Bonkle Church Organisations
The Mens’ Club
The Rev. Alex. Gillies, shortly after his induction as Minister at Bonkle Church, formed the "Young Mens’ Club". In 1921, the Young Men's Club donated a sum of £ 62 10/- towards the construction of a hall extension. This is probably not surprising as the main activity of the club over the years seems to have been some form of games, probably board games initially such as draughts, dominoes etc. with occasional speakers and visits to other clubs or places. Later the club expanded into the Social Guild to allow women to participate in the activities. The women later split off to form a Ladies Work Party which became the Woman's Guild in 1929.
When hall facilities permitted, a table tennis table and billiards table were added to the games.
There seems to have been a gap in activities during the Second World War but under the presidency of Rev. R. Hill it reformed in 1947 with a membership of 65.
In 1947 carpet bowls were introduced (unbiased bowls on a long narrow carpet-covered board). During this period games were intermixed with visiting speakers. During Mr Hill's previous ministry at Forth Church Willie Waddle was in his Sunday School class (later a Sunday School teacher) and was persuaded, along with other Rangers Football Club players Willie Thornton and Tory Gillick, to answer questions on Scottish football at the Men's Club. Other speakers included Dr T. from Law Hospital, a hypnotist who had used his skills during the war to perform operations when anaesthetics were not available. He demonstrated his skills by hypnotising some of the men's club, including W. and I. Darling.
Other speakers included a fire master, police inspector, and a justice of the peace. Film shows were also arranged.
Visits were arranged to the Daily Record, Hamilton Court, Alloa Glass, Chapman Butcher, Kingshill Colliery, and Ravenscraig Strip Mill.
Visits and competitions (bowling, table tennis and other games) were arranged with Coltness, Morningside, Cambusnethan Old, Law, Cairns and Erskine Churches and Shotts Police. The evenings ended with a meal supplied by the hosts.
At that time a churches’ league bowling competition on a "home and away" basis was run. In 1974 the club entered a bowling competition in Oban where their name became the first on the shield.
Socials were arranged during the winter season, one being before the Christmas Watchnight Service. Burns Suppers were organised yearly.
The Club also gave a "helping hand" about the church and completely redecorated the manse for the arrival of Mr McMillan.
Over the years there was a close link with Morningside Church and when it closed in October 1994 the clubs united.
In 1990 the bowls were replaced by small biased bowls on a carpet laid on the floor of the hall. Later, with the help of local authority grants, and with the co-operation of the recently formed Thursday Club, purpose designed carpets and further sets of bowls were purchased. Due to the construction of the new hall, three carpets are now in use.
J. Johnston, I. Darling.
Around 1920 the Young Men's Guild was formed. This developed into what was known as the Social Guild open to young women as well as young men. Out from this at length arose a regular Ladies' Work Party which assumed the name of the Woman's Guild after the Union of the Churches in 1929. These movements owed very much to the fostering and stimulus of Rev. Gillies
In 1932 the Woman's Guild affiliated to the Church of Scotland woman's guild. It then met on the second and fourth Thursdays in the month.
One of the early presidents was Miss Martin, Postmistress of Newmains Post Office. When Rev. Hill became minister his wife became president, as did his second wife, Anne Colqhoun. When Rev. McMillan became minister in 1960 his wife also became president. On his retiral Mr Campbell's wife served as president for a short time followed by several guild members - Mrs Hobson and Mrs Janet Glen. This was the last ministers wife to be president of the guild. Thereafter guild members filled this post - Mrs Nicol, Mrs Dunsmore, Mrs Hendrie and Mrs Hislop.
The Guild was always deeply involved in social events, usually as fund raisers or for other good causes. They held a Gipsy Fair in the church grounds on 22nd June, 1935. The stall-holders were gaily attired in gipsy costumes and stalls brightly decorated. A Baby show with an entry fee of 6d, an open air concert by the choir, pony rides, fortune telling and all the fun of the fair. A tea ticket was 1/-. Sum realised was £80.
A Red Cross Work Party was formed by the ladies of the Church and it is of interest to note that at one stage the Bonkle branch sent: "288 pairs of socks, 96 scarves, 26 pullovers, 21 pairs of gloves, 17 pairs of sea boot stockings, 15 pairs of mittens, 12 helmets, 10 pairs of over stockings, 4 sewn garments, together with various gifts including money to Red Cross Headquarters". Many other mentions are made of the Guild's Red Cross work during these war years.
For many years "At Homes" were run in the church, the hall being too small. These were organised by Bill Hamilton and Bowman Hunter with guild members supplying food for the tables which held eight to twenty-eight people. Entertainment was also provided.
In the late 1940s garden fetes were introduced. These were organised by Bill Hamilton, Bowman Hunter, and Bert Little with the Guild members stocking and manning many of the stalls selling goods - soft goods, cake and candy, white elephant, etc. Other organisations ran side-stalls such as hoopla, wheel of fortune, putting, treasure hunt, ice cream etc. Sunday School pupils were often recruited to sell posies of flowers, handkerchiefs, guess the number of sweets in a bottle, etc.
