On the evening of Friday 11th February, and in stormy weather, a congregation of approximately seventy gathered in South Harris Free Church (kindly loaned) in Leverburgh for the Induction of Rev. James Clark to the Harris congregation. Public worship was conducted by Rev. Raymond Kemp (Scalpay), Moderator pro tem of the Presbytery of the Outer Hebrides, who preached an appropriate sermon on ‘The Lord Marrying the Land’ from Isaiah 62:4-7: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married….” Mr Kemp pointed out that marriage is often used in Scripture as a figure to express the intimate relation between God and His people, which is a righteous, loving, merciful union and a communion of life. The Lord makes the marriage proposal through gospel ministers, and then graciously brings it about. Ministers are watchmen upon the walls of Zion, and they must be alert to enemy danger, instruct God’s people and intercede for them.
Following the worship the Presbytery proceeded to the Induction. Rev. Harry Woods (Beauly) was associated with the Presbytery. Mr Kemp then addressed to Mr Clark the Questions appointed by Act of Assembly. Satisfactory answers having been given, and Mr Clark having signed the Formula in the presence of the congregation, Mr Kemp then engaged in prayer, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by authority of the Presbytery inducted Mr Clark to the charge of Harris. Mr Kemp and other members of Presbytery then gave Mr Clark the right hand of fellowship. Rev. David Blunt (North Uist & Grimsay) then addressed the newly-inducted minister from Christ’s words in Luke 22:27, “I am among you as he that serveth”, pointing Mr Clark to Christ as the Perfect Servant and model of humility, willingness and devotedness, and encouraging him to be among his flock and community and serve them. Rev. Kenneth Macdonald (retired) then addressed the congregation from the words in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is”, urging them to be regular in their church attendance in difficult days and emphasising that time spent in listening to the preaching of God’s word is never wasted.
After the Benediction had been pronounced, Rev. Harry Woods, Clerk to the Inverness Presbytery, spoke briefly of his appreciation of Mr Clark. The new Minister and his wife Christina then met the congregation as they left the building and a small reception followed at the nearby village hall. After greetings had been read presentations were made to the Clarks and to the Interim Moderator Rev. Raymond Kemp and his wife Heather. After Mr Kemp and Mr Clark had replied briefly the evening was concluded with worship.
The settlement ends a brief vacancy which began with the retirement of Rev. Iain Smith in October 2020. We pray that the Lord will bless both pastor and people in the preaching and hearing of the gospel.