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lated by the Rev. James Malcolmson,* the missionary clergyman in St. Luke's mission district.
Where the future Church of St. Luke is to stand, the ground is at present laid out as garden-ground, a bed of moss-roses literally covering the site of the proposed church, and giving rise to the remark from a friend to the missionary clergyman, 'I hope it may prove a bed of roses.' • We
may be thankful indeed if it is our privilege to plant the Rose of Sharon there,' was the grave reply.
At the annual meeting of the ‘London Diocesan Home Mission,' held at Willis's Rooms on the 9th of June, 1868, the mission district of St. Luke's, Deptford, was brought forward, both by the Bishop of London and the Rev. J. Bardsley, superintendent of that society, as a specimen of the manner in which its mission-work is carried on.
The Bishop of London said :
"You all know the town of Deptford. Certainly it is not a very promising place to look at. I do not know any town which, in outside appearances at least, exhibits greater symptoms of neglect of ordinances, and of people left to do exactly as they please. ... The report points out what is doing in the mission station established in that place-how the poor themselves come forward to assist, how there is now a regular parochial clergyman and others who are conducting the Mission, and how thankful the clergyman of the parish is for the services bestowed willingly by the Missionary whom we send; and the Missionary and his temporary place of worship is the second of those Missions which we have sent to Deptford.
“You have been told in former reports of what was doing at Deptford, and how a small place in the saw-mills gradually developed itself into a church. That is not the place alluded to in the report of this year, but the successor of the place first spoken of. The place in the saw-mills having done a good work, has been developed into a well-built and, thank God, a well-filled church, and there, for years, one of the first specimens of the way in which work can be carried on has been existing
“This is a great encouragement for us. .... It prepared the ground for work which succeeded it. That work has been well done for a number of years, and has assumed a practical form, and a successor has come again in new missionary efforts, to be developed into a new parochial organization.'
The missionary clergyman of St. Luke's thus writes in his last report to the Council of the London Diocesan Home Mission :
"The real work of this mission has now been going on about a year, and during that time there has been steady and, we trust, solid progress. The temporary church, always well attended from the time it was opened, is now crowded on Sunday evenings-sometimes inconveniently
There is great and urgent need for more accommodation, as two evils have already manifested themselves. Scarcely a Sunday passes
* 47, Florence Road, New Cross, S. E. + Christ Church, Deptford ; also in St. Paul's parish.
without someone in the congregation being taken ill on account of the church being so crowded; and what is more trying still, the people of the fast growing conventional district, on coming to church and not finding comfortable accommodation, go away disheartened, and do not present themselves again.
“The church was licensed for the administration of the Lord's Supper just before last Whit-Sunday, and we have now upwards of fifty regular communicants. Our church is quite self-supporting as to current expenses.
My visits to working-men in their homes in the evenings have been well received, and I find little difficulty in making those visits ministerial by having the family brought together for reading the Scriptures and prayer.
A chief feature of the mission has been the true spontaneity of feeling evoked amongst the working men with regard to aiding and helping on the work. When our temporary church became regularly filled, without saying anything either to myself or acting warden, it was resolved by some of them to give timber and labour; and in the course of a few evenings, after their own work-hours, they provided seats to accommodate forty more people in church !
'In October last a meeting was called to consider what preliminary steps should be taken to secure a permanent church. A working man got up in the meeting, and said he thought the best preliminary step would be to open a subscription list; and such was the earnestness with which the suggestion was taken up, that about £70 was subscribed that evening.
“At the same meeting another person arose and said, “I'm a poor working-man. Work is scarce, bread's dear, children's many, but put me down five shillings; and when you've got a church, I hope you'll soon get a school for the children too!” Several at the meeting promised to give quarterly or half-yearly subscriptions until the church was completed. Soon after this, the Rev. George Blisset, of Wells, who has been so liberal in his benefactions to this and other portions of the metropolis, gave great encouragement to the work by a promised donation of £200.'
