Members of the congregation of Stornoway Reformed Presbyterian Church and friends met informally on the 10th July to mark the Rev. Donald Macdonald’s 50 years of service to the ministry, 38 of them at Carloway Free Church. At a gathering after the weekly prayer meeting there was a surprise anniversary cake and tributes were read from ministers and pastors.
Mr Macdonald was born in Glasgow in 1938, but his parents moved to Lemreway in Lewis when he was only eight, and he could only speak English. However he learned Gaelic in three months. Educated at The Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, he then studied at the University of Aberdeen and graduated with an MA. Following this he trained for the ministry at the Free Church College in Edinburgh, and was licensed to preach in 1963. He then studied for a BD degree but did not complete it when he received a call to Carloway Free Church and was ordained and inducted to that charge on 8th July, 1964. He served there until his retirement in 2002. He completed his BD in 1998 when he was aged 60.
He played an active part in the administrative work of the Free Church both at a central and local level. For several years he was Clerk to the Presbytery of Lewis and is a former Clerk of the Western Synod. He had a life-long interest in overseas mission and for eight years served on the Free Church’s Foreign Missions Board. In 1970 he gave much appreciated service to the Free Church in Vancouver and in 1991 – 92 in Livonia, Michigan.
In 1992 he became Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland. His wife, Marietta, is a retired teacher and is a native of Carloway. They both love to travel, and their home is renowned for their hospitality to people from all over the world.
Mr Macdonald is known as a dedicated and painstaking preacher. His library is probably the best in any manse in Scotland and his passion for books insatiable.
He is also a man of principle. In 2011 he left the Free Church following the decision to permit congregations to use hymns and music in public worship as well as the vows issue. He joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland and became a member of the fledgling congregation in Stornoway set up three years ago. He is Session Clerk and ‘unofficial assistant minister.’ He is the present Moderator of the RPCS Presbytery. Since his retirement he has served as a supply teacher to congregations of various denominations.
Mr Bill Lucas