Prayer Diary: Week beginning 1 November: Health services in the parishes

  • So often we take the Health Service and all who work in it for granted. It is only when we hear about the way Health Services operate in some other countries, or the lack of available/affordable healthcare, that we realise how fortunate we are. So we give thanks for it
  • We pray for all who are engaged in the Health Service locally, whether as doctors, nurses, health visitors, midwives, physiotherapists or whatever
  • We pray for the Health Board who plan the delivery of Health Services, and the decisions they take
  • We pray for all the staff and patients in the hospitals which serve Dumbarton: Vale of Leven, Royal Alexandra, Golden Jubilee and the Glasgow hospitals
  • We pray for those who need the help of healthcare professionals, particularly if they have long-term needs

100 years ago, The Battle of Loos

Battle Of Loos 24th Sep – 18th Oct 1915

Battle Of Loos Memorial WindowSometimes life can be hectic, too busy to pay attention to what is around us. Other times there are signs to make sure we don’t miss out…
Towards the end of last month we had to have some electrical work carried out in the sanctuary. As our electrician lifted floorboards to work under the pews he began to notice red coloured flashes from the corner of his eye. Turning round, he realised it was colouring the area of the church around where he was working and was coming from the window. The autumn sun was hitting the magnificent stained glass in just the right way. Being drawn to admire the artwork more closely he noticed this particular window commemorates Captain William McLeod McMillan of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, killed at the Battle of Loos exactly 100 years ago. Touched by this, especially the significance of the date, he mentioned it to Margaret Auld who went out to the church gardens to cut some flowers to place by the window, and opened the remembrance book at the page with William’s name inscribed.
The Battle of Loos was the largest British battle that took place in 1915 on the Western Front during World War I, lasting from late-September to mid-October 1915. Captain McMillan was in the 11th Battalion of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and died at the age of 39. He was the eldest son of Robert McMillan, shipbuilder in Dumbarton and at the time of his death was chairman and managing director of the family firm, Archibald McMillan and Son, Ltd. In 1904 Captain McMillan had married Catherine Young Denny, daughter of James Denny, shipbuilder, a director of the other major shipbuilding family in Dumbarton, William Denny and Brothers, Ltd. Captain McMillan was survived by his widow and two sons.

for more about the battle itself, see

Prayer Diary: Care homes in our parishes

We all like to be independent and do things for ourselves. Some of us reach a stage in life where we need a bit of help and support at home. Some of us need 24-hour support:

  • thank you that there are Care Homes in our parishes which not only offer care and support, but also strive to respect our dignity and independence
  • we pray for residents feeling the stress of being somewhere new and different, and not being able to do what they used to do. Give them patience and grace when dealing with staff, family or other residents, and not let frustrations show
  • Thank you for all the staff and volunteers who work in the homes, cheerfully and helpfully. Be with them, and help them to go on doing that. Give them patience when residents may behave in ways that are challenging
  • Thank you for the different activities and therapies that happen each day
  • We ask for your blessing on residents and staff who are not well, or are feeling apprehensive of the future
  • Thank you for family and friends who are faithful in coming to see us. Help families cope with the mixed feelings they have when someone close goes into a Care Home

 Fact box:

Which care homes are in our parishes?

Castleview    Castlegreen Street

Dalreoch        Westbridgend

Langcraigs    Gooseholm Road

Strathleven   Strathleven Place

Willox Park    Colquhoun Street

Prayer Diary: Messy Church

  • Give thanks for those who come to Messy Church and obviously enjoy it. Some are part of the Sunday worshipping community, some go to other churches, some don’t have much of a church connection. Pray that the links will become stronger and that all may be drawn into the life of the wider church
  • Give thanks for those who organise it and lead the different activities. Pray that others may become involved in the planning and leading – both to include them, and to enable us to have Messy Church more often


This year’s programme is:

Friday 4 September 6pm   The Rock

Saturday 24 October 4pm Hallowe’en

Friday 11 December 6pm Christingle

Saturday 12 March 4pm   Easter

Friday 20 May 6pm           Holidays

Prayer Diary: Harvest

Praise God for the harvest of orchard and field,

praise God for the people who gather their yield,

the long hours of labour, the skills of a team,

the patience of science, the power of machine.


