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Bonkle Church of Scotland Magazine

Christmas 2017

Scottish Charity Number SC006540

Next issue – Easter 1st April 2018

Closing date for material –2.00 pm Sunday 11th March


Communion – Sunday December 3rd

The Moor Kirk of Cambusnethan

From the manse

As we enter the season of Advent and come towards the end of the year and the start of a new one our thoughts turn to reflect on the year past. Attacks on civilians by terrorists using vans and lorries as weapons are sadly becoming almost commonplace. In the past few weeks we have witnessed tragic scenes in Texas as a community was torn apart when a lone gunman entered a church and opened fire on the congregation killing innocent men women and children. Closer to home we realise that this year has seen the passing of a number of our members and friends, something that has been painful for us to deal with. When faced with violence, natural disaster or ill health we may look at the world around us wonder if there is light in it at all.

Now you may understandably think that this is a pessimistic start to a letter for this joyful time of the year; and in one sense that may be the case, but to ignore the reality of the situation we find ourselves in would fail to acknowledge God’s presence in our present reality and experience. In another sense, the Christmas story speaks through the insecurity, the violence, the brokenness and the uncertainty of our current day. Sometimes there is a temptation to sanitise the story of Jesus birth, imagining it to take place in a time of peace and joy. The reality however, could not be farther from this. For Jesus did not come into a world of peace. He was conceived by a single mother, born in an occupied country ruled by a puppet king who, hearing of His birth, slaughtered innocent babies in an attempt to destroy Him. He and his parents became refugees in a foreign land and it was only later that they were able to return, following Herod’s death. God is well aware of the brokenness of our world. He saw His Son born into it and die because of it – but more than this, He sent Him because of it, sent Him to deal with it, to die for it and to bring forgiveness and hope to its people ... to you and me. Christmas is not a time of escapism, it is a time which reminds us of the reality of God’s love and the depth to which He stoops for our sake, such is His love. So take heart this Christmas and celebrate, Emmanuel, God with us.

Please, if you can, join us over Christmas at one or more of our services, details of which can be found on the relevant pages of this magazine.

On behalf of Doris, Emma and myself, can I thank you for your love and support throughout the past year, and may I wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas.
Your friend and minister Graham Raeburn

Our first Kirk

The congregation was formed in 1724 and build the Moor Kirk of Cambusnethan (later called Dura Kirk) in the grounds of Daviesdykes. The cover photo (with a bit of trickery) shows what the first Kirk would be like. Much of it has now fallen down. If you wish to visit it, from Bonkle go through Allanton to the roundabout at the Shotts side and turn right past the school. After about a mile, you will go over an old railway bridge. The church is on your right within the trees.

Note that there were almost 1,000 people staying in the area at that time.
Why was a church built here? Read on.


In 1688 is a memorable period in British history as the date of the Revolution, when the last of the Stewart kings, James II was driven from the throne and Protestantism was firmly established under William and Mary. In the Revolution Settlement which followed in 1690, Presbyterianism was finally restored in Scotland, and the dark days of the persecution of the Covenanters came to an end. An act of the Scottish Parliament that year abolished the patronage of the Church.

When the Covenanters were in power they made it law that congregations should choose their own ministers. But when Charles II came to the throne this was set aside and the right of presenting a minister to a vacant charge was granted to the chief landowner in the parish, who was known as the "patron".

The 1690 Act put an end to this form of patronage. The right to nominate a minister for a vacant parish was vested in the "heritors, being Protestant, and the elders". (Heritors were the landowners of the parish.) The congregation had the right to approve or disapprove and the Presbytery had the final say.

Five years later the United Parliament restored the rights of the patrons bringing new trouble for the Church and it led in 1733 to the forming of the Secession Church. As days went by, many patrons pressed their rights and forced upon congregations, ministers who were unwelcome, sometimes with the help of the military.

The leader of the opposition to this was the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, minister of Stirling.

The case came up at the next General Assembly. The Rev. Ebenezer Erskine was rebuked and admonished from the chair without being allowed to read his protest which had been countersigned by other three ministers.

