War - Christian Heritage

The War Years: 1914 – 1945

Amidst the carnage of the First World War, the ECM workers were kept very busy, counselling and encouraging many who had lost loved ones. The 1915 Report says: “Never before have our City Missionaries won and held the confidence of the people to a greater degree than now amidst the widespread sorrow and anxiety consequent upon the war.” (p. 1)

The Missionary in his daily round of visits has to lead sorrow-stricken ones into the deep heart of things – to the God of all comfort and compassion.


The team of ECM missionaries in the 1930s Mission Halls Run by ECM

By 1928 six Mission Halls were run fully by ECM. They were:

  • Galloway’s Entry: 53 Canongate (since 1855)
  • Little Lochend Close: 115 Canongate
  • Comely Green: 9 Comely Green Place
  • Dumbiedykes: 47 St. Leonard’s Hill
  • Broughton: Logie Green Rd
  • Free Buccleuch and Greyfriars Church Hall: 24 West Crosscauseway

Besides these, Halls at Niddrie and St. Andrews (Leith) were used greatly by ECM workers.

The Halls were full to breaking point, to such an extent, that people sometimes had to be carried out because of the stuffiness in summer! The 1934 Report estimates that about 4,000 people met in the six Halls each week for a multitude of different meetings. Whilst the preaching of the Gospel remained the main thrust of ECM, we also notice the practical care of those missionaries to the poor and needy. The 1934 Report relates that they provided:

  • 100 tons of coal
  • 820 parcels of groceries
  • 353 pairs of boots and shoes for boys and girls
  • 36 hot water bottles for the old and infirm folk
  • milk and nourishing food for children. (p.4)

In 1935 a police station was converted into Abbeyhill Mission Hall, and the old Galloway Entry Mission Hall was replaced by this premise because of its larger space.

ECM listed seven Mission Halls during this period and missionaries were working with the Transport Men, Cabmen and Taximen, Lodging Houses, Burgh Court (Police Cells), Districts, Benevolent Fund and Open Air Meetings. Since the end of the nineteenth century, music outreach had become popular, both in the open air meetings, whether in the smaller gatherings in the courts and closes off the Royal Mile, or at the big gatherings with other churches, or in the Mission Halls.

James Wilson visits the prisons, 1932

In 1939 the Second World War broke out. Again the nation went through a deep crisis; again ECM was there for the multitudes who grieved and suffered. A Mission Hall at Jane St., Leith also opened up for ECM during this year, as the work carried on moving forward.


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