HC Deb 30 May 1916 vol 82 cc2556-7
22. Major PIRIE

asked the Under-Secretary for War is he aware that no church accommodation has been arranged for the many thousands of Presbyterian troops in Ripon, although a request was forwarded by the officer commanding the third-line group, Highland Division, for the use of the cathedral and Holy Trinity Church for services between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays, the vicar of the latter consenting, but which the highest legal and spiritual authorities refused; and, seeing that the. Presbyterians of Scotland are therefore singled out to worship in dining huts, whether he will confer with the ecclesiastical authorities to secure a dispensation of a temporary nature, so that at a time like the present those professing the Christian faith could hold their services in sacred edifices built for Divine worship?


I appreciate the difficulty which appears to have arisen at Ripon in the provision of opportunity for Divine worship for the Presbyterian troops. I do not, however, think that they can rightly be described as being singled out to worship in dining huts. In hutted camps special buildings for military services are not provided, and the different denominations make use of the sacred edifices built for Divine worship which already exist in the neighbourhood. If, as appears to be the case, there are no such buildings for Presbyterians in the neighbourhood, a difficulty obviously arises. I will consider whether the ecclesiastical authorities cannot be approached, with a view to the nave of Ripon Cathedral being made available.


May I point out that in Salonika the ecclesiastical authorities of the Greek Church have placed their churches at the disposal of the Presbyterian troops, while the same has been done by the authorities of the Catholic Church in France?


A very interesting and creditable fact.