The Early Days: 1832 – 1859

In the first year six missionaries were salaried by private individuals and the city was split into 30 districts. The vision was to have missionaries from ECM in all those districts. By 1834, seven of those districts were covered.

The first report on ECM in 1834 records the following: 2178 meetings were held; 39, 377 people attended those meetings; 16,873 homes were visited; 5,488 sick people were visited; 152 copies of Scripture were given out, or sold at a low price; 12,837 tracts were received ; 33 children were sent to day school; 13 to Sabbath Schools and 304 were attending ECM run Sabbath Schools. By 1837 sixteen missionaries were employed and the records state:

  • 49,543 people attended meetings
  • 46,715 people were visited at home
  • 16,109 sick people were visited
  • 200 Bibles were given to people
  • 45,763 tracts were given away
  • 110 children started day schools
  • 22 Sabbath Schools were run by ECM
  • 506 children attended ECM Sabbath Schools.

As the missionaries pressed on in their task of reaching people they unearthed the real state of the city; in parts it was given over to a decadence of shocking proportions – much to the horror of the churches that lived in a sort of religious ghetto, thinking the nation was “Christian”. The cry went out through ECM to shake the Church:

Oh! Professing Christians of Edinburgh, awake! No longer shut your eyes to this dismal state of things.

Annual Report: 1834 – 1835, p. 35

The missionaries’ strategy seemed to be the one laid out by Jesus; they searched in their district for “a man of peace” and settled there, using that home as a base for reaching folk in the area. Many were indeed converted and transformed, but thousands were ignorant of the Gospel.


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