Last Friday was a happy occasion for the Ayr Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) congregation when their 18-month vacancy came to an end with the induction of Rev. Graeme Craig BSc.
Members of the congregation and many friends from all over Scotland attended the induction, which took place in New Prestwick Baptist Church, Ayr.
The evening began with public worship conducted by Rev. David S. Fraser, Moderator of the Southern Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing). Mr Fraser preached a sermon from 2 Kings 2:14 and highlighted many lessons from the life of the prophet Elisha, making application to the new ministry beginning in Ayr.
Following the Motion to associate ministers from other Presbyteries and the reading of the Narrative of Proceedings by Presbytery Clerk Mr Maurice Grant, Edinburgh, the normal induction procedure was followed. The Moderator engaged in prayer and on conclusion extended the right hand of fellowship to Mr Craig.
Afterwards Rev. William B. Scott addressed Mr Craig, reading from Colossians 4:12-18 and highlighting the words “take heed” found in verse 17.
Then Rev. Andrew R. Allan, minister at Partick, Glasgow, was called upon to address the congregation. He highlighted Psalm 118:23, reminded the congregation that their new pastor was a gift from the Lord Jesus Christ, the great King and Head of the Church.
Following the conclusion of worship with the pronouncement of the Benediction, Mr & Mrs Craig were invited to come forward and greet the congregation as they made their way into the adjacent hall for the welcome reception.
At the first part of the reception Ayr’s Session Clerk and elder Rev. Dr James Millar presented a gift to Mr Craig, while Dr Millar’s wife Nanette presented a gift to Mrs Roberta Craig. Following this Abi and Katrina Mackay, members of the Ayr congregation, presented gifts to the Craig children in attendance.
Interim Moderator Mr Allan read numerous greetings from congregations, colleagues and friends, all expressing their best wishes for the new ministry.
After this point Mr Allan handed over proceedings to Mr Craig who expressed his appreciation for the gifts and the warm welcome received. A presentation was made to Mr Allan by Ayr’s Treasurer Mr Stuart Mackay, who thanked Mr Allan for his work during the vacancy. Mr Craig called upon Rev. John Macleod, Shawbost, Isle of Lewis, to say Grace, after which the sizeable gathering partook of a large sumptuous spread prepared by the congregation.
Having enjoyed refreshment and fellowship Mr Craig asked four persons to speak to the occasion. He called upon Rev. Murdo A. N. Macleod, a ministerial colleague from Snizort, Isle of Skye, Mr Sammy Cameron, an elder from Mr Craig’s former congregation in Stornoway, Rev. Maurice J. Roberts, a former minister in Ayr, and Mr Murray Mackay, who until recently was a deacon in the Stornoway congregation. All spoke warmly of Mr Craig’s diligence, stability and dependability as a pastor and of his suitability for his new ministerial post.
To draw the evening to a close Mr Craig thanked all for their attendance and those who worked hard in preparing for the reception. Thanks were also expressed to Rev. Kenneth Ross and the Deacons’ Court of New Prestwick Baptist Church for the kind use of their excellent facilities.
The evening concluded with singing from Psalm 89 and Mr Craig closing in prayer.
On the Sunday following the congregation met in their own building at 7 Lindsay Street, Ayr, when Rev Greg MacDonald, Ness, Isle of Lewis, preached and introduced the new Minister. Following a congregational lunch, Mr Craig commenced his new ministry when he took the second service of the day.