The guild was probably the main fund-raiser for the church over many years. Some evenings were organised simply as "work parties", usually to provide soft goods for sale at the Garden Fete. This activity has now been taken over by the Social and Fund-raising committee.
The Guild Meeting commenced with a hymn, prayer, a bible reading, a hymn during which the offering was taken, and a prayer. Any business was then discussed. The speaker was introduced and spoke for about 20 minutes. After the vote of thanks, closing prayer and benediction, tea and fellowship took place. Speakers were often invited, sometimes from the guild members. Topics varied widely - personal experience, travel, missionary work and topics of general interest to the members.
Demonstrations, such as flower arrangement, cake decoration, needlework and other crafts were popular.
The membership at the time of writing was 29.
The Guild closed in July 2002 due to falling membership.
A survey among the women in the congregation established that there was a demand for a different sort of women’s meeting and so the present Women’s Fellowship was formed in August 2002.
Their meetings are held once per fortnight and include a speaker or demonstration on a wide range of subjects.
Started in 1967, they met fortnightly on Monday evenings. At their meetings they usually had talks or demonstrations, e.g. baking, cake decoration, flower arranging, etc. Sometimes they visited other young wives groups or had outings, e.g. Tunnocks and Lynburn Centre for war blinded. The first president was Mrs Mina Neilson; Vice President - Mrs Marion Allison; Secretaries Mrs Joey Laird and Mrs Margaret Glen; treasurer Mrs Betha Stewart; tea convenor Mrs Nan Neilson.
The young wives continued meeting for about 25 years although the ladies attending changed over the years, as the ladies were expected to join the Guild at the age of 40. They met in the afternoons for a short time but this was not a success.
The walking group started in 1990 with the help of some members from the B.P.R group in Shotts. The first walk in September 1990 was a sponsored walk to Nine Mile burn in the Pentland hills. This was to raise funds for the new hall. This was so successful that a second walk was arranged to "The Whangie" in October and a meeting was held in January 1991 to draw up a programme of walks beginning in March. At that time the walks were on the first Sunday of every month leaving at 2 p.m. This continued until October as it was dark too early in the winter. The walks included climbing the Munros, coastal walks and valley walks. This pattern continued until 1997 when it was decided to arrange some Tuesday walks all the year round. These left at 9 a.m. and allowed more time for longer walks.
In September 2000 the tenth anniversary of the group was celebrated by repeating the walk at Nine Mile Burn and dinner at the Bentley Hotel, which included entertainment by members of the group.
The completion of the new hall in 1992 provided much needed facilities and gave a boost to activities that previously had not been possible. One of the first was the "Thursday Club" meeting for two hours on a Thursday afternoon. This was designed to provide a facility for the retired people of the area.
Originally, with the help of the Men's Club, the first hour was spent playing carpet bowls. After a cup of tea the men continued bowling while the ladies ran a "keep fit" class. Due to the popularity of the bowling, and the difficulty in obtaining a keep fit tutor, the bowling finally took over the entire afternoon. Some ladies, however, prefer to sit in the small hall and play table games.
In conjunction with the men's club, and with the aid of local authority grants, further carpets and bowls were purchased so that three carpets are now in use.
Bonkle Day Care Project commenced service provision on 8th April 1992, with 11 members attending. By September 1999 over 400 places had been provided for elderly people. The members attending weekly was approximately 40.
The service, which was a practical expression of the Christian ethic and beliefs, arose from parish concern for the general well-being of ageing members of surrounding communities. The Project received funding from the Scottish Office Urban Aid Fund until November 1998. At this point the Policy & Resources Committee of North Lanarkshire Council continued to support the Project. The Social Work Department of the Council provided financial assistance.
New legislation will required provisions beyond the capacity of the Church Halls where all services were based. The Kirk Session concluded that a new Day Care Centre should be planned and be nearer the centre of Newmains.
Staff involved in providing care were assisted by approximately 15 volunteers. . Students from YMCA, Springburn, Lanark and Motherwell College came to the Centre both to assist with the service and to acquire the skills and experience necessary to proceed to full time care careers.
The daily programme changed according to the needs and wishes of those attending. The Project successfully managed to support many people until their needs overtook the capacities of day care and they required to move on to full time residential, nursing or hospital care.
The Project had the atmosphere of an extended family where members looked forward to the care, stimulation, support and friendship of others at the Centre Many members were housebound and rarely had opportunities, other than day care to meet and socialise with others of their age group. Disabilities and frailty abounded among members, but the very association with others seemed to enable individuals to manage their own diminishing capacities/faculties with greater courage and patience.
Daycare became a registered company in July 2001 under the heading BANCEP (Bonkle and Newmains Care for the Elderly).
This had provided a high standard of care for elderly people over a period of 20 years. During that time, however, Health and Safety and fire regulations became more strict and considerable upgrading of the premises took place. It became obvious that custom built premises would be required and a search was made for a site. Available sites were few and many were heavily contaminated.
Finally, however, the conditions of the grant were changed to favour care of the elderly in their own homes. As part of the success of the project was social contact, it was decided to close the project, a great loss to all concerned.
For some years a short service was held on a Wednesday afternoon for members of the daycare and other elderly church members. Due to the drop in numbers, this was discontinued.
House groups started in 1991 as a joint venture between Bonkle and Coltness churches. .
