A RESUMÉ OF MY EARLY RECOLLECTIONS OF THE DUNDEE CHURCH AND A FEW OUT STANDING PERSONALITIES WHO INFLUENCED MY LIFE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS.
By Mrs Nora Myles (written in May 1999)
A few weeks ago Pastor David Spearing, at the introduction of his sermon, painted an idyllic picture of his boyhood. He told of his memory at the age of 11 of awaking on a lovely morning in the beautiful countryside of Austria and feeling so good and excited about the planned activities of the day ahead. There is no doubt about it that environment can influence one's attitude to life from childhood to adulthood but it doesn't necessarily make one a Christian, although it may have helped in David's case. In recounting a little about my own early years I cannot boast about such a wonderful rural setting, nevertheless, considering the stringency of the times, I consider that my sister and I enjoyed quite a happy childhood.
However, this is a reflection on the beginnings of Dundee Church history as I remember it. In the year 1931 I believe that the "active" membership of the Church was around 7 ladies in the rather elderly bracket. They met in an "upper room" situation, rented from the Bakers Union, and known as the Baker's Hall situated in King's Road, but long since reclaimed for housing development. It must have been towards the end of the year that a small team of Conference workers from Cambridge area was sent to conduct an evangelistic campaign in Dundee. They were a dedicated group of 4 Pastor and Mrs Tapping, Mr. Redhouse and Miss Everett who later became Mrs Redhouse.
The Campaign commenced early in the year 1932 and one Sunday evening during that time my parents were taking a customary stroll into town. They passed a side street which was displaying a large hoarding on one of the buildings advertising a lecture on Bible prophecy. I cannot remember the title of the subject but it aroused the curiosity of my father who held rather sceptical religious views. After a little consultation my parents decided to attend and of course we, my sister Christine and I, being of tender years had to accompany them. We all received a very warm welcome as we entered the brightly lit hall; and this was even more impressive than the lecture in my parents estimation. As the weeks went by our attendances continued on Sunday evenings and we also had home visits by Pastor Tapping. It was then that a suggestion was made that perhaps I would be allowed to attend a Sabbath School Class on Saturday morning. Mrs Redhouse promised to meet me from the tram car and escort me to the hall where the meetings were held so my parents agreed for me to go, but thought that Chrissie was too young to accompany me. From my first attendance at the meetings I cannot explain what it was but I felt drawn to them and nothing or no one would stop me from going. It was there I met Sister Barrie who was one of the pioneer members who later became my Sabbath school teacher and a dear friend.
The climax to the Campaign resulted in around 15 members. being added to the church. After 2 years ministry Pastor Tapping was called to serve in another town also Mr. and Mrs. Redhouse, which caused great sadness to the new congregation. They needed a Shepherd and that position was filled by a lady Bible worker of a rather late vintage. At the outset she seemed to be a rather formidable figure until one got to know her and then you could detect a kindly humane side to her nature. Miss Archibald was her name, she would have made an excellent Suffragette as she was ever ready to champion the abilities of women; that was long before the days of the liberation movements. Her character was all the more remarkable because she was of very slender build and not too robust in health but as an exponent of the Scriptures it would be hard to find one to excel her. I owe a lot to Miss Archibald because she taught me much about the Bible and printed indelibly upon my mind the truths and standards upheld by the Church. She was our preacher for around three years and lodged with Mrs. Barrie who was a real mother in Israel and fed many mouths who came within her walls both Spiritually and physically and I was one of them. How I cherished these Sabbath lunches which I enjoyed each week. Miss Archibald would go to her room to prepare for the afternoon meeting leaving Mrs. Barrie and I to dine alone and oh weren't they like feasts of' Paradise, especially after the savoury course was finished and out came the sugary dainties. This is where I excelled in gorging my appetite whilst Mrs. Barrie slept off her first course. She must have got a shock when she awoke and saw how greatly depleted the articles were on the plate, but she never made reference to them. After the meal I accompanied my two mentors to the young peoples meeting of which I was virtually the only one young person present amongst a few middle aged and elderly members.
