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Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back: Church on Wheels

Looking Back

Friday January 29 2020

Looking Back: The Church On Wheels

Published in January 1957, a look at the various ways in which the Church of Scotland was taking to the road.



The Church of Scotland is, literally, on the move, at home and abroad. These pictures give some idea of the scope of the work undertaken by the mobile units of the Church.

 WITHIN a few miles of the “Iron Curtain,” British troops line up at a Church of Scotland mobile canteen at Goslar in Germany.

Mobiles are also in service abroad in North Africa, Cyprus, and Hong-Kong, and at home in Scotland and England. Some of them also combine a book and magazine service to the troops.

THESE caravans have enabled the Church, through its industrial chaplains, to move into the giant hydro-electric construction camps in out-of-the-way spots in Ross-shire, Sutherland and Perthshire in recent years.

Here they have brought the services of the Church to many thousands of workers, living far from their homes, and apart from many of the amenities, comforts and relationships of normal living. The Industrial Chaplains have often had a difficult ministry to perform in these circumstances.

 THE Foreign Mission Committee too has got behind the steering wheel in order to expand its missionary work both on the home front and in the Fields.

At home the Cinema-Bok van rolls along to Presbytery Exhibitions and Congregational film shows. I has appeared at the Highland Show and it has crossed the sea to the Outer Islands. Sometimes the driver is one of the Office Staff, and sometimes it is a volunteer, or minister from within the Presbytery where a tour is taking place.

Overseas in 18 Mission Fields a wide variety of vehicles is helping to establish the Younger Churches – Landrovers, Shooting Brakes, Dispensary Trucks, Ambulances, Literacy and Book-vans, lorries filled with well-drilling equipment, Audio-visual aid outfits, etc.- some of the larger outfits jointly sponsored by a number of churches.

YOUTH training in the rural districts has been greatly encouraged by the introduction of a mobile scheme made possible from the King George VI Memorial Fund. Specialist instructors in various spheres of youth work have been holding training classes, and a gratifying response has been made in a number of districts.

 THE new mobile bookshop went off on a trial trip during September. Following the Great North Road, it reached Inverness in time for the September meeting of Inverness Presbytery, then carried on up to Thurso and Wick, making exploratory ventures along the coasts of Caithness and Sutherland. Back in Inverness, teething troubles compelled the abandonment of plans to travel west to Kyle of Lochalsh. The Moray coast was next visited, and the “bookmobile” was in attendance at the monthly meetings of the presbyteries of Elgin, Strathbogie and Deer. The return journey though Kincardineshire, Angus and Perthshire was rounded off by a visit to the Presbytery of Dunkeld at Aberfeldy.

The purpose behind the venture is to try to make the latest and most helpful religious and theological literature available to church people and the general public throughout Scotland.

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