Charles Strong (1844 – 1942) minister, social reformer, magazine editor
Charles Strong became known as one of the leading preachers in Melbourne. He emphasised practical Christianity. The Scots’ Church Convalescents’ Aid Society was formed in 1879, followed by the Scots’ Church District Association in 1881. Its major work was the care of neglected children (continued today as Kildonan Uniting Care). Along with his wife, in 1885, he founded the Melbourne District Nursing Society which is today known as the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS)
Charles Strong was the third son of the Rev. David Strong and Margaret Paterson, née Roxburgh, and was born at Dailly, Ayrshire, Scotland. Strong was educated at the Ayr Academy, Glasgow Academy, and in Arts and Divinity at the University of Glasgow 1859-67.
Strong was licensed as a preacher on 2 October 1867 and became an assistant at Dalmellington, Ayrshire. On 7 October 1868 he was ordained to the Old North Kirk at Greenock which was then a chapel under the oversight of the Old West Kirk.
In 1872 Strong married Janet Julia Fullarton (daughter of Archibald Fairrie Denniston); they would have three daughters and five sons together.
In May 1875 Strong was chosen as pastor for the Scots’ Church, Collins Street Melbourne, Australia, replacing Irving Hetherington. Strong and his family arrived on 23 August 1875.
Strong’s ministry was a success and he became known as one of the leading preachers in Melbourne. He emphasised practical Christianity. The Scots’ Church Convalescents’ Aid Society was formed in 1879, followed by the Scots’ Church District Association in 1881. Its major work was the care of neglected children (continued today as Kildonan Uniting Care).
Strong’s liberal views on theological matters, however, led to suspicion by some in the Presbyterian Church. In 1880 attention was called in the presbytery to a paper submitted by Strong titled “The Atonement” which appeared in the Victorian Review; a committee appointed to investigate the article reported that some passages required explanation. The charges appeared to some to have been tenuous, one of his principal accusers said of one passage that “the words were perfectly harmless in themselves but conveyed an impression of unsoundness to his mind”. By most they were seen as inadequate given his obligation to assert, maintain and defend the doctrine of the Presbyterian Church. Of course Strong had come from a relatively liberal Church of Scotland to a church that was the result of a union in 1859 including Free Church of Scotland and United Presbyterian ministers. What might have passed in Scotland without great upheaval was likely to take a different turn in Victoria.
With continuing friction in the presbytery, Strong tendered his resignation on 8 August 1881; however he agreed to take six months leave instead at the request of church officers and the congregation. Strong left his family in Melbourne and visited Scotland from March to October 1882 after a speech by a Scots Church elder, J. C. Stewart, reignited attacks on him.
Further information : http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/strong-charles-4658
Kildonan Uniting Care
Kildonan UnitingCare is one of Australia’s oldest community organisations, being first established in 1881. http://www.kildonan.unitingcare.org.au/
Melbourne District Nursing Service
Founded as the Melbourne District Nursing Society in 1885, the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) was an initiative of the Rev. Charles Strong (1844-1942) of the Australian Church, whose wife was a Nightingale nurse with experience of district nursing in England. The society was a voluntary organisation run as a subscriber charity. Nurses, often accompanied by members of the committee, tended the sick poor in the city and the inner suburbs, working in association with the Melbourne Ladies’ Benevolent Society in cases that needed material aid. From 1894 to 1951 the society also offered a home-based midwifery service, and in 1931 it opened one of Melbourne’s first antenatal clinics. Its willingness to innovate was also evident in its sponsorship of Melbourne’s first birth-control clinic, coyly titled the Women’s Welfare Clinic, which operated from 1934 to 1940. The society also established the After-Care Home (later Hospital) in Collingwood, which opened in 1925. Rapid expansion in the postwar period challenged the voluntary basis of the service. Taking the title of the Royal District Nursing Service in 1966, it was increasingly absorbed into the metropolitan health-care network, by 1992 offering domiciliary care to the sick and the elderly from 15 regional centres across the city and suburbs.
The Royal District Nursing Service : http://www.rdns.com.au
Also The Royal District Nursing Service (Victoria) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_District_Nursing_Service_(Victoria)
The Benevolent Society of New South Wales : http://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/the-benevolent-society-of-new-south-wales/
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