A new ministry is beginning in the Highlands this week after Rev. Benjamin Fiddian was inducted to the charge of Bonar Bridge and Lairg Free Church. The congregation has been vacant for two and a half years since Rev. John Forbes accepted a call to Australia. Ben preached there a couple of times late last year just after he was admitted to the Free Church in October. The congregation planned to call him then, but the second lockdown delayed matters for several months. The induction took place on Tuesday night with a good-sized gathering in the church and another 100 or so people tuning in to a livestream of the service.
Rev. Duncan Macleod Dornoch presided, and he preached on the Sower and the Seed. He highlighted the fact that while there may be discouragements when the seed falls in unfruitful places, there was also the great reassurance that it would bear fruit. Our duty was to scatter the seed both in preaching and in our conversations, but it was the Lord that would give the increase.
The new minister and the congregation were then by addressed by the outgoing interim-moderator, Rev. Alasdair MacAulay who shared his delight at seeing the congregation settled with a new minister and his beautiful family. He counselled Ben to seek to share the priorities that John the Baptist had, when he said of Jesus, ‘He must become greater; I must become less’. The congregation were then urged, not to have great expectations of their new minister but to have great expectations of God. Their minister could never match their expectations, but God could easily surpass them.
The local elder Rev. John Mann made a presentation to the new minister. John spoke about how the beauty of the Highland landscape and environment was attracting people from all over the country. Some came for the beaches; some came for the hills. But he hoped that just as people came to seen Ben Hope and Ben Loyal, that Ben Fiddian would also become an attraction.
Following some other presentations Ben replied, giving thanks for the widespread support they had received since joining the Free Church and speaking of how blessed they were in their new location and their new home in Lairg manse. He expressed his longing that the Lord would be with them as a congregation and as a family as they serve him in that place.
[Main Image: Rev. Ben Fiddian with his wife Hannah and daughters, Gwyneth, Anwen and Bethan]