On the evening of Tuesday 11th September, amid blustering gales and intermittent showers, cars lined the roads of the sleepy village of Gravir as almost 300 people piled into Park Free Church for the ordination and induction of Rev. Iain Macritchie. The service was taken by Rev. James Maciver (Stornoway Free Church) who preached from Nehemiah 12:43, highlighting the cause that the congregation and presbytery had for both thanksgiving and joy, and the hope that the joy of Park Free Church would be ‘heard afar off.’
Following the vows and signing of the formula, Mr Maciver led the congregation in prayer as the presbytery laid hands upon Mr Macritchie, thereby setting him apart to the pastoral ministry. Rev. Calum Iain Macleod (Back) then addressed the newly ordained minister, exhorting him to be like a good Hebridean house, having a solid foundation and a sturdy roof. Likewise, the minister must have prayerfulness as his foundation for ministry, and perseverance as his roof. Rev. Calum Macdonald (Callanish & interim moderator of Park) then addressed the congregation and called them to realism with regard to their expectations of their new minister, and enthusiasm with regard to their support for him and his ministry in Park Free Church.
The whole service was marked by solemnity and the felt presence of God, from the first Psalm to the final benediction. Many commented on the evident sense of positivity and hopefulness which pervaded the gathering. It was the prayer of many present that the God who has worked powerfully in this part of the island before, and is able to work likewise today, would indeed do so, giving to men and women, through His reviving Spirit, ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’
The majority of the large congregation then made their way to a reception in the Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway where tea and baking were enjoyed by all. Grace was said by Rev. Kenneth M. Ferguson (Retired) and presentations were made to Rev. Iain Macritchie and his mother, as well as to Rev. Calum Macdonald and his wife Margaret. Speeches were then given by Rev. Paul Murray (Kinloch), Mr Jonathon Baxter (Divinity Student) and Mr James Gladstone (Divinity Student). The happy evening was then concluded with the singing of Psalm 72:18-19 in Gaelic by Mr Angus Murray and prayer and benediction by Rev. Iain Macritchie.