The History of Leith

March 10, 2012

From the Manse of South Leith Church-1902

MY FRIENDS,
The result of the Subscription by Schedule has been so satisfactory that the
Kirk Session have no hesitation in recommending its continuance, and have asked me to lay a few facts
before you. Compared with 1900, the year 1901 shows a gratifying increase, both in the number of
contributors and in the amount subscribed. The contributors have increased from 84 to 218, while the
amount paid has increased from £278, 14s. lid. in 1900, to £376, 10s. in 1901. I cannot forget or
overlook the personal element which has led not a few to contribute by Schedule this year for the first
time. I mentioned incidentally that as I might have occasion, as Moderator of the General Assembly
to reccommend this method of contribution to the different congregations of the Church of Scotland, it
would rather impair -the .effect of this recommendation if it turned out that there had been a very poor
response to the appeal made in South’Leith, and, I know that in consequence of this, many members of
the congregation, adopted the method of subscribing by Schedule. May I express the hope that what was
begun last year, from regard for myself, may be continued this year for its own sake, and that none of
those who subscribed last year will fail to do so this year, but will give the experiment a fair trial, so that
thev may have an opportunity of judging of its effect, but on their own personal giving and upon the
collections generally 1 ‘ May I ask further that- those .who have not yet filled up a Schedule, would join with
the rest of us in laying aside their own individual preferences as to the mode, in order to secure a large
amount of support for those important objects which are sustained through the Schedules ? All the risks and
perils of no contribution from large numbers owing to illness, or absence from home, or bad weather, on special
collection Sundays, have been entirely removed from those who subscribe through the Schedule; while the
apprehension which some may have had that either the largeness or the smallness of their contributions
would be noised abroad if they intimated them in this way, have proved to be entirely groundless; for
beyond the fact that it is know~n who have returned the Schedules and who have not, the Session have dealt
only with the amounts, and not with the names of those contributing. I do not know in more than half a
dozen cases what sums have been contributed by each, while, if any of the elders know more, they have
wisely kept that knowledge to themselves. A third objection which some have made to the collecting by
Schedule, is that they do not wish collectors to be calling upon them. This is not a necessary part of the
Schedule system. Collectors have kindly agreed to call either monthly or quarterly, if desired, and in many
cases this is preferred, because it reminds them of their promise which might have been overlooked, but
there are many of us who send in the amount either by an envelope in the plate, or direct to the Session
Clerk, either quarterly or half-yearly, or in one sum, as may be most convenient.
Already our Local and Congregational Charities have greatly benefited by this mode of subscribing;
while both the Home, Fou*ign and Colonial Missions have been supported to an extent more in accordance
with their importance, and with the size of the Congregation. It is scarcely creditable, however, to the
Congregation as a whole that out of 1500 Schedules sent out, more than 1200 were taken no notice of, while
the collections in Church, apart from the Schedule, showed a very poor result on the part of those who pre_
ferred this mode of contributing. ” Evil is wrought by want of thought as well as want of heart,” and I am
sure it is more because they have not thought of their responsibility in the matter that so many have hitherto
stood aloof. It may interest them to know the sort of sums subscribed by those, whether rich or poor, who
are in the same position with themselves. The two most popular amounts are 5s. and £1—thirty-five having
.subscribed the former, and thirty-one the latter amount. Twenty-two have subscribed 2s., fourteen Is.,
and fourteen 10s., while six have subscribed £3, five £10, two £20, one £40; while, at the two extremes,
we have one 6d. and one £50. Between these two extremes somewhere, or above or below either, will
you not place your name?
Tours truly,
JAMES MITCHELL

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