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Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back: A Counter to Emigration

Looking Back

Looking Back: 'A Counter to Emigration'

Written in 1961, a plea to find the money to build churches in new towns

STATED boldly, there is no money for further church building. This is the sad fact which emerged from the Report on Church Extension.

Yet several great new towns, though they may still consist mainly of open fields, are on the drawing boards; Irvine, Waterside, Dalgety, while the needs at Glenrothes, East Kilbride, Cumbernauld, Livingston and Corby in England, have not yet been fully met. What is the Church to do?

You cannot spend what you do not have. The Church Extension Committee is bound by the income it receives through the Co-ordinated Appeal. Unless there is a dramatic increase, the work must stop.

Should then, the needs of Church Extension be placed before the Church outside the Co-ordinated Appeal? Should other sources of income be sought? Dare the Church face a stoppage of new building, leaving new communities to grow up without a church in the midst and countless children without a Sunday School? If this were to happen, and there is a real danger that it will happen, we can no longer claim that we are a national church which exercises care for all Scotland.

The Secretary of State, Mr William Ross, had a word to say on this when he addressed the General Assembly. He was really depressed to read about the difficulties of Extension. Today there was a new and creative attitude to slum clearance and housing, but new communities could be rootless, and in 1964-65 no fewer than 43, 000 Scots had left their native country. It was necessary to provide conditions of employment and of life that would retain those who might emigrate on the basis of not having a job or a house. We must be concerned with the quality of life in Scotland.

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