At each meeting the groups were issued with a topic for discussion which could be taken from one of the books from the bible, a video, or from some other source and was accompanied by questions and group discussion. At the end of the meeting prayers were offered about things appropriate to that time. Many people found their faith strengthened through the house groups through sharing with one another.
The new church hall provided facilities for badminton and the club was started in early 1992.
At first there was a feeling of disappointment, that so few from our church seemed to be interested in the project and for many months only about eight players attended regularly.
At this time Mrs Nicol met a group of ten Chinese university students, and on learning of their interest in badminton, she invited them along. They enjoyed it so much that they continued to come for almost four years and travelled many miles to join us every Monday evening.
As they were a fine Christian group, and were very good badminton players, they were an asset to our club. After almost four years, their studies completed, they were due to go home to Singapore. On the last evening together everyone gathered round the piano for singing, an uplifting experience to hear the foreign voices singing hymns with such great gusto. After singing Auld Lang Syne, they presented the club with a small picture of a ship in full sail with a message written in Chinese, which translated as
May you receive blessings in plenty, may the soft winds blow gently on your sails, bringing you peace as you journey through life.
Such is life that we may never meet again, but happy memories are always something to be remembered and cherished. .
Over the years club numbers and enthusiasm started to grow, and there were at one point around thirty players, aged 17 to 85 the juniors meeting at 6.30 p.m. and adults at 8.00 p.m.
Table tennis was also played.
From 1996 Matthew Gray has been acting as our secretary and, with the help of his mother, kept our tuck Shop well stocked. Colin McMillan, one of the original eight players, was treasurer for some time.
Jean Nicol. President.
Closure of daycare left halls vacant during the day (except for Thursday afternoon Thursday Club).
In March 2010 a survey carried out to find uses of the halls during the day. This indicated that there might be a demand for keep fit, dance, tea and chat/table games, carpet bowls and to a lesser extent for badminton and computing. These were offered for 4 weeks during September but the suggested demand did not materialise except for computing. This was formalised in January 2011 and rapidly increased in numbers until 3 sections were required. Old computers were donated allowing club to run. A grant was obtained from the Coalfield Regeneration Trust allowing the purchase of 5 new computers and in September 2011 a broadband connection was installed. Aim – to bring older people into the digital age. Requirements vary from very basic use of the computer and Internet to more specialist uses such as photo-editing and route planning using digital maps.
Further grants were obtained from Restructuring Care for Older people, Foundation Scotland and SCVO Digital Challenge allowing the purchase of Tablet computers. Social outings to places of educational interest and for lunch were also introduced.
Training of the teenagers of the area always seems to have been a priority of the Church. For many years this was the "Minister’s Bible Class". The subject for the Church sermon and that for the Bible Class was published in the "Wishaw Press". The subject for the second Sunday in January, 1900, was "Mourned as killed, but alive".
During the early part of Rev. Hill's ministry the Bible Class was conducted by him and met after the Sunday evening service. The housing in the area, now considered as suitable only for single people or couples, then housed large families, and the Bible Class filled the bottom of the church and overlapped into the balcony indicating a membership of about one hundred.
Towards the end of Rev. Hill's ministry this became the "Youth Fellowship" and was conducted by the young people themselves. Capable young people conducted their own worship and praise and also held short services in the homes of elderly people of the area. Guest speakers were invited and other social events, such as socials and visits to places of interest were organised. This continued for some years but as these young people grew up and married they were not replaced due partly to the decrease in young people in the area. The Fellowship finally closed in 1961 leaving nothing for the 14 year olds and upwards when they left the Sunday School.
In the early 1970s concern was expressed in the Session about the lack of activities available for the youth, BBs, Scouts, Guides and Youth Fellowship having ceased to exist.
In 1972 a club was started for youth on Saturday mornings. This consisted of films alternating with aeromodelling. One of its members, Angus Fraser, won both the Scottish Aeromodellers Junior Championship and Junior Glider Championship in 1973. This group, consisting of about 40 members, provided the incentive to restart the Scout and Guide troops.
Other young leaders were found and the Youth Fellowship was restarted. In 1974 it is recorded that the fellowship conducted the evening service. This group remained active during the 70s and the newsletters record many of their activities such as speakers, visits and events in which they were involved. This finally dropped away and a Youth Club was started on Sunday evenings in early 1978 with a membership of 20. A Bible Class was also started for 1st and 2nd year secondary school pupils to be held at 10.45 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
In 1986 a Youth Club was formed, under the leadership of adults A. Pringle and J. Penrice to cater for these young people. This met in the church hall after the evening service, mainly for games.
In 1990 Kevin Simpson became leader. Activities included games, Christian teaching, and weekend camps. In 1992 the club joined the Crusader movement and participated in many national events, winning the Crusader football finals in Birmingham.
Each year new members were added from the younger Crusader groups and stayed in the groups up to age 19.
The teaching of young people has always been considered of prime importance in any church. Initially the teaching was more formal than it is today and probably reflected the methods in use in the day schools of that era.
Like the day schools, examinations were available and certificates were awarded (examples appended). In March 1932 ten Sunday School pupils sat the examination the results being 2 honours, 5 merits and 3 passes.
