Four new ministers join Free Church

October 9, 2015

The Free Church welcomed a quartet of new ministers at its Commission of Assembly on Wednesday evening.

Applications from Rev Malcolm Macleod, Rev John Mann, Rev Jim Patterson and Rev Robert Walker were all approved, though only Mr Mann is currently seeking a call to a vacant congregation.

All four men had previously served in some capacity with the Church of Scotland.  

Rev Malcolm Macleod transferred from the Associated Presbyterian Churches (APC) and is the director of Steadfast Global.

Steadfast Global is a Scotland-based evangelical Christian charity that seeks to encourage the Church to pray for and stand with persecuted Christians around the world. 

Before being called to the ministry, Mr Macleod was in the police for 10 years.

He trained at Highland Theological College and pastored the APC Victoria Park congregation in Toronto, Ontario, from 2004-2007.

He established Steadfast Global as a new charity several years ago, and in the past Mr Macleod was also part-time pastoral assistant at Martin’s Memorial Church of Scotland in Stornoway.

Since 2014 he has been a member of the High Free Church in Stornoway.

He is married to Joan and they have two children.

The 45-year-old said: “I am delighted to have been welcomed into the Free Church of Scotland and look forward to serving the denomination and also the wider church.

“The Free Church is a natural fit for me because of the united, fearless, relevant, clear and uncompromising message coming from her pulpits and courts; this is a denomination which is in tune with God’s word and consequently, determined to reach out across our nation in a vibrant and refreshing way.”

Rev John Mann

Rev John Mann, 55, is married to Julia. He is originally from Northern Ireland and undertook his studies for the ministry at Edinburgh University.

Mr Mann (pictured above) served as an assistant at Braid Church in the capital from 1988-89, before being called to Kenmore and Lawers linked with Fortingall and Glenlyon in 1990.

He ministered there until 1998, when he moved to Kinlochbervie and Durness on the north coast, where he has preached as parish minister until his recent demission from the Church of Scotland.

John said: “I believe that the Church of Scotland has demonstrated that it does not hold seriously to the teaching of the Bible, because it has demonstrated that it does not expect those in leadership positions to hold to the teaching of the Bible.

“It therefore seems to me that a Christian who is seriously committed to following Jesus faithfully, would be better off not being a member of the Church of Scotland, but should, rather, seek to be part of, and accountable to, a church that holds to the teaching of the Bible.” 

Joining Mr Mann in the Free Church is his compatriot Rev Jim Patterson, 63, also from Northern Ireland.

Mr Patterson is a qualified civil engineer, and worked as a water engineer in Africa with Tearfund before training for the ministry at Aberdeen University.

He was assistant minister at Westhill/Skene Church of Scotland, before going out as a missionary to Benin from 1994 to 2002.

On his return to Scotland Mr Patterson was minister of Denburn in Aberdeen, and then Bristo Memorial in Edinburgh, before returning to Benin with Serving in Mission in 2013.

He has been an active member of Christ Church Edinburgh, which recently joined the Free Church.

Jim is married to Megan, and they have two grown-up children.

Completing the quartet is Rev Robert Walker, who is an elder in Bishopbriggs Free Church.  

Rev Robert Walker

The 61-year-old (pictured above) said: “Having spent the last 13 years happily serving as an elder and regular preacher in Bishopbriggs Free Church I am delighted that I can now officially become a minister of the denomination.

“The Free Church is no longer an ethnic enclave; it stands for the best in evangelical Presbyterianism that once could be found in the national church.

“We are a growing, thriving and revitalised church in which men are free to minister unencumbered by constant denominational battles against doctrinal heresy and moral confusion.”

Originally ordained in the Church of Scotland, Mr Walker served on the Isle of Arran from 1978 to 1983, and then lectured at a theological college in Nigeria for two years before being called to Gardenstown where he remained until 1993.

In 1995 he transferred to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in America, and led the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois for five years.

He returned to Scotland to care for his parents, and has also been teaching during part of this period.

Robert is married to Aileen, and they have two sons and a daughter. 

He also regularly comments on ecclesiastical affairs from a reformed Christian perspective on his blog 'Presbyterian Plodder', which can be found here.