During the time of Miss Archibald's ministry we had the privilege of having Mr. Bernard Howard's father working as a colporteur and as a lay preacher. During his stay he came in contact with a young man who lodged in the same boarding house and convinced him of the Sabbath truth. This young man, Alfred White, became an ardent member of the Church and proved to be a great asset as organist and lay preacher. I personally owe a great debt to that young man as he was such a keen Bible student highly principled and very sincere. Eventually I became engaged to him but, sad to relate, his young life was cut short in 1941 by a fatal accident on a farm, which of course was a great personal loss to me.
ln 1936 Miss Archibald's ministry was replaced by Harold McCrow who came from the South England Conference. He conducted a series of meetings in the Marryat hall and baptised 5 souls as a result of his ministry. In 1939 we had another change of leader in the person of' Pastor H.T. Johnson who was formerly Y.P.S. leader in south England. We were still worshipping in the Bakers Hall and I can remember one of his first sermons was based on the text in Deut. 2:3 "Ye have compassed this mountain long enough". New premises were soon found in the Nethergate where the new Art centre is situated. An evangelistic campaign was commenced in the YMCA and it was during this time that I finally decided that I could not delay any longer in taking my stand for the Lord. I had been convicted of the Sabbath message for several years but lacked the courage and faith to step out. I was baptised on the 2lst. December 1940.
Pastor Johnson moved on to Aberdeen in 1941 and Pastor and Mrs. Morrison, a lovely elderly couple with years of experience behind them, succeeded him. They made a perfect duo, their names were even the same David and Davina. Their home was an open door and many happy hours I spent there. One always found a sympathetic and confidential ear to listen to your story. We had the joy of their ministry for 5 years before their retiral. Miss Fretton a Bible worker followed on but soon she was literally taken over by a young intern namely Roy Musgrave whom we learned was her fiancé. They soon got married and continued in Dundee until 1945.
Then we had another new experience. A handsome young couple arrived straight from their honeymoon to do some pre evangelistic work paving the way for one of the top Evangelists, Pastor Ken Lacey. The couple in question was non other than our dear friends Pastor and Mrs. Victor Hall, currently living in Crieff. The campaign started in 1950 and the team consisted of' Pastor Lacey, Miss Cowan, Bible worker, Victor and Christine Hall, Denys and Jean Baildam, assistant ministers. The meetings took place to begin with in the City's main hall, namely the Caird hall, and were well attended. It was an exciting time for the Church because of the effort put forth and as a result around 20 members were added to the Church. As well as the baptisms, the company of believers, as they were then known, was organised into a Church. It was a sad day when we had to bid farewell to such a loyal team of workers but, as we are constantly reminded, the Lords work is a Movement.
We gave a very warm welcome to the incoming Pastor and his talented wife, Pastor and Mrs Bainbridge and their young daughter Heather. The Church was truly blessed with their ministry as they were so humble and devoted to the cause of God. Our late Brother Gordon Christie was baptised by Pastor Bainbridge and he was one of the same mould unobtrusive, hardworking and sincere. Pastor Bainbridge's term of' office was quite brief but our next Pastor was with us for around 5 years, Pastor Dabson was his name. He was an evangelist so another series of meetings was soon in progress, conducted in the King's Theatre. Six to eight members were added to the Church during his ministry and two of them are still with us: Mrs MacLean and Mrs. Lorek. Miss Christie is one of the trophies of Pastor Lacey's campaign. Incidentally it was during this era that Chrissie and Paul Lorek were married, but I will leave them to tell their own story.
1957 introduced us to another new face that of Pastor William Lennox a Glaswegian of considerable talent. He had a wonderful memory and could quote scripture after scripture and reams of poetry. He had a handicap as all the fingers on his right hand were missing due to an accident he had as a boy assistant in a butcher's shop before he was an Adventist. However it did not deter him as he was a good penman and craftsman. He left Dundee in 1960 and that is when our dear veterans Agnes and Bernard Howard joined our ranks and came to live in Kirriemuir. Although their work was not pastoral they were excellent adjutants to the new Pastor Howard Parkin. Many a time they went off home with a car load of young people to give them of their hospitality. We are so grateful that they are still with us today but perhaps we can take a little credit for their lengthy stay since in the words of Agnes herself "we are such a friendly Church." Here I think I will end my resumé as I have now caught up with a generation who can recall the Church history from that time.
One thing remains for me to say that the Church has been my life blood throughout the years and brought me face to face with my Creator for which I am eternally grateful and I can surely testify to the promise of God in Isa. 46:4 (NIV) "Even to your old age and grey hairs I am He ---- who will sustain you."
Last updated 25 June 2001