“We have now,' writes Mr. Malcolmson in August, "upwards of sixty communicants connected with our temporary church, several of whom never went near the Lord's Table before our church was opened. ... We shall need all the helps and aids and influences we can possibly muster,' for (and here perhaps is the strongest plea we can urge on behalf of St. Luke's Mission District) the entire deanery of Greenwich, in which the parish of St. Paul, Deptford, and consequently the mission district of St. Luke, is situated, has been transferred to the diocese of Rochester; therefore their connection with the Bishop of London's Fund is partially severed. In consideration of the difficulties which this change might involve, the committee of the Bishop's Fund have resolved to maintain all existing annual grants in full up to Midsummer, 1869, then to reduce them to half up to Midsummer, 1870.
With regard to special grants for the erection of churches, &c., the committee resolved that no old engagements should be extended, nor any new engagements entered into. The effect of this resolution being that the grants made would lapse at the end of two years from the date of the original vote, unless previously taken up. The Mission District of St. Luke will under these circumstances only receive a grant of £500 from the Bishop of London's Fund towards the erection of the permanent church, instead of the £1,200 at first anticipated ; and it is necessary that this should be taken up with as little delay as possible; in fact, from now till 1870 should witness the entire organization of the parish, and the commencement, if not the completion, of the permanent church of St. Luke. As no similar system for taking up the work thus commenced has yet been organized in the diocese of Rochester, the missionary clergy necessarily look forward with some anxiety to the completion of the work they have in hand.
* How I began the work of the Mission’ is thus described by Mr. Malcolmson in one of the occasional papers issued by the Bishop of London's Fund. He says,
“My work, so far, has been of a somewhat tentative character, consisting of house-to-house visitations, speaking to idlers at the street corners, a mission to the wood-cutter boys on the Sunday mornings, and the organization of a circle of cottage Bible-classes, which I regard as of essential service in leavening the outskirts of a district like mine, where the population is somewhat scattered. The classes in operation have been well attended. The most interesting feature in my work here has been the mission to the wood-cutter boys on Sunday mornings. On my first Sunday here I met with seven lads, of ages varying from fourteen to eighteen, behind a brick-kiln, playing at “pitch and toss,” and smoking tobacco. As soon as they saw me coming up to them, they pocketed their pence, but continued smoking. Dirty and in rags, I asked them if they wished to ruin their health? The answer was
“No.” “But you are doing so by smoking away at this rate," I observed. “Yes,” exclaimed one boy, “that chap (pointing to one of his fellows) smokes an ounce a day.” “ He may well be in rags, then," I continued ; and this was readily assented to by most of the boys. I then inquired, “ Did you ever go to any school ?” “Yes,” answered most. " Then why did you give it up?” “Because the others in school laughed at us on account of our ragged clothes,” they replied. “ Would you like to go to a school now, if I could get one of boys like yourselves ?" To this they said, “Yes.” On this, I asked, “Do you know of any room near here where we could meet?” “Yes, there is our woodshed, in Penny Bundle Lane,” said one of the smartest of the lads; “I dare say you can have that, only Mother uses it to wash in sometimes.” I was shown the place, and secured the use of it for the following Sunday morning
• The next Sunday I found eight boys assembled in the wood-shed, which is twelve feet by six in area. At first they seemed to regard my coming amongst them to teach them with derision; but I proposed to read to them the account of St. Paul's voyage. When we came down to the part about “the south wind blowing softly,” and the tempest immediately succeeding, picturing it out as a representation of life, one lad exclaimed, " That is just like what has been at our house; for we were better off, but two of us were sick, and one died.” From that moment the boys were softened, and I had thenceforth no difficulty with them.'
And thus, in this promising place, the wood-shed where Mother sometimes washes,' in the inaristocratic-sounding locality of Penny Bundle Lane,' the Missionary began his work. And no wonder that the boys were the first who took to’ the mission. More than once it has been our pleasure to hear the Missionary address a large school, with that peculiar aptitude for speaking to children which can scarcely fail to win the young; and what a happy thing for those poor wood-cutter boys to receive in their own little wood-shed those lessons of life and truth which alone can guide them on the troubled pathway of life.
Poor lads! we could ill light our fires every day in London without their services; what can we do for them in return?