Mr Erskine and the three ministers who had signed the protest were "bidden" to appear before the August Commission to express their regret and retract the words they had written. This they were unwilling to do, and after being suspended from their ministries they were on the 16th of November, 1733, 'loosed' from their charges and their churches became vacant.

At Gairney Bridge, South of Kinross, Erskine met with three others, Rev. W. Wilson of Perth, Rev J Fisher of Kinclaven and the Rev. A. Moncrieff of Abernethy  on 5th December, 1733 and formed themselves into a Presbytery which they called the "Associate Presbytery". Soon after they were joined by the Rev. Ralph Erskine and the Rev Thomas Muir.

It was not until 1737 that any organisation of new congregations took place, beyond the four which had followed Ebenezer Erskine and his three fellow members of the new Presbytery. In that year twelve additional congregations were formed with Moorkirk at Daviesdykes heading the list.

Bonkle Church has the distinction of being the second oldest congregation in the Parish of Cambusnethan, the oldest being Cambusnethan Parish. Its origin is typical of that which occurred at the time of the Secession.

In 1734, the patron, Mr Lockhart of Cambusnethan Manor, presented a Mr Craig of Glasgow to the living of Cambusnethan Parish Church. The parishioners objected. The members and elders appealed to the General Assembly, who remitted to the Presbytery "to proceed in settlement of the Parish as they shall judge best for the edification of the congregation". No decision was reached for some years and the Parish continued in an agitated state until 1737.

In 1737, Mr Wm. Craig, Probationer, was elected to the Parish Church at Cambusnethan contrary to the wishes of a large section of the congregation including seven out of nine elders who formed the session. The elders were named John Bell, David Downie, Robert Keddar, Alex Cleland, James Prentice, George Russell and John Steill. The influential group regarded Mr Craig's settlement as a violent intrusion.

Although invited by Hamilton Presbytery to do so, the elders did not see their way to return to "exercise their office", and with a large following they subsequently cast in their lot with the Secession Church. They formed a congregation at Daviesdykes. This was on 12th July, 1737, when the country was being aroused from spiritual indifference which prevailed, by the indefatigable evangelical labours of the Erskines.

After prayerful consideration of the path of duty they applied for sermon to the Associate Presbytery on the 12th July, 1737. This infant Presbytery which had only been in existence for little more than three years had on its table in 1737, "petitions for sermon" from upwards of seventy places. Cambusnethan (Moorkirk) was one of them. Because the Presbytery at this time had few preachers they were unable to supply the needs of the breakaway congregations. It was decided, however, to send out preachers in pairs on Missionary tours, at the same time advising the congregations to form themselves into "praying and corresponding societies" thus maintaining fellowship in private devotional exercises.

In 1818 the congregation moved to Bonkle and built the first church there.

Photo of this in the next magazine.

You will be hearing much more about this in 2018 as it is the bi-centenary of establishing a Kirk at Bonkle.

Sunday School

Jesus spoke a lot in parables. He used these parables as a teaching tool. It made it easier for people to understand the word of God and brought them closer to Him.

In the Sunday school we have been exploring these parables. We have been singing, painting, crafting and praying. The children have been figuring out for themselves what these stories mean to them.

These parables may be old but they are timeless. They are as relevant in today's society as they were then and they will continue to serve their purpose for many years to come if we open our ears and our hearts to listen.
Please note that the Sunday school Christmas party will take place after church on Sunday 3rd Dec. The party will finish at 4pm.


Computer Club.

With computers now selling for as little as £35 perhaps now is the time to buy one. The club helps older people to become acquainted with, and use, different types of computer. With everything going “on line”, even ordering your prescription, perhaps it is time you joined the “Silver Surfers”.

Wishaw CAP Debt Centre

There have been 2 new clients in the last month; on average, one client per week books an appointment. At the moment we are providing support to 28 clients; 1 person has gone debt free!! We anticipate that another 2 will become debt-free very soon too. It’s always good to see people be set free from debt and the bondage it can bring, but please remember to pray for those who haven’t managed to complete the process and are still in the grip of debt. We are delighted to have support from both the Kings Church, and Clyde Valley Community Church in Motherwell. Both churches have committed to work with us, and to support the centre financially, so that we can reach the people who need our service.

