williamson Hall.






The women folk in Bishopbriggs ance
tired got o' the same auld faces.
They threatened tae kick richt ower the traces
so somebody started the Womans' Guild.

There's Devotions, Worship and Praise,
and aye a need o' cash tae raise
but wi' guid hardworkin' committee
It's nae bother for the WG.

Noo ance a week they a' foregather
The hoose an family are left wi' faither,
And mum sets aff for the WG
in a hall like this in a' kinds o' weather.

We're indispensable, is that no' a fact
Even the elders will agree tae that
If they want someone tae make the tea
Wha dae the ask? Of course the WG.





The Woman's Guild was formed in 1887 by Dr Archibald Charteris of Whamfray, Dumfriesshire. Kenmure Church had a Ladies Fellowship which met on Wednesday afternoons in the manse under the leadership of the minister Mr Williamson. In 1950 it was decided to form a branch of the Woman's Guild in Kenmure. Founder members were Margaret Gray, Ann Penman, C. Dawson, E. Kidd and Elizabeth McDowall. Sadly all these ladies have passed away. They all did admirable work for the Church and the Armed Forces.

In 1975, 1990 and 2001 we celebrated our silver, ruby and golden anniversaries. In 2005 a Long Service Certificate from the National Committee was presented to Mrs McDowall by our President, Doreen Jobson. Sadly she passed away a month later at the wonderful age of 105, housebound but still active.

We in Kenmure, together with other branches in Glasgow, support the Lodging House Mission helping to prepare vegetables for soup, then serving lunch. It's not only men but also women who go there to enjoy a warm meal, shower and clothing. It is an experience we have all been moved by.

Over the years the National Committee have set up annual projects which we support. In 1997/98 the Woman's Guild changed its name to Church of Scotland Guild. Projects now last 3 years covering 6 different organisations. The present six come to an end in May 2006 and £490,000 has been raised so far. The Guild in Kenmure is still going strong. Hopefully we uphold our motto 'Whose we are and whom we serve'. We would love to welcome more, not only ladies but men also. We have a very big hall. Our present President is Doreen Jobson and Vice-president, Margaret Forbes both of whom are very devoted to the work of the Guild and Church.


Rena James




From the beginning they worked hard to raise funds by having concerts and sales of work. This continued through the years and many of the furnishings and refurbishments of the church, halls and manses were donated by them yet when they started they brought china from home when they had a speaker. It was 1964 before official blue and white Guild china was purchased.

They also supported other church organisations giving to the BB, Girls' Guildry, Junior Choir, Life Boys and the Primary Sunday School while in the wider world they gave to the Temperance Association, Baxter House C of S Home for the Elderly, Tabatha School, Jaffa, the Deaconess Bursary Fund and the Ladies Highland Association amongst others.

They also held work parties where they made goods for those less fortunate and over the years donated hundreds of blankets, mittens, capes, bed socks and other items to Foresthall, Eastpark Home, Stobhill Hospital and the Lodging House Mission. From 1971 members have helped out at the Lodging House Mission soup kitchen. They also cared about the outside world and collected for Foreign Missions. Margaret Gray was the correspondent with our Missionary Partners, Alice Jones then later Helen Scott in Zambia and their work was always a concern.

Whenever catering was called for the members baked and served. They have provided tea and coffee after every Annual Congregational Meeting and catered on the occasion of the opening, in 1987, of the New Hall. When for several years in the 1970s there was no church officer they provided work parties to carry out the cleaning of the church and halls.



Mr Williamson with
Back Row: Margaret Gray, Mrs MacLean, Jessie McAllister, Mrs McIntyre, Jean Wright, Mrs Owen, Mrs Davies
Centre Row: Bella Cowan, Mona Burnett, Jenny Burnett, Mary Penman, Ann Penman
Front Row; Mary Maclean, Marion Penman, Moira Gray


Indian Road was presented in 1953 but it was 1965 before Kenmure Drama Group was formed from members of the Guild and a nativity play was performed in December. They ventured out with another offering in the Memorial Hall, Balmuildy Road, in March 1966. This was followed by a presentation depicting 'People from Other Countries' for Foreign Mission Night in Kenmure Hall when the members of Springfield Woman's Guild attended.