Around the 1940s each child was given a small booklet which gave a Bible reading, shorter catechism, and motto text for that Sunday. The pupils were expected to come to Sunday School with the text committed to memory, and part of the teaching would be for them to read the prescribed passage from the Bible. Most of the lesson would be in the form of a story. As the teaching was carried out in the church after the morning service there was little possibility of activity work and any that was carried out would have to be devised by the individual teacher.
In 1942 a Children's Choir was in operation.
In the Summer the Sunday School arranged a "trip" for the pupils. After the second world war this was usually by bus to such places as Ayr. Prior to this it was a "picnic", often to Murdostoun Estate. The pupils contributed towards this, but in 1944 the war limited the supply of books for prizes, so the outing was free.
From 1983 onwards a series of Teacher Training classes were run at Bonkle Church and certificates awarded. Later these courses were offered at central locations.
For a number of years (1950s) The Scottish Sunday School Teacher was in use. This included stories and some suggestion for activity work.
For many years prizes (of books) for good attendance were awarded to the pupils at a special service in June. In 1984 this practice was discontinued and a "points system" introduced. Children were awarded points for attendance and bringing their Bibles. They could then exchange their points at any time for prizes such as pencils, rubbers, notebooks etc. They could use their points each week or save them up for something bigger.
The prize giving service was replaced by a youth service. Children moving from the 3 - 5 age group to the 5 - 7 age group were presented with a Good News Rainbow Bible which they were encouraged to bring with them each week as this was tied in with the teaching material.
From 1930 a Young Worshippers League was run. As the Sunday School was after the church young people were encouraged to go to the morning service and prizes were awarded for good attendance. This was restarted in September 1984 but finally ceased in the 1990s.
In 1977 a change was made to the time of the Sunday School to coincide with the morning Church Service as it was felt that the late timing was affecting attendance due to greater availability of activities on a Sunday afternoon. The children now went into the church and participated in the early part of the service leaving after the children's address for their own activities in the hall. This also gave a better opportunity for activity work.
In the 1970s the Church of Scotland produced the Baird material. This was a scheme designed to give coherent teaching material throughout the length of the child's stay in Sunday School. Workbooks were also provided for activities.
One notable presentation at the 1975 prize giving was to Margaret Clinch who had perfect attendance at Sunday School for a period of over 11 years, her entire membership at the Sunday School.
In 1983 a change was made to the Scripture Union material. This had the advantage of providing a teacher's magazine tied to individual pamphlets, which were given to each pupil every week to provide a wide and varied activity based learning package. A switch to the Good News Bible was also made as this material was based on it.
A keyboard was purchased to lead the singing in the Sunday School.
From 1983 some of the special services were video recorded.
During the summer John (now Rev.) Mitchell and his wife ran a "Summer Club" of games on a Saturday morning for the Sunday School pupils.
During the 80s the Sunday School numbers started to drop, and it was thought that the lateness of the service was not helping.
The size of the Sunday School reflects the social trends within the area. Most of the original housing consisted of only one or two rooms, but these held large families, and most of the church, upstairs and down, was required for the various Sunday School classes. Now these houses are considered only fit for a couple. Other social factors have meant that most of the people in the immediate area are retired and the number of children has dropped accordingly.
Crèche In order to aid the attendance of mums with small children a Crèche was started. The Sunday School now caters for all age groups from young babies to people in their early teens.
M. Allison. I. Glen
The Junior Choir started in 1952 with Ian Ireland as conductor and May Stewart as accompanist. The choir consisted of thirty-five young people in the age range eight to fourteen. Their reportoire contained church music, Scottish songs and choral pieces.
The choir held annual concerts in the church hall and in the church at Christmas and Easter. They also visited such places as Hartwood Hospital. In the 1953 concert Sydney Devine from Cleland, then a boy whistler, took part. He became a well known Country and Western singer.
The guest artist in the 1953 concert was 14 year old soprano Sheena Scott from Lanark who also became well known in later life.
At Christmas the choir entertained the local population by going out carol singing.
The choir was disbanded in 1955, a great loss to music in the church.
When Mr Hill married his second wife, Annie Colquhoun, she started the Lifeboys in 1954. Mrs A. M. Hill (wife of minister) was leader. Mrs J. H. Clelland, Miss A. K. Millar, Sarah A. Quinton, Bert Little, Gordon S. Grossart, Plantation Church, Glasgow, became officers. There were 35 boys at the start. In 1957 Agnes A. McGregor and John Irvine became officers in the Lifeboys.
At that time Alan Maxwell was acting Captain at Morningside. Due to shortage of staff Morningside ceased. Bert Little contacted the boys of the company to encourage them to join Bonkle.
The Brigade was formed in February 1953 with Bert Little as Captain, Rev. R. S. Hill (Bonkle minister) as Chaplain, Gordon S. Grossart, Plantation Church, Glasgow, Peter Wilson, Douglas Donaldson, Jim Curry, and Ian Ireland as officers. The company contained approximately 35 boys. Later Ian McGregor became an officer.
The company met in the church hall on a Friday night with the bible class held on Sunday morning. A church parade was held every month from Meadowfield Place.
