Edinburgh City Mission history timeline

Founder: David Nasmith (1799 – 1839)

  • 1832: “On the 1st March, eight gentlemen met together in the shop of Messrs. Young and Miller, 375 High Street, to confer with David Nasmyth in regard to the formation of a City Mission in Edinburgh.” (Annual Report, 1895)City Missions’ motto: “Let the glory of God, and the salvation of souls, be your chief – your only end.” (1826)Vision: Edinburgh split into 30 districts to be thoroughly evangelised by ECM and associate missionaries through Christians working in unity from different evangelical churches. Reaction of some of the church leaders: IMPOSSIBLE, OUTRAGEOUS AND UNNEEDED!

    Six missionaries employed in first year (only three other missionaries in Edinburgh in 1832)

    Mr. Charles Spence: First General Superintendent

  • 1839: ECM spearheads city-wide evangelism so that “a missionary spirit” is released in the churches
  • 1840: ECM HQ moves from 375 High St., to 126 High St.
  • 1841: Revival in The Shelter (Grassmarket) through ECM: “a place of weeping” Graham Speirs, Sheriff of Edinburgh and Chairman for the Annual Meeting, publicly says: “A single Bible was worth a thousand penal statutes and one missionary would do more than a whole legion of policemen.”(30th November)
  • 1847: Mr. George Clarkson: Second General Superintendent
  • 1848: 19 out of 30 Districts covered by ECM, including: High St.; Canongate; Stockbridge; Greenside; Catherine St; Joppa and Portobello; Corstorphine and southern and western parts.
  • 1852: Rev. James Trench: Third General Superintendent
  • 1853: Sub-saving Banks for the poor set up by ECM, and Mother’s Meetings. Appointment of Missionary to the Police.
  • 1854: Rev. D. Muir: Fourth Gen. Super.
  • 1855: Galloway’s Entry Mission Hall, Canongate, established
  • 1856: Open air evangelism becomes very popular with ECM. “Huge crowds” gather. Loan libraries set up in all 30 Districts. Some missionaries do public lectures on science and history to educate men and preach the Gospel. Rev. Alex Millar: Fifth Gen. Super
  • 1859: United Prayer Meetings in Edinburgh. Revival breaks out in Pilrig School. It centres on Carrubbers Close Mission, High St., where ECM’s friendship with them brings in a huge harvest for Christ together. Amazing transformed lives! Great unity in the churches and Christian organizations for prayer, evangelism and good works
  • 1860: Appointment of lady missionary to the “Fallen Women” (Prostitutes).
  • 1865: ECM HQ moves to 5, St. Andrews Square. Missionaries start using modern technology – “magic lanterns” and “diagrams”.
  • 1870: “Public interest in City Missions was never greater than now.” Missionary to the blind appointed to ECM. Rev. William Galletly: Sixth Gen. Super
  • 1872: Rev. William Turner: 7th Gen. Super
  • 1873: Moody and Sankey Revival: Thousands converted. One missionary leads about a hundred to Christ in three months in his dining-room
  • 1874: Missionary to the Edinburgh Tramway Company appointed. Lord Shaftesbury declares publicly at a large meeting in Wemyss Bay, that the British government recognised that the work of the City Missions had been the key that had prevented the Revolution in Europe from coming to Britain.
  • 1875: Record number of ECM missionaries (salaried by ECM or associated and under ECM supervision): 33. Also number of combined missionaries in Edinburgh: 130.
  • 1886: Appointment of “Extraordinary Directors”, in an advisory capacity. There were 19 of them, besides the 24 directors, 6 doctors, 12 examiners and others, making a total of 63 support staff! Many were lords, earls, judges, and church ministers. Some were church moderators and bishops over the period from the nineteenth century until the 1970s. Statements like the following show the high regard Edinburgh had for ECM:

    There is no Society that more deserves the support and thanks of the community than the Edinburgh City Mission.”

    Lord Provost, W.S. Brown, 1909

    ….(the churches) felt the reproof the City Mission addressed to them, and followed the example it set them.

    Dr. Guthrie, Founder of the Ragged Schools, 1866

    There is a fine spirit in the Mission, and it is just the Spirit of Christ.

