Tribute to the late Rev. Robert M. Sinclair

July 18, 2019

Robert (Bob) Malcolm Sinclair was born in Gaya, India on 25th April 1941. When Bob was 11, the family moved to England and he completed his secondary education in Exeter. In 1957, Bob joined the RAF as an apprentice radio technician and in 1961 he was posted to the RAF station at Aird, Uig, Isle of Lewis.  In the providence of God, Lewis was to become home.  Quite soon after his arrival, he met Annie Mary Macleod, and they were married in Stornoway Free church in September 1964, a marriage which lasted for 55 happy years.  The first three years of their married life were spent in Germany during which Allison and Robert were born.  This was followed with a posting to RAF Kinloss in 1968 and in 1969 they were posted back to Aird Uig.  They set up home in Stornoway and in 1971 their third child, Monica, was born. Monica passed away in 2015.

Bob was deeply affected by Annie Mary’s conversion and in due time he too came to embrace the Saviour and lived out the rest of his life consistently honouring and serving Him. Shortly after his conversion, he felt the Lord was calling him into the Christian ministry.   After completing his studies at the Free Church College, Edinburgh, he was ordained and inducted to the pastoral charge of Dumbarton Free Church where he and Annie Mary served the Lord faithfully and fruitfully for over 17 years.  During his time there he also served as Clerk of the Glasgow Presbytery.  He was also a dutiful Interim Moderator for the vacant Free Church congregations of Arran, St Vincent Street, East Kilbride and Ayr.

As a preacher, Bob conveyed the great themes of the gospel with Christ centred reverence and with a genuine zeal to see all those who were still strangers to God’s grace embracing Him as their Saviour. Although he retired from the pastoral charge of Dumbarton Free Church, he never retired from being a pastor.   On their return to Lewis in 2009, their home at Nicol Crescent was a particularly warm and welcoming one, as is fondly remembered by their many friends.  From there Bob continued a quiet but effective ministry of supporting, comforting, counselling and encouraging all those he came into contact with.  

After being granted a seat on the Western Isles Presbytery, Bob served with great acceptance as Interim Moderator of the Lochs congregation, and of the Stornoway Free Church congregation. In addition he regularly provided a much-appreciated pulpit supply to the vacant congregations throughout the Western Isles.   In 2012 he was elected to serve as an elder on the Kirk Session of Stornoway Free Church where he applied himself with unfailing loyalty.  

One of Bob’s great concerns was for the continuance of a robust, challenging and Bible-focused pulpit ministry and he frequently provided support, wisdom and encouragement to his younger colleagues in the ministry.  He loved preaching and did so up to the close of 2018 when his health issues became more apparent forcing him to decline invitations to do so.

We extend our sincere condolences to his widow Annie Mary, his daughter Allison and her husband John, his son Robert and his wife Marina, and to his grandchildren Michelle, James, Josh and Jodie, as well as to his remaining brother Peter and his wife Margaret. We pray that God will comfort and strengthen them all.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  Philippians 1.21