Tag Archives: manse

The Tramp and The Lord’s Prayer

One afternoon,  a tramp – called at rural manse, asking to see the minister.

I’ve been a country minister on two occasions, and was regularly visited by such gentlemen of the road, who either wanted ‘money for food’ (usually of the liquid variety with an alcohol content of 8% & better known as a ‘Carly Special’) or food itself.

This particular minister was surprised, however, when his visitor said that he wanted ‘spiritual support’

The minister was delighted and ushered the man into his study – at last here was someone apparently not on the scrounge…..someone, instead, seeking spiritual support.

‘Do you know the Lord’s Prayer’?’ he asked the tramp.

A bit of a blank look.

‘It begins ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..’

The tramp interrupted, ‘Excuse me, Minister, but did you say ‘OUR’ father?’

‘Yes, indeed’

‘OUR….does that mean YOUR Father & MY Father are the same…you, know, if it’s OUR Father?’

‘Well, certainly’

‘Then if it’s OUR Father, we share a Father, so therefore we are brothers?’

The Minister replied, ‘of course, we are’

So the Tramp then said: ‘Well, you would not want your brother to be getting about wearing dreadful old boots like these!’

As a result of that interchange, the Minister sent the Tramp off to the local village cobbler to get his boots repaired.

A week later, the Minister happened to be in the village and was passing the shoemakers workshop.

The cobbler shook his head when he saw him.  ‘That was a daft thing to do!’ he said to his friend, the Minister.  ‘It’s going to cost you £10’

The Minister thought for a moment.  Then he asked the cobbler, ‘Do you know the Lord’s Prayer?’

‘Yes, of course I do, I’m in the Kirk every Sunday; Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…’

‘OUR Father’ you said just now?’

Yes, OUR Father which art…’

The Minister cut him off again. ‘OUR?  So that means that YOUR Father and MY Father are the same?’


‘And OUR Father is also that Tramp’s Father?’

‘Yes, I suppose so’

”Then, if YOUR Father is the same as MY Father who is the same as the Tramp’s Father…that makes us all brothers?’

I suppose so’ came the reply.

The Minister then opened his wallet, took out a note and said:

‘Here’s £5….you pay the other half of your brother’s footwear bill!’

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Three times Jessie brought Sandy to the manse, hoping to be made man and wife, but each time the minister refused because of the groom-to-be’s intoxication.
‘Why do you persist in bringing him to me in such a state?’ asked the minister. ‘Please, Reverend,’ explained Jessie, ‘he’ll no’ come when he’s sober.’

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The Meenister’s Log

I used to get chancers regularly coming to the Manse when I was in a rural parish in Perthshire – usually it was “money for food”

Initially, I’d do this (I was very naive) and, of course, the money would be spent on booze.  I then started giving them actual food (remember one time we’d just come back from the supermarket with, amongst other things, a very fancy cheese – can’t remember what it was – and some crusty bread and Normandy butter.)  Cut up the cheese, tore off a big chunk of bread and buttered it; then handed it over.  Found it, uneaten, the next day, thrown over the wall of the farmyard next door

Then I’d invite them into the Manse kitchen for a bite to eat ….. surprisingly, they suddenly had a pressing engagement which didn’t allow them time to accept my invitation.

Another was “money to buy petrol for our van – we came here looking for my grandmother’s grave and have been driving here there and everywhere, and we’ve not enough fuel to get back”. Answer – “You’re in luck – I’ve got an account at the local filling station; let me phone them and say you’re coming. They’ll put it on my tab”.

Funny how they disappeared before I got back from the phone!

Just a few years ago, I was waiting at the Whitesands (Dumfries) to meet somebody at the bus stance.  This guy came up to me and said that he didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket to Stranraer;  muggins give him a fiver and then watched as he went into the tobacconists opposite, where I found him buying tobacco and cigarette papers to make roll-ups.

I told him that he was a very naughty fellow (or words along those lines!) 

Bold as brass, without apology, he offered to give me half of his purchase “to show that there’s no hard feelings!”


My major concern is that elderly people can by conned in this way – and, sadly,  it’s happening too many times these days.

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Do you read the Bible?

The Meenister’s Log

A couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses once came to the Manse.   Now, I know it was the Manse, as the words “THE MANSE” were writ large in wrought-ironwork on the gate of the Manse.

I invited them into my Study, and having exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes, one of them asked if I ever read the Bible.  And did I in fact posess a Bible?

I seem to remember directing their gaze to one of the book-shelves which contained several different translations and versions of the Good Book, including one in Greek and another in Hebrew.

Silence descended

Mind you, they probably weren’t convinced that I had read any of them, as they made their way out through the gates which still boldly proclaimed “THE MANSE”


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