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Title: The urban ministry of William Ross and Cowcaddens Free Church (1883-1904) in comparative historical context
Author: Rettie, Sara Elizabeth Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2710 6622
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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During the late nineteenth-century William Ross became the minister of Cowcaddens Free Church Glasgow, which was situated in an area of serious social deprivation. Subsequently the church experienced significant growth and was recognised by contemporaries as an example of successful urban mission amongst the working class. This study aims to explore the reasons for the apparent success of the church and its minister, the influences which formulated their response to the urban environment, and how this compares with the work and growth of other churches within the same locality. The wider aim is to explore the extent to which the social status, activities and work of Cowcaddens Free Church either support or contradict, existing understandings about the place of religion in nineteenth-century working class life and patterns of religious decline. This study also assesses the approach of Ross and his church to ‘social concern’, a subject of considerable importance to evangelicals during the nineteenth-century. The evidence concerning church growth and the social status of the congregation is explored through detailed statistical analysis. Examination of archive material and secondary sources contribute to the formation of a more detailed picture of the local social context in which Cowcaddens Free Church operated, and of the wider Scottish theological and ecclesiological context. The evidence suggests that this was an active, growing, working class church which succeeded in attracting the urban masses to religion, but that it did so through a concentration on evangelistic outreach rather than an emphasis on social concern. As an example of religious growth and successful urban mission, Cowcaddens Free Church contributes to ongoing research concerning the importance of religion to the urban working class, and present understanding of patterns of religious growth and decline during the nineteenth-century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: United Free Church of Scotland