Induction of Rev. Iain Smith to Harris
On the evening of Friday 6th May, and in excellent weather, a congregation of over two hundred gathered in Leverburgh Free Church, kindly loaned for the occasion, to witness the induction of Rev. Iain Smith to the Harris Congregation of the Free Church (Continuing). As well as many people from the islands, and some from the mainland, it was pleasing to see individuals present from other local congregations. Mr Smith, who is 65, is a native of Point. He was ordained and inducted as minister of Partick Free Church in 1994, and after nine years in Glasgow ministered for twelve years in the Hobart (Tasmania) Congregation of the Southern Presbyterian Church in Australia, before returning to Scotland last year. He was admitted to the Free Church (Continuing) by the Commission of Assembly at its meeting in October.
Public worship was conducted by Rev. Alasdair Macleod, Minister of Knock & Point and Moderator of Presbytery, and included the singing of psalms in both Gaelic and English. Mr Macleod took for his text Numbers 27:15-17, in which Moses prayed that the Lord would set a man over the congregation of Israel, to lead them and guide them, “that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd”. Mr Macleod stated that the authority for inducting a minister comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, in His Word. He then dealt in turn with the need, role and gift of a Pastor, applying the lessons of the passage to the Harris Congregation, with suitable warmth, and giving appropriate encouragement. He concluded by saying that the Lord had now answered the prayers which the congregation had offered up over many years, and expressed the desire that their new undershepherd would point them to the great Shepherd of the flock.
After the appointed questions had been put to Mr Smith, and the questions had been duly answered and the Formula signed, the Moderator engaged in prayer and admitted Mr Smith to the pastoral charge of Harris. The new minister was then addressed by Rev. Graeme Craig, Stornoway, who exhorted him from 1 Corinthians 4:1-2. Mr Craig emphasised to Mr Smith that he was a Servant, under the authority of His Master Jesus Christ, and that he was to serve Christ by serving His Church. He was also a Steward, called to defend the truth and to assert it, feeding the Lord’s people, as one who must one day give an account. Rev. David Blunt, North Uist & Grimsay, the former Interim-Moderator, then addressed the Congregation. Basing his remarks on 2 Thessalonians 3:1, he said that they were to pray for their Pastor, that the Lord would bless him in his person, home and family, but especially in his preparation for the pulpit, that the Word preached by him would have “free course” into their own hearts for their salvation and edification; in that way the Lord would be glorified among them.
Following the singing of Psalm 72:17-19 in Gaelic and the pronouncing of the Benediction, the congregation moved the short distance to the local school, where Mr Smith and his wife Mary, who hails from Stornoway, greeted everyone. Ample refreshments had been provided by the congregation and their willing helpers. After the Smiths had cut a cake decorated with the text of Psalm 118:23, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes,” numerous greetings were read out, including from Tasmania. Presentations were made to Mr & Mrs Smith and to their youngest son Christopher, who had travelled from Stirling for the event, and to Rev. & Mrs Blunt. The congregation showed their appreciation of the duties carried out by the elders and their wives during the long vacancy, by making presentations to Mr & Mrs Kenneth Campbell and to Dr & Mrs Andrew Naylor.
Mr Smith thanked the congregation for calling him to be their minister and for their kind gifts, noting the affection in which the Harris Congregation is held by many who have visited at Communions and at other times over the years. He expressed the hope that God would show His favour once again in a day when there is such a great departure from our precious Christian heritage. Mr Smith then called on two friends to speak: Rev. Murdo A.N. Macleod, Snizort, the previous minister of the congregation, and Rev. Greg MacDonald, minister of Cross. An uplifting evening was brought to a close with worship, including the singing of Psalm 133.
We are delighted to see the congregation finally settled after a twelve-year vacancy and we wish the Smiths every blessing as they settle into the congregation and the community. May the Lord prosper both Pastor and people in their spiritual marriage, bringing many souls to life and strengthening and comforting His dear people.