It always strikes one as very sad that so many of those who minister to the comforts and the necessities of the upper classes are to be found congregated together, just where their work or their poverty keeps them, almost lost sight of amidst the masses, and, but for missions such as these, with none to care for or to watch over them.
Feeling a great interest in the progress of this Mission, and knowing the Missionary clergyman as a personal friend, we gladly availed ourselves of an invitation to go down to Deptford, one summer's afternoon, and see all that we could of the Mission district.
To pay a visit to Deptford and not see all that we could of its great sights, would have been out of the question ; so, starting from 47, Florence Road, we went through a considerable portion of the town, first visiting the old Church of St. Nicholas, Deptford, to see the monuments of the Evelyn family. In this church is a full-length portrait of Queen Anne, intended originally for St. Paul's Church, but brought, so said the old sexton, to St. Nicholas's Church by mistake, where the authorities refused to give it up.
St. Paul's Church had a far more serious loss than this in the bells which were cast for it, but never hung, owing to an error in the erection of the campanile, and which are now at Greenwich parish church.
One street was pointed out to us, in which, some few years ago, every family kept their carriage, but which is now inhabited entirely by working people, generally two or more families occupying each house. Evelyn Street, Czar Street, Peter Street-names in themselves recalling the past—were all shown to us. At length we entered the dock-yard enclosure. Some of the officials connected with the dock-yard are attendants at the Mission Services at St. Luke's, and a ready welcome was given to the Missionary clergyman and his visitors. From one place to another we went, up this staircase and down that passage, and along yonder gallery, till, without a guide, we might easily have been lost among the marine stores. Here was the pattern-room, with specimens of everything required in the equipping and working of the ships, from the enormous shots used for the Palliser guns, down to the ingeniouslycontrived lamps which are to throw the light wherever it is most required, this one being for the engine-room, and that one illuminating the letters which indicate the course by which the vessel is to be steered. Then there was a long gallery filled with stores of sail-cloth, that marvellously strong manufacture, a strip an inch wide (and that not the strongest) being placed in the tester to show us that it would bear a pressure of more than five hundred pounds to the square inch before the threads gave way; and yet such is the power of wind and weather, that we were told it would only last, in constant use, about a year! Here was the room where the women whose husbands had been killed or incapacitated by accident in the service, found employment by making up the colours and signals used in the navy; but all this is at an end now, for contractors and sewing-machines have done away with the poor women's work, and now that everything must be done so cheaply, it would be quite impossible to compete with contractors. And there was the store filled with tons of copper ; long round pieces of various thicknesses, to be cut by a machine into the lengths required for 'bolts,' as they are called, that is, the pieces that are used instead of nails in joining the planks of wood together in ship-building. This was pointed out, with the remark that the value of one compartment would go a long way towards building the church, for there were tons of copper there, all valued at one shilling the pound. Outside, in the docks, one vessel in an incomplete state of building was shown to us as our youngest, and our last;' for the shipbuilding at Deptford is all to be done away with, and the extensive ground used as a place for stores, and perhaps work-rooms for making up the various articles of naval clothing. Thus one class of workingmen and their families will drift away from Deptford, to be replaced probably by another and a different class.
Then we were conducted to the Seaman's Library, filled with stores of books both instructive and entertaining, all bound in the usual regulation
A good library is supplied to every vessel, and upwards of twenty thousand books are thus sent out every year, including to every vessel a copy of ‘Hymns Ancient and Modern, so that all seamen may be reminded, when far away on the wide ocean, of the familiar words and tunes of their home-life.
A considerable portion of what is now the Store’ was formerly a monastery, or a nunnery, upon which King Henry the Eighth had laid violent hands, and thus taken the first step towards appropriating it to its present uses.
One small window remains exactly in its original size and shape, but all the others in the same wall (the original wall of the old building) have been greatly altered in size, if not in position. There seemed to be hardly any traditions about the ancient building or its inhabitants, but there was one very low arched doorway in the side wall, with an ornamental coping, which bore the date of King Henry's time. By stooping very low, we crept through this doorway into some