The congregation of Inverness Westhill Free Church (Continuing) and friends gathered in Culduthel Christian Centre, Inverness, to mark Rev. Maurice J. Roberts’s retirement from pastoral ministry.
The evening event, held in December 2010, provided an opportunity to express our appreciation for the long work and ministry of Mr Roberts.
Rev. Ronald MacKenzie, who chaired the event, said he had known Mr Roberts since 1972 when they were students together in the Free Church College in Edinburgh. They were both licensed to preach the gospel on the same day by the Edinburgh presbytery.
The senior elder, Mr Murdo Smith, made a presentation to Mr Roberts as a token of the love and esteem which the congregation bore to Mr and Mrs Roberts. Mr Smith said that it had been a privilege to be under his preaching ministry, and he wished him God’s blessing and presence in the days that lie ahead.
Mrs Alina Fraser, the oldest member in the congregation, made a presentation to Mrs Roberts, while a presentation was also made on behalf of the Sabbath School by Agnes Wu and Anita Ratti.
It was a delight to see the most senior minister in the church, Rev. Hugh Ferrier, in attendance and to hear his words of appreciation for Mr Roberts. Mr Ferrier said that Mr Roberts was known as a foremost expositor of the Word of God, a pious man and a caring pastor, as he himself had experienced by Mr Roberts’ visits during his recent illness.
Mr Ferrier said that Mr Roberts was a true Free Churchman who had adhered to his ordination vows. He also spoke of Mrs Roberts as his excellent wife and companion, and a tower of strength.
Banner of Truth magazine
Due to the travel difficulties resulting from poor weather, some people could not attend in person and had sent written greetings.
Greetings were read from many people from across the globe, including Rev. William Macleod, who mentioned the three points in which Mr Roberts had most influenced him. These were — a sense of the awesomeness of God and the requirement of personal holiness; a longing and prayer for revival; and a desire and expectation for the conversion of the Jews.
Another message was from Rev. Iain Murray of the Banner of Truth Trust, who wrote that the call Mr Roberts had given to continue in prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit had not fallen to the ground.
Originally from Manchester, Mr Roberts taught classics before being called to the ministry. He served as minister in Ayr Free Church, from 1974 until he was called to Greyfriars Inverness in 1994.
He edited the Banner of Truth magazine from 1988-2003 and is well known as a conference speaker in many countries. He has written several books, including The thought of God, The Christian’s high calling and The happiness of heaven. Mr Roberts continues to serve as lecturer in Greek and New Testament at the FCC Seminary in Inverness.
Mr Roberts had delayed his retirement until the Inverness congregation was settled with a new church and manse, and until the main bank loan for the new Westhill building had been paid off.
He spoke of his deep appreciation for the congregation and of being bound together in the bundle of life with the Lord our God. He said that all that matters in the whole world is to know God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he exhorted those present to seek Christ with all their hearts and make sure they had him as their Saviour.
The evening concluded with the singing of Psalm 133, and Rev. John Angus Gillies pronounced the benediction.
This article was first published in the Free Church Witness