A spirit of happy fellowship and thankfulness pervaded proceedings as the Southern Presbytery met in Partick on 25th June to mark the ministerial jubilees of Rev. William B. Scott and Rev. Donald N. MacLeod. In addition, they oversaw the signing of the Formula by Rev. Stuart Farmes as he was admitted a minister of the Church.
Rev. William Macleod, Moderator of Presbytery, preached from 1 Corinthians 3:6. Like Mr Scott and Mr MacLeod, here were two men from different backgrounds, Paul and Apollos, but they were only ministers by whom the Corinthians had believed. Ministers and people must continually remember this. Indeed, all are to have a servant spirit. There were two men, but there is one great God. He gives the increase and that is what matters. We must depend on him. All the glory belongs to him. In an age of spiritual apathy he can open hearts. God reigns and his plans will be fulfilled to build his Church and fill the earth with his glory. Although the ministry may seem a hard work today, it has always been hard work, for God alone gives the increase. No labour is in vain and all done for him is worthwhile. Thanks were offered to God for the ministries of these faithful servants.
After Mr Farmes had signed the Formula and been welcomed into the Church as a Minister, Mr Scott encouraging him from the reality of God’s sovereignty. When the hand of providence appears heavy we must remember that the God who overrules all things is not only almighty and just, but gracious and loving. Referring to Philemon 1:11-12 he spoke of our duty to make Mr Farmes truly welcome. “We are a motley crew, but are happy to have him on board.” As the Romans were to receive Phoebe, so we should receive Mr Farmes’ wife, Elizabeth.
Following worship the Congregation retired to the hall where, after tea, presentations were made. Rev. Graeme Craig spoke of how Mr Scott reminded him of Barnabas. Whilst Mr MacLeod was a son of the Manse, Mr Scott was the son of a miner, but he had come to be a son of consolation, as well as a wonderful example to younger men. Like Barnabas, he was a zealous missionary – in Moyobamba (Peru), Eastern Europe, Spain and France; he was a Christ-centred preacher and a big hearted encourager of the brethren and he was principled. He loved praising the Saviour and encouraging others to do the same with heart and lips. Thanks were also offered for Mrs Scott who, behind the scenes, had contributed so much to her husband’s ministry. In responding, Mr Scott spoke of how swimming across a river in spate or having a Kalashnikov prodded into him did not frighten him, but the thought of being ordained to the holy ministry terrified him. However, he still loved to commend Christ. He paid tribute to two ministers who had greatly helped him over the years – Rev. Donald N. MacLeod, who was regrettably absent due to sickness, and Rev. Ian McKenzie, who many were delighted to see present that day. He encouraged all to keep on speaking about and commending Jesus.
In the absence of Mr MacLeod, Rev. James Gracie addressed his eldest son, Calum. He spoke of family links with Mr MacLeod spanning the years. He was a humble, Christian gentleman, held in high esteem by all in the churches. His servant spirit was evident in that, upon retirement, he took on the care of the Arran congregation, who love him dearly and are grateful for his presence and ministry among them. In reply, Calum acknowledged the kind thoughts expressed and reflected that his father had been rather diffident about the whole presentation business. He would have enjoyed being among the brethren, but would not have known what all the fuss was about! As we were reminded earlier, Christ is the one who matters.
Proceedings were brought to a conclusion by the singing of Psalm 133. We thank God for the faithful ministry of his servants and pray that they may be spared to yet be a blessing to many.
Video recordings of the complete service and the fellowship are available on Partick’s WEBSITE.