Calling the faithful city back to the faithful God

The name of Sam Rogers, one of the Sansome Walk deacons, has already been mentioned. Evidently he was quite a character – he rode a three wheeler bike and was also something of a wit. On 15 February 1909 he wrote a long poem entitled Uncle Sam’s Report of the Dicky Birds’ Concert in which he likens each mission to a bird in order to report on the work there. The rhyming may be a bit corny but it no doubt added to whatever occasion at which it was first aired.

It starts:
This Dicky Birds’ concert was held in a bush,
Chief singers, the Red Hill robin and the Kempsey thrush,
The Rainbow Hill sparrow and the finch of Fernhill Heath.
All joined in the chorus the branches beneath.
The programme was made up of song, chatter and talk
About mission work done for dear Sansome Walk.

It continues in relation to Red Hill:

Then up popped the robin and made our hearts thrill
As he sang of the Mission and the work at Red Hill,
Where a band of good soldiers strongly entrenched
Under Admiral Blake and Brigadier French
Said they were well off for teachers and crowded with scholars
And to pay their own way they had raked in the dollars.

And what of the Banner that hangs on the wall?
Well, if they can, they will keep it, that’s all,
Except if they hold it through the next fight,
Why, fast to the wall they will nail it outright.

Congregations on Sundays the average have reached
And some very good preachers good sermons have preached,
Though we have heard that sometimes they enquire
What’s up with the singing, what’s wrong with the choir?

So well do they like the preaching on Sunday
That they have taken to have some more on the Monday,
With meetings on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
With Saturday left to get the place tidy.
Just lately, I think, they’ve been holding a meeting
To try and devise a new system of heating.

Now ladies don’t like you to mention their names,
Or else I should say that our good friend, Miss James,
Our one Lady Guardian still holds on her way,
Though some of the scholars have of late gone astray.

But just then the robin found his throat rather sore
And begged to be excused for not singing more.

Clearly the work was thriving – even if the choir was having an off day!

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