WARTIME EXPERIENCES OF A CHURCH OF SCOTLAND MISSIONARY

With the recent commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, one of my sons asked what his grandparents had been doing on the original VE Day. That prompted me to have a search through my father’s old five-year diaries which he kept all his adult life, and lo and behold, below is the entry for 8th May 1945.

“Celebrations everywhere, flags flying, bells ringing – but I have to spend day in bed, sick and vomiting with a temp. over 104 degrees!! Called in the military doctor (Capt. Lake – a female) from hospital. Better this evening”

The fact that he was obviously suffering from a bout of malaria at the time (for which there is still no effective vaccine!) got me thinking about his experiences in India, particularly during the war years and the result is this small article for the newsletter.

My father, Robert (Bert) Waddell was a Church of Scotland missionary from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s, working as an educational advisor amongst the Santal people of north east India – the Santals are/were an aboriginal ethnic group with a very low social and economic position in caste ridden India at the time. He enjoyed his time in India, where he met my mother who was doing similar work with the Irish Presbyterian church and where I was born. Life for missionaries in India does not seem to have been particularly hard – they had servants, a cook and a gardener and were in many ways considered part of the British Raj. The main difficulty was the climate which was unbearably hot for much of the year and extremely wet and humid during the monsoon. The hottest months of the year, May and June, were usually spent on holiday at one of the many hill stations in the foothills of the Himalayas where the climate was more bearable. My father arrived in India in 1939 and within months World War Two had begun. The main threat throughout the war was the prospect of Japanese invasion from their bases in neighbouring Burma (Myanmar). It never happened but my father’s diary frequently refers to unrest in the area stirred up by what he refers to as “fifth columnists” working for the Japanese.

In 1942, my father suffered a double bereavement when his father died and his brother Douglas, my uncle, was tragically killed in a training accident while serving in the R.A.F. Bomber Command. He decided to come home on compassionate leave to help his sister deal with winding up the family business and this decision gave rise to the most dramatic event of his life – the ship he was travelling in was sunk by a German U boat in the south Atlantic! The whole story of this event and its heroic, yet tragic, aftermath is captured in the book 'Goodnight, Sorry for Sinking You'.  To summarise, my father was one of those lucky enough to survive the sinking and, after spending two weeks on an open lifeboat, to land at the island of Saint Helena, where he was marooned for three months, waiting for another ship to take him back to Britain. He wrote a detailed account of his experiences which was one of the main sources for the book whose title was reportedly the last words spoken by the U boat commander to the lifeboats after the sinking.

To complete the story on a happier note, my father and mother were married soon after and returned to India by ship, this time using the shorter but not necessarily safer Suez Canal route. They spent the rest of the war there and returned to Britain in 1955 accompanied by yours truly aged 2 and his older brother aged 5. Needless to say, I have no memories of India, but the old black and white family photograph albums are a good substitute.

Ivor Waddell
 

COVID KO's ANN'S RIO ADVENTURE!

On Friday 24th May Sue McMinn and I were to travel down to London to have a couple of days relaxation before Sue ran the London Marathon (for Parkinson’s Disease charity) and I flew off to Brazil to help finish renovating a community centre in Rio with Mission Direct. As you know the London Marathon was postponed and my trip to Rio was cancelled. A disappointment to us both, but with accommodation rebooked for the rescheduled Marathon in October we are looking forward to being able to have our couple of days in London and I along with friends and family will be able to stay to support and watch Sue run the marathon.

Mission Direct have now informed me that they have an alternative date in October to go to Rio. As we do not know what is going to happen with this virus and what restrictions will still be placed on us, I have decided it would not be advisable for me to plan to travel to Brazil in October. The virus is rampant in the Favelas in Rio at the moment and this is where I would be working every day. There is another date planned for Brazil in May 2021, and hoping the virus is better under control and by then there is a vaccine, Mission Direct have agreed to postpone my trip until then.

I may not be working on the same project as intended in the Community Centre but will be working with ABBA Children’s project – set up in the middle of the nearby Favelas to provide education to primary children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to education. I will be helping to build new facilities to support the expansion of this vital work.

I do hope all of you, along with your loved ones near and far, are keeping safe and well during this time of “lockdown”. We have been blessed with sunshine and the beauty of spring flowers. On my walks I have seen small unidentified creatures rushing across the road , deer grazing in the woods and squirrels scurrying around looking for food or running madly up and down the trees. I have watched the garden and roadside flowers awaken and grow with their lovely vibrant colours, especially the primroses and marsh marigolds and have had time to watch and listen to the birds. In the past in my busy-ness sometimes I have not had the time to be still. These walks have been my prayer time.