Normal brigade activities were held, including physical training, drill, first aid, and signalling.
Summer camps were held each summer at Scalpsie Bay (Rothesay) for three years, South Shields, Kirkcudbright, and Nigg Bay. Archie Nelson acted as cook.
One of the Rothesay camps was cut short due to Tom Young taking scarlet fever.
At Nigg bay, the grocery van was "commandeered" to take the boys into Gatehouse of Fleet for the Saturday dance. During this camp the boys woke up to find the tents flooded and spent the rest of the camp in the hall of Nigg church. After the soaking, Mrs Little insisted in rubbing the boys' chests with Vick. .
The company also had two football teams which played in the Wishaw Battalion League, winning the trophy on several occasions. Beetle Drives were run on Saturday evenings to raise funds for the football strips.
Under Gordon Grossart, the brigade excelled at drill at many of the brigade competitions.
In 1958 the company was disbanded.
Bert Little became adjutant of the Wishaw Battalion, helping to found other BB groups in the area, including St Mark's.
Bert died in 1971.
Tom Young, Jean Davie (nee Little.)
The first Bonkle Guide Company was formed in October 1933, meeting in the newly constructed Scout Hut. The Captain was Miss Jenny McDonald and the Lieutenant, Miss Ritchie. The Company consisted of 30 girls who met on a regular basis until 1967.
There was a break in activities from 1967 till 1974 when the Company was re-formed under the Adult leaders Mrs Netta Fair and Mrs Edwina McAlpine. The Company then consisted of 20 Girls meeting in the church hall
The Colours were found, together with the original bankbook in 1976. The old Queen's Colour is unique in that it is the oldest and largest Colour in the District.
In 1979, the Bonkle Church Board decided to replace the windows in the Church Hall (now the Small Hall) with unbreakable glass windows. The Guides offered to pay for the largest window. This offer was accepted and a plaque was placed beside the Guide window.
Until the present day, the 1st Bonkle Guide Company has served Bonkle Church in a number of ways such as helping to serve tea at the Senior Citizens' Concert and helping at the Annual Fete. The Company also played their part in helping at the celebrations for the 250th Anniversary of Bonkle Church on 16 August 1987.
Many of the girls have taken part in the Newmains Civic Week, Joyce Owen being crowned queen in 1978 and Emma Gracie in 1993. In 1986 they entered a float with a gardening theme which won first prize.
The Company celebrated its 60th Anniversary on 3rd December 1993 in the church hall. The programme contained prayer, bible reading, songs, stories and "campfire".
It is hoped that the guides will continue to have a close connection with Bonkle Church for many years to come.
(Edwina has a folder containing photographs and listing all guide leaders)
In 1934 a Brownie Pack was formed in Bonkle. Mrs Archibald, Miss Eadie and Mrs June Glover's mother were Brown Owl, Tawny Owl and Unit Helper respectively.
The troop moved up to Allanton but in 1974 the Brownies returned to Bonkle and Mrs Christine Owen became Brown Owl with Mrs Jean Russell and Mrs Janet Wolseley as helpers. Two years later Mrs Owen moved to Chesterfield and Mrs Wolseley became Brown Owl with Mrs Russell becoming Snowy Owl. The Pack continued to grow and at one time had 31 Brownies.
On the first Saturday in June the Brownies had their annual trip - this was usually to Edinburgh as there was so much to do and see.
Mrs Williams joined us and became Tawny Owl and later Mrs Wilson came along to help as we prepared to put on a concert to celebrate our fiftieth birthday in 1984. This took place in Coltness Church Hall.
Mr Frame was called on to the stage to give the Grace and was surprised and delighted to receive a card and a present as it was his birthday. The concert was a great success and all 24 Brownies enjoyed the experience .
Mrs Williams gained her Pack Holiday Licence and Mrs Wolseley her Quarter Master so they were able to take the Brownies away at first to Gowan Park near Crossford and latterly to Douglas West. Mrs Finlay joined us and became Unit Helper (1987?). In November 1994 the Brownies had a party to celebrate their 60th birthday.
In June, 1996 Mrs Wolseley retired after 21 years. The occasion was at a BBQ held in her garden.
Mrs Williams then became Brown Owl.
A Rainbow Troop has also been formed.
The Scout Troop was formed in 1912, the Rev. George Fraser, minister of Bonkle Church, being the first Scoutmaster. They met in the church hall which was not ideal for their purposes. After saving for 21 years a new Scout hut was opened in Church Road by J. F. H. Houldsworth of Coltness in November 1933. The platform party contained Mr A. M. Ritchie (chair), Mrs Ritchie, Mr H. G. Watt (Scoutmaster) Mrs Watt, Rev. Alex Gillies (Bonkle minister), Mrs Gillies, Mr Thomas Russell, Lady Stewart, Murdostoun, and Mr D. B. Scott (District Association secretary). Mr Ritchie presented new colours to the troop. The celebration continued in song and verse.
The 30' by 20' hut, wood on a brick base, was built by Mr Gray and Mr Cassells with assistance from the Scouts and their parents who also constructed the fence. Coltness Iron Works installed gas. The hut contained ladies and gents cloakrooms and the walls were decorated with reproductions of famous paintings. A half size billiard table was donated by Daniel Smart.