Still going strong on Friday, 5th December 1969, again in the Memorial Hall, they performed a three act play, 'Find the Girl' produced by Harry Trott. As can be seen from the programme below there were many well known actresses in the cast.




In 1982 a Guild Choir was started by Gladys King on Wednesdays at 2.30pm.

The Silver Jubilee dinner was held in Brackenbrae House 1976 when founder member Elizabeth McDowall cut the cake assisted by two other founders, Margaret Gray and Mrs McFarlane.

In appreciation of the help from the Guild in setting up their group the Young Wives Group donated the cake and also a bell to bring the meeting to order. Audrey Heriot, a former president, presented them with a hymn book.


When Kenmure celebrated the Centenary of the Founding of the Congregation several members of the Woman's Guild became models at a Fashion Through the Ages presentation arranged by Grace Kinniburgh. It was held in Kenmure Hall on Monday 22nd October.


Betty Ferguson


Betty Bowles and Liz Patterson

On many occasions across the years they hosted the Women's World Day of Prayer at Kenmure Church and were honoured to do so in 1987 the Centenary year of the Church of Scotland Woman's Guild. In April a Centenary Dinner was held with 65 members past and present attending. Mr Jones proposed the toast and Mrs McDowell helped by President, Nonagh Bell cut the cake. Rena James, Vice-President, presented Mr and Mrs Jones with a table lamp for their new home.

1991 saw them celebrate their Ruby Year with a dinner. In 1997 it was decided that the organisation should have a new look and the name was changed, after much discussion and debate to The Church of Scotland Guild. The new constitution meant that they no longer sent delegates to the boards of World Mission, National Mission or Social Responsibility.

Men were now encouraged to attend meetings. 2004 was their Golden Jubilee in the year when Ruth Laing was President. A dinner was held and an exhibition of past occasions was mounted bringing back many memories to members.




50th Birthday - Guild Committee: 2001


Evelyn Glasgow, Sheila Allison, Giselle McGarvey, Margaret Thomson, Maureen Brownlie, Helen Cranston, Marion Inglis, Martha Boyd, Doreen Jobson, Ruth Laing, Rena James.




Aim of The Guild

The Church of Scotland Guild is a Movement which unites and encourages members to commit their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and enable them to express their faith, in Worship, Prayer and Action.

The Kenmure Guild goes from strength to strength, still helping good causes, giving spiritual support as well as practical to members and enjoying a varied programme of speakers, discussions and entertainments throughout each session.




The Young Wives and Mothers Group

This was formed in 1969 and received a great deal of help and support from the Woman's Guild. They met every 2nd Tuesday in the Viewfield Hall at 7.45pm. The syllabus shows a wide scope of interest with speakers ranging from The Society for the Protection For the Unborn Child, photography, hypnotism, the Open Prison Governor as well as a display by Sandra, a then fashionable shoe shop in Churchill Way. They also sang carols at Stobhill Hospital.



A happy group at Kenmure Young Wives' coffee morning at Schoolfield Lane. Councillor William McIntyre joins his daughter, Jean and others, including Jessie Carlisle with Catriona Campbell on her knee. 1975

They continued to keep up-to-date with talks in the '70s on decimalisation, the Common Market and Fashion on a Budget.

After the Billy Graham Mission in June 1991 five ladies who wanted to make a commitment to Christ, enquired further about becoming a Christian or rededicating their lives to God decided to set up a Discovery Group to support one another and to learn together. The evening consisted of prayer, Bible study and discussion. Two new members joined Kenmure as a result. The group grew to 12 members and they met fortnightly.

