By Kirsti Paterson
Thanksgiving celebrations have taken place to mark the retirement of Rev. Malcolm Maclean, and his wife Katie, from Greyfriars Free Church in Inverness.
One hundred and twenty of the Greyfriars congregation met together to give thanks for Rev. Malcolm Maclean, after fourteen years of ministry at the church.
Deacon Graeme MacDonald welcomed the gathering to remember the work of Malcolm’s ministry – a devoted, faithful and loyal pastor – a recurring theme throughout the evening.
There was an opportunity for everyone to meet together to have a meal and to see the cutting of retirement cake. Iain Alasdair Macdonald, an elder, gave thanks for the food. The singing of Psalm 102 preceded Malcolm and Katie cutting the retirement cake which was enjoyed with a cup of tea/coffee.
Three speakers – Norrie MacDonald, Rev. Callum Ian MacLeod and William MacKenzie – contributed throughout the evening.
Norrie MacDonald, Session Clerk, recounted that during Malcolm’s fourteen years of ministry, he displayed humility, thoughtfulness, integrity – a man of God, devoted to the Scriptures and prayer. His provision of spiritual guidance though good and bad times e.g. Covid restrictions, were appropriate and greatly appreciated by the congregation. His communication of the Gospel has been blessed, not least in the growth of the congregation. Malcolm was also able to use his gifts in the wider denomination. Norrie concluded, with reference to Katy’s supportive role as the minister’s wife, thanking both and praying that as they enter a new chapter in their lives, they would know God’s peace and presence. A presentation was made to Malcolm by Norrie and to Katy by Miss Babs Matheson, who recently celebrated her ninetieth birthday.
As Malcolm responded to the expressions of kindness shown to Katie and himself, he made reference to Ecclesiastes 3 – ‘a time for every purpose’ – ‘a time to finish’, indicating God’s timing is always wise. He reflected on his privileges as minister in Scalpay and Greyfriars, maintaining a Christian witness and also many changes. He thought of those who would have would have liked to have been at this event but through illness were unable to attend. He thanked the office bearers, members, adherents and children of the congregation, all making their contribution to the life of the congregation and their prayers. He expressed his gratitude to Katie for her wisdom, devotion and Christianly service. His desire would be that God will continue to bless the congregation.
Rev. Callum Ian MacLeod, minister of Ferintosh and Resolis, spoke of Malcolm’s friendship over 20 years, initially in their Free Church student days and then in ministry. He described such in a lively, humorous but meaningful way, under three headings – brevity, ability and suitability. He recollected Malcolm’s capability of producing an essay of the correct content and length and meritoriously awarded. ‘Theologically and doctrinally – ‘a one off’. ‘An able practitioner of God’s word, with a passion for the Psalms’. His ministry of wise counsel, excellent preaching and engaging writing; for which is much to give thanks. God also provided a suitable helper for Malcolm – Katie – a perfect team. Callum Ian ended by conveying the Lord’s richest blessing on Malcolm and Katie in the future, echoing ‘Well done, faithful servant’.
Mr William MacKenzie, of Christian Focus Publications, made reference to Malcolm’s early childhood, teenage years, and God’s purpose for him – as Managing Editor with Christian Focus Publications in 1989 and later in ministry. William read excerpts from the latest book which Malcolm had edited – ‘From The Marrow Men to the Moderates, written by late Professor Donald MacLeod. Malcolm’s phenomenal ability to walk down a farm track with pen and manuscript was exceptional. William also recalled that Malcolm assisted different personnel with literary needs and had a strong conviction of God’s word. William ended by pointing Malcolm to John 13 v1, Katie to Ruth2 v12 and the congregation to words of 1 Corinthians 15 v58….. ‘Be steadfast’.
In Graeme MacDonald’s closing remarks, he thanked all those who had contributed to making the evening so memorable. Rev. Callum Ian MacLeod led the gathering in singing Psalm 133 and Angus Mac Donald, Retired Church Home Missions, concluded the evening proceedings with prayer.