Even though I would rather our lives were back to normal I have in a way been thankful for this time of peace and relaxation with more time to talk with family and friends, research family history, write letters, send emails, read, garden, take photos, bake and make some earrings.

I have missed being with family and friends, 9.30am Church Services, Church activities, working in the Church Office and my Tuesdays at Barcaple , sport on the TV, and of course not being able to go to the hairdressers !!

Let us hope and pray that in the not too distant future all the things we have missed we will be able to enjoy again. I pray that until those days are with us again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of his hand and keep you safe.

Ann Morgan
 

SOS FROM GUATEMALA

Some of you will remember missionaries Hank Miller and his wife (friends of Ann Morgan) who visited us last year and were involved in running a stall at one of our Messy Church services. Frank and his wife are back in Guatemala doing their best to help the poorest families and their kids survive the impact of Covid 19. The already desperate situation of these families has deteriorated even further as a consequence of Covid restrictions to the extent that they are hanging white flags from windows to indicate they have no food. Hank is trying to raise $5,000 dollars to help feed these starving families. You can read more on his “Go-fund-me” page (link below). If you feel moved to help, please click the link below to his page: “https://www.gofundme.com/f/bfuve-food-to-survive “

ANNUAL STATED MEETING

The Annual Stated Meeting of Kirkcudbright Parish Church was held at 12 noon in the Church on 15th March 2020, the main purpose of which was to receive the Treasurer's Report on the Accounts for year to 31st December 2019.

The Treasurer reported:-

a) Unrestricted/General Fund                         2019                   2018                    Difference
                                                                      £                         £                              £
INCOME-Unrestricted/General

Offerings                                                      62092                   66277                    -4185
Tax Recovered                                              12321                   11168                      1153
Funerals                                                          805                     1840                    -1035
Rents                                                           18126                  11629                      6497
Investments                                                     584                     339                        245
Others                                                            4905                   8157                     -3252
Bequests                                                      85776                   1850                     83926

                                                                  184609                101260                    83349

LESS:COSTS-Unrestricted/General                  99540                105781                      6241

SURPLUS/(DEFICIT)                                       85069                  -4521                    89590

 

INCOME

There are 2 major increases in 2019 which account for the large increase in Income:-

1)Bequests - £85776.
We have been very fortunate to receive substantial bequests and we express our gratitude to these former members.

2)Rents -£18126.
This figure includes £4352 of rent received from letting the Manse during the Vacancy. The bequest money has been placed in a separate Fund to be allocated to specific and redevelopment purpose.  If we adjust for this 'windfall' income, then or suplus becomes a deficit of £5059.

3) Offerings.  Disappointingly the income from Offerings fell by £4185 - 6.3%

COSTS

Costs in 2019 were down v 2018 by £6241 due to savings during the vacancy and better control of admin costs. Again adjusting the resuilt above for these non-recurring savings increases our operational deficit for the year to £7059.

b)Restricted Fund
We invested, again, heavily in Youth work - £6268 in 2019, and we also carried out improvements in the Hall - £7100. So the Restricted Fund has been reduced by £13368.

Adjusted Summary of Results 2019: Unrestricted /General Fund: -£7059; Restricted Fund: -£13,368; Operational Deficit for
Year = -£20,427.

Prospects for 2020: We have budgeted for 2020, a deficit of £5377. This is before costs of upgrading the Manse and Rev Gatherer's removal expenses, and so we are facing, in total, a deficit of between £10000 and £15000 . In addition, the corona virus crisis will reduce our hall lets (some rentals have already been cancelled), and our income from summer events may well be reduced. Difficulty for some members in attending Chuch may also, detrimentally, affect offerings. This could cost us another £3000 to £4000.

Members were therefore asked to consider the above situation and do what they can to to support the Church through this difficult period. If you cannot get to Church, please still try to maintain your financial contributions.
 

CHURCH HOME STUDY

On account of Coronavirus concerns, our Home Study Groups are currently suspended until further notice. We look forward to welcoming you once more as soon as we receive advice that it is once again safe for people to meet in groups.

The Groups and times are as follows:

Tuesday Morning Daar Lodge Group: 10am at Daar Lodge. Contact Graham Finch
Tuesday Evening Group: meets at 7.30pm. Contact Irene Robertson
Sunday Evening Gathering: Meets at 7-9pm Upper Room, Church Hall. Contact Alistair Simpson or Howard Brown.