Read at the Sunday service on 4 September 2011.
Excerpt from Ron Ferguson’s biography of George Macleod.
The national Church of Scotland, which once commanded the allegiance of the bulk of the people of Scotland, was by 1843 reduced to one Presbyterian denomination against several. Its recovery by the end of the century was due in no small measure to the leadership of Norman Macleod, the minister of the Barony Church in Glasgow.
The Barony, next to Glasgow Cathedral, had some of the worst slums of the city in its parish. In a flurry of activity, Norman organised district meetings for adult education, founded the first Congregational Penny Savings Bank in Glasgow, set up a refreshment room where people could get cheap food, and established a reading room. New recreational facilities were organized, the mission staff of the church was increased from one to five, the congregation held parish missions, six new churches were created in the parish.
People crowded into the Barony Church to hear Norman preach. His biggest concern was that the poor were excluded because they didn’t have proper clothes to wear or couldn’t afford the seat rents; his solution was to hold special services at which people who were respectably dressed were turned away. 1400 people, all dressed in working clothes, regularly filled the church and some of the people in the congregation were members of the Glasgow upper class who had dressed down for the occasion. Moleskins borrowed from their servants helped them slum their way in.
Visit this Wikipedia link to read more about George Macleod: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_MacLeod