The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) congregation in Ayr took leave of their minister, Rev. Gavin Beers, at a gathering on 24 March. After a ministry of 12 years in Ayr, he has accepted a call to Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Mebane, North Carolina, USA.
This church was established as a mission congregation in 2012 by the FCC’s presbytery in America. Mr Beers accepted their call in October 2016, but problems in obtaining visas, among other things, delayed his departure.
The meeting was chaired by Rev. John J. Murray, who has been associated with the Ayr congregation for 16 years. He conducted worship and preached from Psalm 132, highlighting the church as the dwelling place of God — who is the glory in the midst of her.
Mr Murray pointed out some characteristics of Mr Beers’ ministry and how his preaching had attracted widespread attention, hence the call to the USA. Speaking on behalf of the Southern Presbytery, Rev. William Macleod recalled his acquaintance with Mr Beers from earlier days in the Isle of Skye, when he was studying for the FCC ministry. His talents were quickly recognised by the wider church, when he was appointed lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament at the FCC’s seminary.
Mr and Mrs Beers were given a framed sketch by Esther Semmens of Peden’s Cave in East Ayrshire, with the Scripture text of Isaiah 52:7 and a cheque. The six children each received a book and monetary gift.
Mr Beers thanked the congregation for the various gifts. He spoke movingly about bonds forged over 12 years and praised them for their understanding during the 18 months since he first accepted the call.
Afterwards, those present were treated to lavish refreshments by the ladies. The induction of Mr Beers to Cornerstone Presbyterian Church has been set for Friday 4 May.
John J. Murray