John MacKintosh Chapter X - The Business Man in the
John Mackintosh consecrated his
great business gifts to the service of the Church. This did not reduce his
efficiency in his own business, and it was of inestimable value to the
church officials. The business of the Church was
transacted with as much care and thought as that of a director's meeting
in his own office. The minister in charge often found to his delight that
problems which had cost him many a sleepless night were solved for him,
and burdens heavy to be borne were eased from his shoulder by this expert
financier. After leaders' and trustees' meetings, the members frequently
expressed their astonishment at the ease with which grave difficulties had
been overcome. There is a ministry, for the business man in the Church.
Christian ministers have still to carry burdens of finance from which they
should be relieved by men of business ; as the Apostles said of old to the
members of the early Church, "It is not reason that we should leave the
word of God and serve tables."
The readiness with which Mr. Mackintosh dealt with
intricate business propositions arose from his habit of preparation for
all possible contingencies. He adopted Captain Cuttle's advice, "When
found make a note on." He carried in his vest pocket a scrap of paper and
a short pencil. It was amusing to note how these were produced at all
sorts of odd timesin the street, in church, in
the middle of a sermon, in the dining-room or on the way to the table.
If an idea was suggested to his mind at any time or in any place, out
would come the inevitable pencil and paper, and a sufficient record would
be made in his own style of abbreviated longhand; then at the opportune
moment the slips of paper would be produced, and would be found to contain
a veritable treasury of helpful suggestions.
When a social gathering was
arranged for the evening, it was found that the pencil and paper had been
made good use of during the day. He would keep the interest sustained from
the beginning ; there was never a dull moment, nor any of those chilly
intervals during which people freeze and all life goes out of the
proceedings. His slips of paper contained a list of the most suitable
parlour games, which he not only suggested but entered into with a zest
that was infectious. Reserve soon melted in such a. genial atmosphere,
cares were forgotten, weary faces lighted up with smiles, and hard, grim
people, who seldom allowed themselves the luxury of a hearty laugh, found
themselves joining in the fun. Old people renewed their youth, and young
people never complained that the proceedings were slow."
The good business man hates debt
as he does the Devil. He knows too well what it means to have the worry
and anxiety of loans and overdrafts, and when he enters the councils of
the church he brings his business habits with him. When John Mackintosh
became fully acquainted with the church's finance, he determined that
"Queen's Road" should be freed from financial burdens. The way opened for
the realisation of his vision when the Great War was over. He was filled
with thankfulness for the spared lives of his two sons the eldest had
served in the Navy, and the second son in the Army, the youngest being a
boy at school. Though the younger son had been badly wounded and had lost
his leg, still he had come home, and many other of the "Queen's Road" boys
had returned in safety. He therefore laid his plans before the leaders and
the trustees. It was to be a memorial to the fallen, and an expression of
gratitude to the "Giver of all good" for those whose lives had been
spared. Those who had made the great sacrifice had made victory possible;
their glory must never fade, nor their sacrifices be forgotten. Mr.
Mackintosh undertook to collect £950, the amount of the mortgage still on
the Queen's Road estate, from personal friends of his; then when the
church was free of debt he would invest the sum of £1,000 in the name of
the trustees, the interest of which would be available for church
maintenance. He also asked the church to raise the sum of £300 for various
purposes, in order that all might share in the effort, because, as he
said, he did not want any "one man show." All his schemes for the church
were arranged along these lines, so that the humblest member might have
the satisfaction of being a fellow- worker in so good a cause.
That a man burdened with the cares
of a vast business, and whose health was far from satisfactory, should
undertake to collect nearly one thousand pounds filled all present with
astonishment. They gladly and with enthusiasm accepted the wonderful
offer, and with their hearty cooperation the scheme was successfully
carried through. The church was freed from debt, and its finances were put
into such a healthy condition, that, with wise administration, the
trustees in the future will always be able to meet their obligations.
The two letters
that follow sufficiently indicate the method Mr. Mackintosh adopted to
remove the debt ; the other one thousand pounds to he invested he, of
course, found out of his own pocket. The first letter is addressed to a
personal friend, a citizen of Halifax, greatly esteemed by his
fellow-townsmen, and on many occasions he co-operated with Mr. Mackintosh
in various financial enterprises in aid of the churches they represented.
Dear Mr. - 26th November, 1918.
For many years I have been helping
churches, here, there and everywhere, financially and in other ways. This
help has taken me away at times from my own church, but I have gone on the
principle of helping wherever I could, according to my ability.
"For some years I have thought I
would try, one of these days, to put the finances of my church and Sunday
school on a more satisfactory footing. The struggle every year to keep
straight is considerable. We have a debt of L950 on the estate, and apart
from this, our income is not sufficient to meet the expenditure; and now
things are so dear on every hand it is becoming even more difficult to
"Whilst my health is rather better, I feel it laid upon
me to try and carry through a scheme that has long been on my mind. I feel
sure that with the help of some of my very good friends I can succeed.
"I have mentioned this matter to
some of my friends, and have received promises of substantial help, as you
will see from the booklet enclosed.
"I wonder if you could see your
way to help me? This will be the last big scheme of this kind I shall be
connected with in all probability, and I would dearly like to carry it
through successfully. My health will not permit me to canvass for a big
lot of small subscriptions, so I am, at present at any rate, confining
myself to friends who may feel disposed to help as substantially as they
are justified in doing. I know, like myself, you are pulled at on every
side, but when one has helped others one does feel rather braver in asking
for one's own church,
"Please let the personal side come into this matter. It
is a sincere wish of mine to carry this through to a successful !sue, so
that I can feel that whilst I have been helping others I have not
neglected the church and Sunday school with which I have been associated
from boyhood's days."
