Reformed Presbyterian (RP) Church plant
Church planting work is never smooth sailing, and the fellowship in Stornoway has definitely weathered its share of storms.
So it was perhaps fitting that those travelling up from Airdrie faced some rough conditions to get to Stornoway for the induction of Rev. David Karoon on a Saturday morning last year.
The journey started peacefully enough on Friday, when a group of 21 left Airdrie and started on the five-hour car journey to Ullapool. By lunchtime we had learned that because of stormy weather and high winds there was a possibility our 5.30pm ferry to Lewis might be cancelled.
Stopping in Inverness, we heard our ferry had been delayed till 5.00am Saturday morning, but we could spend the night on the boat. Undeterred we travelled on to Ullapool, where we found B&Bs for six of our group, and the other 15 of us looked for the best places to sleep on the ferry.
Perhaps spending the night on a ferry doesn’t sound too appealing, but everyone was having a great time. We were just so excited to be going to the Isle of Lewis (most of us for the first time), and being part of this historic event in our church’s history.
Upon arrival, looking perhaps a bit rough, we were welcomed warmly by several men from the Stornoway congregation, who showed us kindness, and took us to their homes, giving us an opportunity to wash and dress and have breakfast.
‘Fulfil the ministry’
By 9.45am we all met up again at the Stornoway Town Hall. There were other folks from the Glasgow RP Church there as well as those from the Stornoway congregation and other churches.
About 80 men and women filled the town hall. This was the first induction of a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland since Rev. Andrew Quigley 17 years ago, and the first RP Church ever on the Western Isles, and the first in the Highlands for 135 years.
Rev. Kenneth Stewart preached on Colossians 4:17: ‘And say to Archippus, See that you fulfil the ministry that you have received in the Lord’.
It was an excellent challenge to the elders, deacons, and minister to consider the task that lay ahead of them; in so considering it, they will be able to fulfil it. He spoke of how their calling has come from the Lord and it is to him that they must, above all, answer.
He also spoke of the need to give time to their ministry, to make it a priority; and how the Lord will enable them to fulfil their ministry.
Mr Quigley administered the vows to the three elders and three deacons. Mr Stewart then administered the vows to Mr Karoon. Mr D. R. Macdonald, one of the new elders, then presented Mr Karoon with a monetary gift, and Mrs Marietta Macleod presented his wife, Shirley, with a similar gift.
Mr Quigley then spoke to Mr Karoon and the elders and deacons from John 15:8: ‘By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples’. He challenged them to think about how they would enable the congregation to abide in Christ.
We then went to a local hotel where the ladies of the church prepared a lovely lunch. Rev. Donald Macdonald, one of the new elders, presented D. R. Macdonald with a book token in recognition of all his hard work for the congregation over the past few months. Sam Bell thanked the Stornoway congregation for their gracious hospitality.