General Assembly

Lyle Orr Awards presented at Assembly

May 19, 2015

At tonight’s General Assembly session, four talented young people were presented with awards for outstanding achievement in youth Bible activities.  

Mark Connor won the infant grade of the Lyle Orr Awards, Ealasaid Maclean won the junior grade, Matthew Hanlon won Bible class one, with Katie Gillies winning Bible class two.

Each were presented with their winning medal from last year’s Moderator Rev David Miller, and they were also congratulated by Youth Committee convener Rev Alasdair Macleod as well as commissioners.  

Lyle Orr Award winners

Mark, 7, attends Glasgow City Free Church and he enjoys playing outside and watching cartoons. Both his older sister Kate and brother Lewis have previously won Lyle Orr medals.

Ealasaid, 9, is from Oban Free Church and lives on the Isle of Lismore. Ealasaid enjoys writing about animalson the computer – and her mum won the Lyle Orr Award a long time ago(!).

Matthew, 13, from Stornoway won the Bible class one grade. He is into swimming, running and playing games on his iPad – and is also a fan of The Hunger Games and The Hobbit books and films. Five years ago he won the infant grade Lyle Orr Award.

Katie, from Shawbost on the Isle of Lewis, won the Bible class two grade. Katie’s in third-year at high school, and her favourite subjects are Gaelic, art and home economics. She also enjoys reading, cycling and walking along the beach.

The Lyle Orr awards are made annually to young people in the church for excellence in their Sunday School and Bible Class work.

The awards were introduced in 1914 and are named after Rev Samuel Lyle Orr, an Irishman who became the Free Church minister of Milton Free Church, Glasgow and later of Saltcoats Free Church in Ayrshire. 

Mr Orr took a great interest in young people and from time to time was convener of the Free Church’s Welfare of Youth Committee.

Using the interest from an anonymous donation of £100, it was decided to award three gold medals each year to children who excelled in the Welfare of Youth Scripture and catechism examinations.

The donor wished these medals to be known as the Lyle Orr Gold Medals because of “the affection shown by Mr Orr for the children and the valuable services so ungrudgingly given by him.”

Above: Watch the Lyle Orr Awards

Elsewhere in the Youth Committee report, convener Rev Alasdair Macleod (pictured below) reported that the rebranded children’s magazine Compass had seen a 10 per cent increase in circulation.

The Ullapool minister also shared encouraging developments with other youth activities such as camps, the youth conference, the bootcamp programme as well as the Pointing to Jesus report which had been reviewing Sunday School formats.

Other discussion included the need for religious education teachers, and also how education in general for the Free Church’s young people could be better shaped by a Christian worldview. 

Rev Alasdair Macleod

The Psalmody and Praise Committee gave their annual report later in the evening, which included plans to develop an online Psalm-singing app. 

The final item of business was a petition from Rev Ruairidh Maclean, for a seat on Glasgow and Argyll Presbytery.

Mr Maclean works for Christian Witness to Israel but remains a Free Church minister. The petition was approved. 

Tomorrow commissioners will hear from the Home Missions Board and the Edinburgh Theological Seminary Board.