The Scoutmasters at this time were Hugh G. Watt and Alex. Baxter. Shortly afterwards a Cub group was started by Miss A. Arnott.
In September, 1937, the troop celebrated its 25th anniversary. On Sunday a special "All Scout" service was held in the Scout Hut grounds. Neighbouring companies of Scouts and Guides paraded with the Bonkle companies. The address was given by the Rev. George Fraser, MA, Stoneyburn, a former minister of the church who was the first Scoutmaster of the troop. The praise was led by the Coltness Silver Band.
During the 1950s the Scout leaders were Archie Riddoch, Henry Archibald, David Binnie and Willie Good. In the 1960s - Angus Rattray, Houston Harvey, Jackie Shearer and John Drylie.
The troop continued until 1967 when all Scout and Guide movements ceased. Shortly afterwards the hut was demolished and land sold for housing.
In the early 1970s no uniformed youth groups were in existence in Bonkle. The start of Saturday morning club in 1972, with its attendance of about 40 young people, provided the incentive to restart the youth activities. The church offered £50 to any group restarting.
In 1974 Bill Clark approached Bob Thomson and Hugh Cunningham to restart the Scout troop. Bonkle Church sponsored the troop and it started meeting in the church hall. Cubs were started under the leadership of Margaret Lennox and Bessie Clark.
Other leaders during this time were Jim Willis, John Penrice, Alex Donnelly, Billy Pringle (Scouts) and Mary Clinch, Margaret Clinch and Margaret McCormick (Cubs)
Later, Beavers were started by Isabel Donnelly and Rena Thomson. A Venture Scout group also functioned for a time.
Due to problems in finding leaders, the Allanton group joined with Bonkle in August 1993. The Scout leaders were then Lillian and Laura Beattie and Cub leaders Hew Colquhoun, Willie Morrison, Mary McVittie and Mrs Margaret Smith. In December 1994 the group moved back to Allanton, there being only one Bonkle boy in the Troop. He left in 1995 to join a Wishaw group leaving no Bonkle Scouts.
There is still a strong group in Allanton.
During the years the Scout Troop has won many awards including Area Flag and District Flag, District Hiking Challenge, and swimming events.
There are now no Scouting activities in Bonkle but the Guiding activities continue.
References - Wishaw Press Nov. 1933 and Sept. 17 1937. Bob Thomson, Hew Colqhoun.
Crusaders is a UK wide youth organisation which began in London in 1906. The mission of Crusaders is:
“To reach today’s young people for Christ, prepare them for responsible Christian living and develop their gifts of leadership for tomorrow’s world.”This is achieved by running local youth groups, aimed at un-churched young people, and providing opportunities for young people to explore the Christian faith and what a relationship with Jesus would mean for them.
Crusaders celebrated their centenary in 2006 and then in 2007 changed their name to Urban Saints. Today, over 20,000 young people belong to Urban Saints groups around the country.
The local branch of Crusaders started in 1990 with the junior groups being held in Coltness Memorial and the senior group held in Bonkle, the latter group stemmed from the youth club being held at that time. The age of this group ranged from 13yrs+ and was lead by Kevin Simpson (Development Worker) and Anice Pringle. Other leaders who became involved through time were Lilian Nelson, Joyce MacLeod, Jane Ann Macmillan, Eddie and Joyce Kean.
David Geddes used to take youngsters to Comrie for weekend retreats- a Christian centre. Jim Winning’s favourite annual event was at Whithaugh Park at Gretna.
This group met on a Sunday evening and consisted of Religious Teaching and games, there were also weekends away organised throughout the year. Unfortunately this group finished up in 2003 as the leaders had taken on other commitments due to the vacant charge at the time.
Other Notable Events
Over 400 people filled Bonkle Parish Church on Sunday 16 August 1987, to celebrate the 250th anniversary.
Members from neighbouring churches of Allanton, Overtown, Cleland, Coltness Memorial, Morningside, Cambusnethan North, Cambusnethan Old and St. Brigid's joined the Bonkle congregation at this special service.
Preaching the sermon was special guest the Right Rev. Duncan Shaw, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
The Moderator of the Presbytery of Hamilton, Rev. J. H. Louden Melrose took the reading.
Long service certificates, and a special certificate was presented to Mrs Elizabeth Hamilton who joined the church in 1927 and was the longest serving member. (see separate entry)
Among the hymns sung by the choir was one composed 100 years ago to commemorate the 150th anniversary.
The Rev. William Frame said: "It was a marvellous day, one of the best in the church's history. The church was filled to capacity and nearly all the people at the service came to the buffet afterwards."
Celebrations continued at the weekend with an exhibition in the church hall. On display were many photographs and artefacts depicting the history of the church.
In conjunction with the celebrations a book was produced by Miss Jessie Brown called "The First 250 Years Of Bonkle Congregation".
A special communion service was held on September 20 in the church and a ceilidh was held in Newmains Community Centre on Friday, September 11.
