Ship of Fools: Gilmore Place Free Presbyterian, Edinburgh, Scotland


imageShip of Fools: Gilmore Place Free Presbyterian, Edinburgh, Scotland

Beautiful psalm singing in an atmosphere of absolute misery

Read the full Mystery Worshipper report here


Comments

  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Thank you so much for this report.I have wanted for a long time to attend service there and even tentatively arranged with a church of Scotland minister for us to go together, neither of us have so far dared to enter the building..
    About twenty years ago one of the principal members of this church (who was the Lord chancellor of England) attended the funeral of a distinguished Scottish Law Lord which happened to take place in a nearby RC .church. The Lord Chancellor was severely upbraided by the church authorities which caused a schism and led to the foundation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches. I have to say that before this I had never heard of the Free Presbyterian Church and would have confused it with the Free Church of Scotland.
    The interesting thing about this church is that attendance at one of their services would let one see what a typical Scottish Presbyterian service would have been like 170 years ago before the introduction of harmoniums and hymns.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I am ploughing through a document entitled Statement of Differences between the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the other Presbyterian Churches in Scotland. It contains many gems, but very relevant to the MW report is this:

    The visible Church in Scotland is awash with Liberalism, Romanism, Pentecostalism, Arminianism, and Neo-Calvinism. The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland seeks to maintain a testimony to the following biblical doctrines, among others.

    It is little wonder to me that with this and many other similar comments, the MWer found an atmosphere of absolute misery.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Reminds me of a sermon I once heard by the now Archbishop of Sydney ( then Bishop of Parramatta) on the 3 evils of feminism, relativism and the contraceptive mentality in contemporary RC thought….
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Sojourner wrote: »
    Reminds me of a sermon I once heard by the now Archbishop of Sydney ( then Bishop of Parramatta) on the 3 evils of feminism, relativism and the contraceptive mentality in contemporary RC thought….

    We have a bishop who only ever preaches on two topics, the Real Presence and red button issues. Never on social justice or the environment.
    Its totally dispiriting.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Yes, Catholic friends of ours had hoped that the then Bp of Broken Bay (the diocese here) would be appointed. but he went to Melbourne instead.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Let's not wander too far away from the reporter's observations on the service in question.

    @Amanda B Reckondwyth
    Lead Editor, Mystery Worship
  • kingsfoldkingsfold Shipmate
    I have to say it rather reminds me of a similar report for St Jude's, free Presbyterian Church in Glasgow.
  • kingsfold wrote: »
    I have to say it rather reminds me of a similar report for St Jude's, free Presbyterian Church in Glasgow.

    Yes, very similar (apart perhaps from the much longer sermon at St Jude's!).

    I would guess that, with all due respect, and given the nature of their ecclesiology etc., most Free Presbyterian Church services are going to be as alike as the proverbial peas-in-a-pod.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    kingsfold wrote: »
    I have to say it rather reminds me of a similar report for St Jude's, free Presbyterian Church in Glasgow.

    Their church's patron saint seems....apt.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    I hope it's not a "hopeless cause" to try to keep the discussion on topic.

    @Amanda B Reckondwyth
    Lead Editor, Mystery Worship
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited July 20
    Comparing the 2, and hoping that I'm within the Hostly guidance, this observation:

    The emphasis on sin and man's depravity and unworthiness infusing every single part of the service

    from the Glasgow service is much as picked up in the report of the Edinburgh one. Considering the strong role played in each by the Psalm, it's strange that none of the joy in so many of them seems have found its way into the congregation.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Hard to keep the thread on topic when the bottom line is misery
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    the singing of the Psalms in the Free Presbyterian Church as indeed in the Free Church of Scotland,along with their various offshoots from schisms is something very special.
    It is in many ways like a cappella Gregorian chant in the RC church.or like the singing of the Psalms liturgically in the Orthodox church. In all of these communities the singing of the Psalms was and is a major part of the liturgical music.
    When I have visited communities of the Free Church of Scotland (NOT THE SAME as the Free Presbyterian Church) the Precentor ( the man who begins the Psalm singing) would only sing the first opening line,whereas it seems that here,as was once widespread in the Church of Scotland the Precentor would start each line and then be joined by the congregation.
    What does the Precentor do in an Anglican cathedral ? I'm sure I've seen that title..
    Catholic churches,Anglican churches and most Protestant churches have moved on and introduced musical instruments as well as hymn singing.
    The metrical versions of the Psalms still sometimes used in Presbyterian churches as well as other are not the same thing.
  • I'm intrigued - and a bit worried - by the stuffy atmosphere. The Covid guidance for Scottish places of worship talk about "ensuring there is good ventilation – open windows when indoors", although it's stressed less than here in Wales. Were any windows or doors left open?
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Who knows? But perhaps the goid folk need to keep the winds of change from blowing through the windows and doors
  • Pangolin GuerrePangolin Guerre Shipmate
    edited July 25
    On the topic of Psalms... I had heard of this, and a few years ago found a couple examples on youtube which were done by a BBC (?) documentarian, I believe, on the islands, and I found it electrifying - out of a chaos of sound comes these strange harmonies, reverberations, and micro-tonal differences. I'd love to experience the Psalms live. I'm sure that I'd be quite moved. I'm not Presbyterian (though my mother's family was by tradition), and my only experiences are with the Canadian Presbyterian Church, which, while hardcore, is not so hardcore as described above. There is only one Church of Scotland edifice in Toronto, and while it strikes my decadent Anglican sensibilities as leaning toward the austere, I have been told that they are the Presbyterian equivalent of High Church. My more recent visits have been to St Columba's Pont Street, in London, and they're a relatively modern, cheery lot. I quite like their Rev'd Angus MacLeod- very pleasant man and a perceptive preacher.
Sign In or Register to comment.