The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 83
The kind of workers required
The kind of workers required.
The workers have the real burden of the Mission upon them, and as far as possible they ought indeed to be a picked body of women.
I must confess that the great majority of clergymen have not had much experience in this special work, and that on the whole women can, will, and must do the greater part of this work amongst women.
Some think it does not much matter who your workers are at this preliminary rescue work so long as they are good, earnest women. It is impossible to say how much does depend on them,—under God nearly all.
How often one worker speaks to a woman without avail, and another wins her directly!
And if a girl agrees to go to a Home, how often (whether she is allowed to correspond or visit her or not) does the thought of the first good friend outside keep the penitent in the Home, trying to persevere. How often has it been that when in a restless mood a girl leaves a Home she either at once or subsequently seeks "her lady," and is kept in hand by her till something else can be done for her; granted that very often a woman of, say, the sub-matron class of life in a small refuge, will see through and through one of these women, and understand her when many a born lady would fail to do so; granted that some of these paid Mission women of the working class can do a very useful work, still, with all the grades of women who live in sin, from the highest to the lowest, the elevating as well as the first winning influence of the cultured, common-sense lady is by far the most powerful.
As a rule the married are more tit in every way for this work than single women are.
The women who work amongst these women should be the very pink and flower of their sex. It is a mistake, and a vital one, I believe, to say "any good woman with pluck and zeal will do for this sort of work, or that if she is a little coarse in mind or manner, perhaps all the better for dealing with coarseness and the low forms of vice."
If a woman is very talkative, rough, coarse, noisy, excited, inclined to be too familiar with these women, and to be in the least degree light in her talk about them or their sin, it is only the enemy of souls, or foolish enthusiasts, of the Salvation Army type, who could approve of her taking part in this work.
"Plain and homely" is all very well, but these women are not attracted by anything in the least degree approaching to coarseness, levity of manner or light talking about their sin! The workers cannot be too refined, courteous, and gentle in manner.
As regards this work in the streets being done by men, I think it ought not to be.
The women do not believe in it, that it is done with the best intentions, and often attribute the worst of motives to the proceeding.
Women can do a good and useful work in the streets, if they are quite independent and keep to the work regularly for some long time.
"For the love of Jesus come away from your sin."
(Mr. Brinckman in his notes narrows the saying to "all Churchmen," but we have good reason to know that no such limit need be put.)