ORDER OF SERVICE
Celebration of the 250t h ANNIVERSARY
of the life of the congregation Sunday l6th August 1987
Right Rev. Duncan Shaw Ph.D., Th. Dr., Moderator of the General Assembly
The Rev. J. H. Louden Melrose MA., BD. Moderator of Hamilton Presbytery
The Rev. William H. Frame B.Th. Minister of Bonkle Church
Mr John MacDonald, Session Clerk
Mr Harry Inglis, Organist
* * * * * *
The congregation will stand as the officiating ministers enter and take their places.
Words of Welcome Rev. W.H. Frame
Hymn 424 (CH3)
Thy hand, O God, has guided
The flock, from age to age;
Greetings from Rev. J.H. Louden Melrose, Presbytery
Prayer Rev. J.H. Louden Melrose
Scripture Lessons Mr John MacDonald
Hymn 615 (CH3)
Heavenly Father, thou hast brought us
Safely to the present day,
Dedication of Offering Rev. W.H. Frame
Hymn 103 (CH3)
Breathe on me, Breath of God;
Fill me with life anew,
Sermon Right Rev. Duncan Shaw
Hymn 388 (CH3)
The King of Love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
Right Rev. Duncan Shaw
Presentation of Long Service Certificates to:-
Jessie Brown, Agnes Willis, Charlotte Hobson, Harry Inglis and Ian Glen.
Presentation of special certificate to Elizabeth Hamilton who joined the church in 1927, the longest serving member.
Right Rev. Duncan Shaw
Prayer and Lord's Prayer Rev. W.H. Frame
Hymn 368 (CH3)
Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Right Rev. Duncan Shaw
Three Fold Amen
The congregation will stand as the officiating clergy leave the church.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
O God whose loving hand has led
Thy children to this joyful day,
We pray that thou. wilt bless them now
As, one in thee, they face life's way .
Give them the power to make a home
Where peace and honour shall abide,
Where Christ shall be the gracious Head,
The trusted Friend, the constant guide.
References to increasing the size of the church hall are frequent throughout the minutes of Bonkle Church. The hall had been altered and extended on various occasions. A sketch is attached to show what are believed to be original outer walls and doors. These alterations had left the hall "L" shaped, the bottom of the "L" being used mainly for storage, as was the small anti-room. Proposals for more extensive building had always been defeated on the basis of cost. When the church was linked to Coltness Memorial in 1980 the sale of the manse created a fund of around £30,000 which could only be used for certain purposes - one of which was extension work. Early in the ministry of Mr Frame the then Fabric Convener, Mr John McDonald, drew up various sets of plans for hall extensions. The cost was still considered to be outside the abilities of the congregation. When Mr McDonald relinquished the post of Fabric Convener he passed other plans on to Dr. Ian Glen. The cost of a simplified version of these, using wooden inner and brick outer skins, was assessed by a friend at £40,000. Due to the impending retirement of Mr Frame, the ensuing vacancy, and the appointment of Mr Duffin, an opportunity to discuss hall extension did not present itself until 1989 when the Congregational Board decided to investigate the possibility of a hall extension.
During the ministry of Mr Frame the finances of the church had improved significantly for various reasons - better collections, high interest rates on the money invested in the Church of Scotland account, the lower burden of a shared ministry, and various fund raising efforts. The available funds now stood at £59,000
A local architect was employed to draw up preliminary plans. The estimated cost was about £60,000 and approval for construction of the hall was given by the board on 14 May 1990 and the project went forward to the planning stage. The final cost was estimated at £61,726 but when the plans were submitted to Motherwell District Council they applied the rules of a "Conserved Area" and amendments were imposed as follows:-
A) The proposed brick outer skin to be replaced by stone blocks on all sides to blend with the outside of the church
B) The tiled roof had to be replaced by a slate one to match the church (fortunately this was successfully appealed against)
C) The windows had to be in proportion to those on the church.
D) Car parking space for 16 cars must be provided.
This increased the cost to £79,540 plus approximately £12,000 for fees and other work and the entire project was in jeopardy. Various decisions were then made to cut costs.
A) The hardwood floor replaced by a ply floor covered with vinyl.
B) Central heating to be installed by young plumbers within the congregation
C) Young unemployed people on the government funded Community Industries scheme were to be used to construct the car park, toilets and cupboards and alterations within the old hall.
Even with these economies the Church of Scotland was asked for a loan of £ 8,000
The Congregation approved the tender from McNeish of £61,000 + £6,000 architect fee + £6,000 for cost of materials for heating and car park. This was accepted by the board on 16 March 1991 and work started on 3 June 1991.
During the period of construction elders Stan McEwan and Ian Glen, both recently retired, carried the responsibility of supervising and assisting in the construction work. The problem of closing the gap left by the old hall door was solved by Robert Rodger who carved the stone cross.
The work was finally finished at a cost of £ 80,243.89, including cost of heating and reconstruction work in the old hall. The Church of Scotland loan was repaid by 24 November 1993.
The new hall was dedicated on Saturday 1st February 1992 by Rev. J. B. Allan who was moderator of Hamilton Presbytery in 1990 - 1991, the then moderator, Rev. Nearmonth, being ill.
Presentations were made to Ian Muir, his friend David Johnstone (plumbers), Stanley McEwan and Ian Glen in appreciation of their work.