    Rt. Rev. Dr. Norman MacLean, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, 1927

  • 1887: Missionary to the Breweries appointed
  • 1892: Missionary to the Public Houses appointed
  • 1894: Rev. John Forgan: 8th Gen. Super
  • 1895: Niddrie Mission and Grassmarket Mission under ECM supervision.
    Holiday Fund to provide 2,000 children holidays
  • 1896: Parish nurse appointed to miners’ families in New Craighall on Niddrie Estate. Bailie Pollard, Chairman of Public Health Committee of Town Council is one of ECM’s directors. Through collaboration Pollard and ECM get council to vastly improve sanitary conditions in Edinburgh.
  • 1904: Mr. G. A. Barclay: 9th Gen. Super
  • 1907: Mr. Stuart S. Miller: 10th Gen. Super
  • 1908: Tea and Coffee Van at nights (horse-drawn) as outreach to Cabmen
  • 1910: Kitchen Meetings (evangelistic dinner parties)
  • 1913: Christian rehab by ECM for men at 6 Drummond St.
  • 1914: First World War
  • 1915: “Never before have our City Missionaries won and held the confidence of the people to a greater degree than now.”
  • 1924: Mr. Michael Peden: 11th Gen. Super
  • 1928: Logie Green Rd Mission Hall., in Broughton, owned by ECM. Other Halls used at this time: Little Lochend Close, 115 Canongate; Galloway’s Entry, 53 Canongate; Comely Green, 9 Comely Green Place; Dumbiedykes, 47 St. Leonard’s Hill and Free Buccleuch and Greyfriars Church Hall, 24 West Crosscauseway
  • 1934: 4,000 people cram into multiple meetings in 6 Mission Halls every week. Many saved
  • 1935: Police Station converted into Abbeyhill Mission Hall for ECM, instead of Galloway Entry. At this time there were missionaries to: Transport Men (trams and buses); Cabmen and Taximen; Lodging Homes; Burgh Court (Police Cells); Districts; Benevolent Work and Open Airs
  • 1939: Outbreak of Second World War
  • 1946: Mr. Albert Long: 12th Gen. Super
  • 1959: “Many elderly people accept the Lord Jesus” in hospitals. “Children weeping under deep conviction of sin” on a summer camp, in which 113 were converted
  • 1964: HQ moves to 122 Thirlestone Rd., formerly the HQ of the Monthly Visitor Tract Society, founded by David Nasmith
  • 1965: “Many conversions in hospitals”. Mission to Burdiehouse for children: “Many hundreds of children are being reached for Christ each week.”
  • 1966: Billy Graham Edinburgh Christian Crusade: “literally hundreds of people, young and old coming to a knowledge of Christ.”
  • 1968: Inch Mission Hall opened. Rev. Charles Main appointed to Post Office
  • 1974: Niddrie ECM Outreach Café starts
  • 1975: Ann MacDonald joins ECM as secretary (Ann Laidlaw!)
  • 1976: Rev. Bill Chalmers appointed to run the Inch Mission Hall
  • 1978: Gorgie Railway Mission (formerly Gorgie Gospel Mission) given to ECM
  • 1979: Mr. Alex Dunbar: 13th Gen Super
  • 1981: William Bullin appointed to West Pilton District
  • 1982: 27th November St. Andrew’s Hall, Arthur St., handed over to ECM
  • 1983: West Pilton Christian Centre opened
  • 1984: HQ transfers to 9 Pilrig St. Six Mission Halls: Gorgie; Niddrie; Inch; St. Andrew’s; Dumbiedykes and West Pilton
  • 1985: Bill McGillivray assists Derek Laidlaw (Ann’s husband)
  • 1986: There is Hope Campaign to reach the city
  • 1988: Operation Outreach (later, Streetlevel) to train 6 student Christians alongside missionaries. Dumbiedykes Mission Hall turned into St. Leonard’s Hill Hostel for the homeless
  • 1989: Rev. William (Bill) Chalmers appointed as General Superintendent (later re-named as Executive Director).
  • 1991: Care Caravan established by ECM as a mobile unit for food and drink for the homeless at Waverley Bridge
  • 1993: John Hopper appointed as Chaplain to the Lothian Buses (originally Edinburgh Corporation Transport in 1935) and the Royal Mail (1965)
  • 1994: ECM extends John Hopper’s ministry to cover the Forth Ports (ECM had appointed missionaries to Leith Port in the early days) and Parcel Force (a division of the Royal Mail)
  • 1996: Care Van established to replace Care Caravan: a joint venture between ECM and Bethany Christian Trust
  • 1997: Ken MacLean appointed to Royal Mail
  • 1999: Church of Scotland approaches ECM to hand over chaplaincy of the BAA Edinburgh Cargo Village
  • 2000: Jesus video Millennium Adventure to give all the homes in Edinburgh a chance to have a film about the life of Jesus
  • 2002: Alan Barlow appointed as Executive Director of ECM
  • 2004: Paul James-Griffiths starts street-outreach to reach New Agers, Pagans and university students. This ministry later becomes Cultural Ministry
  • 2005: The Celtic Tour starts
  • 2006: Eternity Classical Music Group and Edinburgh Creation Group starts
  • 2008: Lawrie Hudson appointed as Executive Director at ECM
  • 2009: The Christian Heritage Centre starts in St Columba’s Free Church
  • 2010: Basics Bank starts

 

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