Johnny Cash ‘A journey of faith’ event

The local CAP services jointly hosted an event on Sat 7 October in Viewpark Parish Church, which featured the life, music and testimony of singing legend, Johnny Cash, brought to us by Dave Kelly (CAP regional evangelist from Coleraine in Northern Ireland). This was a great afternoon, and one former client made a commitment to Jesus at the event. Dave also

gave his own moving testimony, as well as telling the story of Johnny Cash’s road to faith, and this made a big impression on everyone. Hopefully he will be back in Scotland next year!

New CAP Sunday film

It’s that time of year again! CAP encourage centres and their partner churches to hold a CAP Sunday service each year. This year a great new film, called ‘Still’, has been produced to accompany CAP Sunday, which tells Kylie’s story and it can be viewed here:

Your centre needs YOU

Every CAP debt centre depends on the local church to operate; it simply can’t be done without you! If you would like to volunteer in some way, whether as a visitor, or promoting our work, please get in touch. Also, we do depend on prayer so we would appreciate if you could commit to praying for our service and especially our clients.

If you wish to contribute financially on a regular basis to the centre’s work, you can set up a standing order to Christians Against Poverty Wishaw. The sort code is 83-28-08 and the account number is 00173460. We would certainly appreciate your support.

Please pray for:

That the Lord leads people to call the helpline and use the services we provide;That the centre is promoted effectively, and its visibility is increased in the local area, and that we find appropriate funding in the future;That our new clients find peace and relief from worry and stress, and that they engage well with the CAP process;

The clients who are suffering from depression and anxiety, that they might find healing, peace and a hope for the future;

That the Lord opens hearts so that we can share the good news of Jesus to clients, and that they respond to that good news;

That the Lord is glorified through this ministry;

Finally, please pray for me, that I carry out my role effectively, and that I show the love of our Saviour to every person I meet, and tell out His word boldly and clearly.

Nicky McLaughlin (CAP Debt Centre Manager)

07400 189398 email:

Film Show.

We hope to arrange a film show which will include old slides of Bonkle and Allanton estate and “movies” of Sunday School activities and other bits.
Are you the person receiving milk from George Elder? Did you win the race at the Sunday School trip? Is it you getting the present from Santa?
Is that you doing the Hokey Kokey? Who is Santa? Are you serving at the stall at the Garden fête?

Come and see.

Blythswood Shoebox Appeal

Thanks to all who supported this    240 boxes are ready for uplift. £480 was raised by Coltness and Bonkle at the lunches recently held to cover the cost of transportation. This was a great effort and thanks to your generosity we can continue this   Thank you to the ladies who knit hats scarves and gloves all year round. Each box contains a hat scarf and gloves so this is a necessary part of the operation

Funerals 2017

Date of
funeral Deceased Address Parish/Cong
08.09.17 Alex Low 499 Cambusnethan St, Wishaw CM
15.09.17 John Glover formerly Brownhill View, Bonkle
19.09.17 Margaret Strefford 29 Woodside Cres Newmains B
26.09.17 Ellen Wilson 1 Cairney Place, Bonkle B
28.09.17 David Brown 184a Stewarton Street, Wishaw
06.10.17 Kevin Campbell 24 Underwood Dr, Newmains
13.10.17 Helen Urquhart formerly 98 Braedale Cres, Newmains B
27.11.17 Jean MacLean 10 Braedale Place, Newmains
07.11.17 Roy Carlyle 9 Eastwood Drive, Newmains

For Your Diary

3rd Dec.



3rd Dec.

Sunday school Christmas party

After Church

3rd Dec.

Christian Aid Service, Coltness

6.30 pm

10th Dec.

Gift Service


12th Dec.

ARK” event, Coltness

17th Dec.

Choir concert, Carluke Baptist Church

6.30 pm

24th Dec.

Joint service, Bonkle with Sunday School

11.00 am

24th Dec.

Watch-night Service, Bonkle


24th Dec.

Christmas Eve service, Coltness


25th Dec.

Christmas Day service, Coltness


31st Dec.

Coltness Memorial joint service

11.00 am