The new facilities now enabled such activities as fetes, sales of work, ceilidhs, and other social activities to be held. Existing organisations benefited e.g. The Men's Club were able to purchase carpets for the biassed bowls. New organisations started - badminton, the Thursday (afternoon) Club, and a day care project for the elderly. The group who ran a sponsored walk to raise funds for the hall became the church walking group.
During the 1990s the Internet and the associated World Wide Web became more and more prominent, the growth accelerating towards the end of the century. The introduction of free Internet service providers gave another boost in 1999.
The Church of Scotland had just established a web site, and Bonkle Church first produced one in August 1998 on one of the few free sites available at that time - Geocities (www.geocities.com/bonklechurch). Coltness Memorial Church was added early the next year, followed by a site for the Sunday School. In January 2000 Bonkle acquired its own domain name - www.bonkle.org.uk - and the Bonkle Church, Sunday School and Ian Glen's personal site on Bonkle were incorporated.
The site has proved popular with people from the area now staying abroad, especially as the Church magazine is published on it and correspondence is regularly received from these people.
One unexpected result of the web site was a wedding. Brian and Katie Keiffer, California, USA, "surfed the net" to find a church to be married in and chose Bonkle. After enquiries, Rev. Graham Duffin conducted the service on 28th October, 1999, a Church Elder, Ian Glen, acting as "Best Man". A number of the congregation attended and presented the couple with small gifts.
To start the new millennium the church bell was rung starting on the stroke of 12 - probably the first time the bell has been rung to celebrate the start of a new year.
This was held during the week of 25 November. Church and other local organisations were asked to take stalls, the theme being "Bonkle - Past, Present and Future”.
Many of the exhibits contained photographs of past and more recent events which stirred up many memories for those attending. A computerised slide show showed Bonkle past and present.
Old items - mangles, girr and cleek, miners lamps etc. were included in the display. An elder of "yester year" was present dressed in the costume of those years - top hat and tails.
Hymn Books and Bibles- past and present - were on display.
Films (on video) were shown of past and present events, including an old one of George Elder and his guide dog delivering milk to people in Bonkle.
Representing "Today and Tomorrow" young Sunday School leaders worked on computers to show the Bonkle web site and to send and receive e-mail for those present.
Rev. Graham Duffin showed a video on the 10/10 project. He gave each of the organisations of the church £10 with the object of increasing it to £100 by the end of the year 2000. The funds raised from this project would go towards providing orphanages for the children in Africa who had become victims of HIV. The sum raised from the two churches was £12,000
Bonkle Congregation has had its ups and downs through all the generations. Let our prayer be that, our Church be built up again to stand on its own as did those seven elders who believed in their right of worship. (J. G. Brown)
Today in Scotland we worship our Lord in freedom. Let us still retain the belief of our Covenanting forefathers that the head of the Church is our only "Mediator, Jesus Christ into whose honour and offices nor man nor angel dare to intrude."
• Jessie G. Brown wishes to acknowledge:--
• Mrs C. Walker for inspiration and information. Bonkle Kirk Session and Congregational Board for access to Church Records.
• Motherwell Library (Information Department) for help in research.
• Mr Arthur Nicol for advice in printing and setting out.
• Also all others who helped in various ways.
Acknowledgements - Millennium Edition.
Our thanks go to Miss Jessie Brown who carried out the historical research for the first edition. There is no "single author" to the Millennium Edition. The articles on the various organisations have been contributed by persons connected to these organisations to whom go our grateful thanks. Their names appear at the end of each article. Thanks also to our proof readers - Margaret Sherriff, Jean Russell and Margaret Glen.
It is hoped that a computer CD-ROM disk will be produced shortly. This will contain this book, the articles by Rev. Winchester, other newspaper articles, the present web site, and a collection of photographs of Bonkle Church, church organisations, and Bonkle area, mainly in colour. These will be produced to order only. Watch our magazine for details.
First kirk at Bonkle
Congregation, 250th Anniversary
Congregation, Sept. 1999
Rev. Graham Duffin (Moderator)
Mrs. Marion Allison Snr
Miss Marion Allison Jnr
Mr. David Geddes
Dr. John Glen
Mr. William Hendrie
Mr. John Hislop
Mr. Harry Inglis
Mr. Edward Kean
Mrs .Edwina McAlpine
Mr. John McAlpine
Mr. Stanley McEwan
Mrs. Mary McGhie
Mr. Kenneth McLeod
Mrs. Jean Nicol
Mrs. May Park (Clerk to Board)
Mrs. Anice Pringle (Session Clerk)
Mrs. Ann Smith
Mrs. Laureen Sinclair
Mrs. Marie Williams
List of Board Members. (other than Elders)
Mrs. Thea Beattie
Mrs. Marjory Boyd
Mrs. Margaret Glen
Mr. Matthew Gray
Miss Margaret Gray
Mrs. Joan Hillan
Miss Ann Jenkins (Treasurer)
Mrs. Ray Hislop
Miss Janette Logan
Mr. Colin McLelland
Mrs. Jean Russell
Mrs. Margaret Sherriff
Mr. Tom Young
To develop the church of and for tomorrow. A people focused on living for Jesus and drawing others into the heart of God's family.