There are two war memorials on the north staircase of the church. The smaller one belonged to the original Bon Accord congregation, while the larger one came from St Paul's Church across the street, which was recently converted into the Skene House Conference Centre. On comparing the design of the two churches, you will notice many similarities, as they were both built in the Italianate style by the same firm of architects (Ellis & Wilson), Bon Accord for the Free Church and St Paul's for the United Presbyterian Church.
The St Paul's and Bon Accord congregations both joined the Church of Scotland in 1929. When they were amalgamated in 1962, the St Paul's war memorial, along with a large stained glass window depicting the Saviour, were removed and reinstalled in our church building. The window, above the gallery, is in memory of John Strachan, who owned a coffee and sugar grinding mill on Leadside Road, where Strachan Mill Court stands today. He was an elder in St Paul's with a long-standing involvement in Gospel work among the young, hence the inscription "Suffer the little children to come unto Me" (Mark 10:14).
In 1977, the Bon Accord St Paul's congregation was joined with Gilcomston St Colm's in Summer Street, under the name of Denburn Church, and both war memorials moved there. The Bon Accord building was subsequently sold to the Free Church congregation in Aberdeen, which moved from St Columba Church, Dee Street. When Denburn was closed in 2006, Norman Marr, one of their elders, asked us if we would look after some historical items associated with our building, including the two war memorials to those who "In the path of duty and sacrifice laid down their lives" in the World Wars 1914-18 and 1939-45. The Deacons' Court agreed to erect the memorials, and is grateful to Angus Macleod for his expertise.
A large granite tablet high on the wall of the north vestibule commemorates Rev Gavin Parker, the first minister of Bon Accord Church. Together with his entire congregation, Mr Parker joined the Free Church of Scotland in 1843. He was a fearless defender of the Reformed Faith and the prevailing note of his pulpit ministry is evident from the verse inscribed upon his memorial - "If thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked ways, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou has delivered thy soul" (Ezekiel 3:19). The memorial was removed from the original Bon Accord Church on Union Terrace when the present church was built in 1896. Mr Parker's manse on Skene Terrace, with later additions, is now the Aberdeen YMCA, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008.
Thanks to Dr John Smith for writing this item.