The second letter is to an old "Queen's Road" boy, who is now a prosperous
business man in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Dear Friend, 29th January, 1919.
How are you and yours getting on in these war days? I
have no doubt you have felt their influence like all of us. My eldest son
is just back from the Navy and commences business tomorrow. My second son
lost a leg in the war and was taken a prisoner to Germany; he is now back.
He has an artificial limb, and walks well considering the circumstances.
Of course he is maimed for life, but his general health is good, and so
are his spirits, and we can see all around us many men much worse maimed
than he, so we try to be thankful it is no worse.
'At 'Queen's Road Church we have had a pretty clean
sweep of the boys, but they are now dribbling back one by one. Alas some
will never return again. Several have wounds of one kind or another, but
on the whole we think we have been rather fortunate compared with others.
We have been wondering how we could celebrate their
return home and perpetuate the memory of those who have been killed in the
war. I suggested to the friends a scheme, and they are all joining
heartily in the effort, and that is to clear off the final debt on the
estate, and also get rid of some other little debts here and there. When
this is done I have promised to invest C1,000 in the name of the trustees
which will bring in 50 per annum. To be free from debt and have a small
endowment will be a great thing for the leaders and trustees of 'Queen's
Road'after forty-five years of debt. Every
friend of ' Queen's Road' is being asked to help, and at a meeting the
other evening I was desired to write you. You will remember, I have no
doubt, the old days at 'Queen's Road.' A lot has happened since then, but
the memory of the old days refuses to be blotted out.
This scheme is something which has been in my mind
for many years, and is not a jumped up affair. The time of doing it,
however, has been decided rather suddenly. This was brought about by a
feeling of thankfulness that our boys had come through so well. I knew
that there were many people at our church who are just as grateful to have
their boys back home as I am, and I thought if we all joined together we
could have a real time of rejoicing, but the idea of the debt clearance
and other things origiated quite naturally in the days when we were
struggling with a far larger debt than now. I always vowed, if I had
health and strength, the day would come when it would be lifted if I had
He had his way; the effort was
completed, and a yearly deficit of £45 'in the finances of the church was
turned into a surplus of £50. It was splendid business as far as "Queen's
Road" was concerned, and a noble memorial for the soldier Sons of the
church. How much better than any monument of brass or marble was this
clearing away of the incubus of debt, and the safeguarding of the future
of the church, which was clear to the hearts of these young soldiers and
sailors as their spiritual home.
It was truly a red - letter day in their lives and in
the history of the church, when the war was over and the great meeting was
held in the School -room to bid them Welcome Home, and to accept on behalf
of the church, as a memorial to their valour and sacrifices, the
extinction of the old debt and 'the endowment given by Mr. Mackintosh.
The splendid service he had thus rendered was
fittingly acknowledged at a meeting of the church held in October 1919,
when an illuminated address was presented to him by Dr. Clemens, in the
name of the church. It was a pleasant surprise to Mr. Mackintosh, for the
secret had been well kept, and he had been asked to assist in certain
matters to be decided in regard to the musical service of the church. He
laughingly accused his friends of bringing him there under false
pretences. The terms of the address are as given below :-
"Queen's Road United Methodist Church,Halifax, To
Councillor John Mackintosh, J.P.
"We, the trustees of the above church, and
representatives of our whole congregation, desire to express heartiest
thanks to you for the special services you have
rendered the church in the recent great scheme for relieving and helping
"Remembering past years and the amount of debt with
which our people have had to grapple, and considering our present very
different circumstances, we are filled with thankful wonder, and above all
give God the praise.
It is clear, however, that but for the part you have
played in both the initiation and the completion of the scheme, its
accomplishment would have been impossible. Through your personal influence
and the example of your own generosity, some dozen friends have liberally
contributed the splendid sum whereby the old trust debt has been
extinguished. It was the same influence and example also that evoked a
willing response from our congregation in general, to the appeal that they
should carry the effort still further. They have thus raised the
additional amount required for present and future needs. We are filled
with gratitude, that altogether a sum of over £2,200 has resulted from the
project you originated.
"In all this you have only been
true to an early devotion to Queen's Road Church and Sunday school. That
devotion you learnt from your father and mother, who were honoured members
of our society, and happily it is fully shared by all their family. You
yourself have frequently testified to the blessings gained from your long
association with the church of Christ.
"We, on our part, have watched
with pleasure your growing influence in the affairs of the town, and your
prosperity in your business undertakings. It is a joy to see, that through
all the strenuous years, your attachment to the church of your childhood
has remained steadfast and unaltered. May the blessing of God abide upon
you, your good wife and all your family, as also upon those who have
co-operated with you in this happy and memorable undertaking." (Signed by
Dr. Clemens and eighteen leading members of Queen's Road Church.)
When Mr. Mackintosh rose to reply,
after the address had been presented to him, he was profoundly moved.
Nothing touched him so deeply, nor brought him such sincere pleasure, as
the hearty appreciation of his fellow church workers. In his reply he
referred to the portraits of Mr. Joseph Seed and his mother which hang on
the walls of the Sunday school, and said that now he had scarcely a wish
left ungratified ; if he could desire anything further, it would be that
his portrait might occupy a similar position in the school. That wish has
speedily been fulfilled, for since his death a fine portrait in oils was
presented to the school authorities by the family.
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