  • With each meal or cup of tea/coffee we have this week we give thanks that we can afford to buy food, it is always in the shops when we need it, we have clean water to drink and it comes out the tap – we don’t need to go and fetch it
  • We give thanks for all the people who play a part in bringing food and water to our table
  • We pray for people who cannot afford to buy nutritious food, or worry how they will keep themselves and their family fed
  • We pray for those who grow their own food and had a bad harvest or worry that it will be a bad harvest this year
  • We pray that those who grow food will get a fair price for their work
  • We pray for fishermen who go out in rough seas to catch fish for our tables
  • We pray for politicians and officials who make decisions about trade arrangements, subsidies, and such like


Fact box

  • 795m people (more than the combined populations of the EU, USA and Canada) do not have enough food to lead healthy and active lives
  • More people die from hunger each year than AIDS, malaria and TB combined
  • 1 in 4 people in Sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished
  • In the UK roughly 1/3rd of food purchased (6.7m tonnes) is wasted each year

Source: UN Food and Environment Progammes

Prayer Diary: Sunday School

  • Thank you, Lord, for the children who come to church. May they enjoy their time here, learn about you and come to know you themselves
  • We pray for those who work with the children. Thank you for their commitment. May they feel inspired, and enjoy what they are doing. Help us all to give them the encouragement and support they need
  • Help us to know what to do to increase the number of young people in Sunday School, and what to do to keep their interest as they grow older
  • We pray for children who are no longer able to come because they have other (often sporting) commitments on a Sunday morning – you never forget them, may they not forget you
  • We pray for parents and families as they seek to help children and young people grow up knowing you

Dorothy Wordsworth

Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of the more famous William (see visited Dumbarton in 1803 (see her account here:…/wordsworth-…/09.html) and again in 1822. On a tour of our churchyard she commented on the grave of William McAlla, a young soldier who died falling off the the top of the eastern part of Dumbarton Rock, then a garrison. The inscription on the gravestone contains a verse:
“In memory of William McAlla, Light Company, Ayrshire Militia, who was cut off in the flower of his youth by a fall from the East Rock of Dumbarton Castle, 26th June 1812, in the 24th year of his age.

No more the shrill reveille shall conveyWilliam McAlla Grave
Unto his breathless corpse the dawn of day,
No evening drum will beat
To him the tidings of the sun’s retreat;
No more he’ll breathe the sweet salubrious gale,
Nor listen more to love’s unwearied tale,
Nor tune the pipe to nature’s charming choir,
Nor yield again to youth’s ecstatic fire.

This stone was erected in his memory by his brother officers.”

Dorothy was not impressed with the quality of this verse, commenting that she considered it rather poor.

Captain James Lang

Captain James Lang, a renowned steamship skipper who gave his name to the pub The Captain James Lang in the High Street, is buried in the churchyard at Riverside. The gravestone is a little worn now, but a modern plaque next to it preserves the inscription. The full text on the original stone reads:

“Agnes Lang, in memory of her husband, Captain James Lang, who died 15th June 1850, aged 45 years; also their daughter Marion Houston, who died 22nd January 1842 aged 2 years and 3 months.”

Dumbarton Riverside Facebook Photo of the grave

St Columba’s Day School event

On St Columba’s Day (9 June) Dumbarton Churches Together, through their Dumbarton Christian Heritage project, invited all P7 children from Dumbarton schools to visit the Castle together and learn about the town’s history. Lovely sunny day. Provost and Keeper of the Castle attended a short service where children from the school expressed their hopes for the present and future in their prayers.

images now online here