Minister in war of words over cash
A Balfron Parish Church minister was at the centre of a cash dispute with his presbytery after agreeing to join up.
Mr Alexander Cameron Campbell was angry at being asking to pay towards the cost of church work in the parish while he was away serving the country.
He issued two pastoral letters, explaining to parishioners about the dispute with Dumbarton Presbytery.
Mr Campbell had been cited by presbytery to answer charges of why he refused to make “sufficient supply for ordinances in the parish”, and claims he “deliberately” neglected to reply to its correspondence.
The views of the 44-yearold Glasgow-born minister plus an exchange of letters between him and presbytery officials was printed in the Observer.
Readers learned how Mr Campbell had responded to a suggestion from senior church figures in presbytery that all ministers of military age should consider enlisting either as combatants or with the Royal Army Medical Corp.
It was felt that the services of Mr Campbell, a fully qualified doctor who was over military age, would be particularly welcome to the military and RAMC.
Presbytery resolved to “relieve ministers who enlist of all responsibility for their respective parishes, and undertake the duty of supply and pastoral work in a parishes temporarily deprived of its minister”.
Mr Campbell later enlisted for up to a year as an officer in the King’s Service and received the rank of lieutenant in the RAMC at Stirling Castle.
A Dr Mitchell, Killearn, was instructed to confer with the Kirk Session at Balfron and his own Kirk Session with a view to giving services in both parishes, with occasional help from Dr Barclay, Fintry.
Mr Campbell said he was never consulted about the contingency arrangements during his absence. But he added: “After I enlisted in the Army and thus ceased to be a free agent it (presbytery) demands that I contribute financially towards the maintenance and ordinances in the parish and calls me to answer why I refuse to do so.”
He also was clearly irked by letters to him from presbytery demanding to know why he had not responded to its correspondence on the issue.
“It seemed to me selfevident that clerics who formed that complaint enjoyed the comfort of their own manses and plenty of leisure time,” he added.
“Do I require to remind the Presbytery of Dumbarton that the minister of Balfron, acting on the suggestion of its own committee, is now an officer in HM’s Service and a medical officer at that.”
He promises to answer in due course presbytery’s questions about the cash issue and his alleged tardy response to their letters but tells church officials his wartime work, for the moment, has to come first.
He added: “Willingly and promptly, at the Presbyterial committee’s bidding I enlisted to lead a very different kind of life from that led at Balfron; as willingly I shall return to my pastoral duties if and when the military authorities decide.”
Itseemedtome self-evident thatclericswho formed that complaint enjoyed the comfort of their own manses and plenty of leisure time