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Friday September 25 2020

Looking Back: Lunderston Bay Camp

An account from September 1928 of that summer's mission among campers at Lunderston Bay, on the Firth of Clyde.


THE work among the campers at Lunderston Bay begun so auspiciously last year has this year been materially consolidated, and our readers may be interested to have a summary of the graphic report made by the Rev. James Francis, B.D., Greenock, who again was in charge during July.

The inclement weather was responsible for lessening to a slight extent the number of campers and for increasing in certain ways the labours of the staff. Twice did the high winds cause the large marquee to collapse; and on another occasion service was held within while without some held on to the guy ropes and others kept hammering in the loosening pegs. Two medical students were this year added to the staff, and their services, which were greatly appreciated, were in frequent request; there were burns, bruises, and wounds of various kinds to be attended to; on occasion stitches had to be put in, fingers lanced, and teeth extracted. “The large mallet for hammering in five-foot tent pegs was always produced when a waggish patient asked for chloroform!”

The usual humours of camp life were not awanting, and a practical joker had his innings one day when he rang the mission bell and warned the people who crowded together at the summons that the water was to be cut off in an hour. There was an immediate rush for the pails and jugs; and not for a little did it occur to some one that the water of a hill stream cannot well be cut off.

The postal facilities, arranged for by the Home Mission representatives, and the “Lost Property Department,” rendered the campers useful service, while the games and the bi-weekly concerts were all much appreciated and taken advantage of. Specially enjoyed was the privilege of taking out books to read at home in the evenings.

Regular attendance was given at the various religious services, and it is particularly noteworthy that the short service held every week-night at 9 o’clock had an average attendance of fifty. Mr. Francis sums up this side of the work thus: “The Church work at Lunderston is of the utmost value. Last year several campers made a new start of church attendance after their experience of the tent. The staff got at close quarters with a type that in town they could not reach, and much plainer speaking is possible on a camping-ground and in casual conversation than when one is distinctly ‘talking religion.’”

A baby was born in the camp in July and was baptized by Mr. Francis in the beginning of August. The baptismal service was very impressive, and was attended by large numbers of visitors and campers. The praise was led by a choir of campers, and the baby received the name of Frances MacDougall, “Frances” being in honour of the “padre” whose abounding geniality and disinterested labours have won for himself, and through him in large measure for the Churches he represented, the regard and confidence of the Lunderston Bay holiday-makers.

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