A Mothers and Toddlers Group began in 1988 at the instigation of Shirley Crawford, the then minister's wife. It met on a Wednesday morning from 10-11.30 am in the foyer of the New Hall. It allowed mothers with children under school age to meet with others and exchange ideas while the children played together. Through a Beeline Clothes sale they raised £100 for the Ronald McDonald House attached to Yorkhill Hospital which provided facilities for families whose children are having treatment. In 1996 there were 26 mums and 30 children. The tragedy of the Dunblane shooting, in April 1996, saw them hold a special prayer meeting and a collection was taken for the appeal.

In 2000 it became Kenmure Toddlers' Group and childminders or grandparents were made welcome. Over the years they have raised money for meningitis research, the British Heart Foundation amongst other charities and have contributed £150 to the Church Creche.

This is one of two other services run mainly by the women of the church. So that parents can attend church together a cr¸che was set up during the morning service in 1964 with teams of volunteers who entertain their young charges in the Session House. This means that if there is a problem a parent can easily be contacted. Toys have been donated over the years and from time to time a plea goes out for replacements.

In 1989, while Stewart Crawford was minister, the idea that tea and coffee should be made available after the morning service so that people could meet other members in an informal setting was mooted. Seven teams of volunteers were recruited on a rota basis. This popular service, under the stewardship of Moira Calderwood, has to date raised more than £3,500 for church funds from the donations given by members, many of whom also donate biscuits.




Banners

Shirley Crawford, in 1989, set up a group to make banners for display in the church and hall at appropriate times of the Christian Year. They consist of a length of fabric with felt words and pictures and were designed by Ian Thomson.

They also include embroidery and depict the Word of God. In 1990 they were displayed at Raising Standards in Renfield Church Centre, Bath St, Glasgow. Two were exhibited in St Mathew's Church of Scotland, Perth in 1992. New banners are being created for the Centenary.

Several ladies in 1980 volunteered for service at the Marie-Curie Centre, Huntershill, They served teas in the wards, washed up, arranged and watered flowers, helped with hairdressing and manicures. Some acted as drivers. In 1991, Vi Crichton thanked supporters in Kenmure for raising £500 for the Hospice. Teams are still active today.

Maggie Johnston and Sandra McSporran formed a Women's Fellowship which was held on Monday mornings from 10-11.30am. They studied the Bible, prayed, invited speakers and watched videos about family life. A creche for pre-school children was offered.

A team of fifteen ladies under the convenorship of Shirley Crawford, in 1989 set up a church cleaning rota. Margaret Simpson carried on the good work until 2000 when an outside firm was contracted to do it.

Flowers have always played a part in decorating the church and afterwards are sent to the elderly, the sick and the bereaved. In 1926 members were asked to donate flowers from their gardens. Mrs Farquharson was convenor in 1970 then for a short time Mrs H. Bell. A flower calendar was set up and members could volunteer to provide the money for flowers on a specific Sunday. In 1971, when Rita Thomson was flower convenor the Flower Box was introduced. It sat in the vestibule and members could give donations any Sunday. The money was used to buy flowers when there was no name against any date. Rita was convenor from 1970-1981. Mrs O'Connor gave the Christmas flowers every year. Sheila Gibson took over the post for the next twelve years, followed by Ailie Kidd until 2000 when the present holder of the post, Margaret Simpson was recruited. Stella Stevenson also helped out over the years as did many others who occasionally arranged and distributed the flowers after the service on a Sunday.




Used Stamps

Since 1981 Kenmure members have contributed to the World Mission Stamp Centre. Used stamps are gathered, sorted and sold to collectors. The skilled work of preparing and selling is done by volunteers who cut stamps from envelopes and parcels leaving at least half an inch all round. Damaged stamps have no value but old stamp albums are welcome. Stamps can be handed in at the church door any Sunday. The collector attends a meet at the Renfield Centre, Bath St. twice a year. From 1995-2004 almost £30,000 has been raised.


Many women have played their part in the groups and organisations at Kenmure including the Sunday School/Junior Church and uniformed ones and have always been willing helpers in very many ways. When Jean Wright was appointed Clerk to the Board of Management in 1953 she was the first woman to occupy such an important position. Helen Kilpatrick followed in 1960. Other members have spread their wings and served as missionaries abroad.



Chapter Six





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