In the difficult situation in which we now find ourselves as a Church, the FCDA is encouraged to see increased attendances at its meetings and to receive many expressions of support, including from overseas. It would seem that more and more people in the "middle" of the Church are realising that all is not well in the denomination and that things have been happening of which they were ignorant.
We are very conscious of our need to act wisely and our need to be guided from above as we seek the way ahead. "Brethren, pray for us". The FCDA meets regularly at a local and national level. We intend (D.V.) to hold a series of public meetings under the title "The Current Crisis in the Free Church of Scotland". These meetings will be advertised in the usual ways. The venues and dates are: Dingwall (10th September); Portree (17th September); Glasgow (24th September); Edinburgh (8th October); Stornoway (26th November).
Subscriptions to our quarterly magazine Free Church Foundations have never been higher. We encourage those who wish to know more of what is taking place in our Church to take out a regular subscription to the magazine and to circulate copies among their friends. Details of how to subscribe are found on the inside front cover of this issue.
We are most grateful to all those who have made donations to the FCDA, enabling the production of the magazine and other work. Contributions (made out to the 'Free Church Defence Association') may be sent to the following address:
Rev J Keddie, Free Church Manse, 6 Balgown, Struan, Isle of Skye, IV56 8FA.
Mr Norman Murray
With many in the Free Church we mourn the passing of our good friend Mr Norman Murray of Shawbost. When the FCDA was revived in 1997 Mr Murray willingly accepted the office of Treasurer of the National Association and we greatly appreciated his presence at many meetings since then. His contributions were always thoughtful and graciously made. His fellowship was enjoyed in the work to which we believe the Lord has called us at this time. We expect that a fuller tribute will appear in the Monthly Record as usual and we remember his widow Mary and the family in their bereavement and commend them to the One who is "the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation".
On the Lord's Day after the Rev Maurice Roberts' suspension, a number of mainly elderly people, some of whom had been members of the congregation since its inception in 1958, decided that if he were not in the pulpit that morning then they would rise and go out quietly. This they did, and when they emerged from the building Mr Roberts made a brief statement and commenced public worship with a short prayer. He then proceeded with those people and the bulk of the congregation which had remained in the car park and had not entered the building, to the Inverness Royal Academy on Culduthel Road, where some of the congregation were already assembled.
Mr Roberts did not organise this silent demonstration, (so silent that the preacher in Greyfriars later said that he had not noticed anything), nor did he invite the press to attend. Had he done so, the press would surely have photographed his supporters and not those who had stayed in the church. He refused to speak to the press on the Sabbath.
Mr Roberts has continued to preach in the Inverness Royal Academy every Lordıs Day at 11.00am and 6.30pm. The Prayer Meeting is held in the same building on Thursdays at 7.30pm. All are welcome and good numbers are attending. The evil of Mr Robertsı suspension is considered by them to be much greater than the silent exit on the morning of the 27th June.
Contrary to what was alleged at the Congregational Meeting the Royal Mail can confirm that the list of witnesses and documents which Mr Roberts planned to use in his defence was posted on Saturday June 19th and was received at the Free Church Offices at seven minutes past eight oıclock on the morning of Monday June 21st two days before the Commission began.
Stornoway Relief Free Church
The group meeting in Stornoway as the Stornoway Reformed Fellowship was disbanded and re-organised on Friday July 23rd as the Stornoway Relief Free Church with the appointment of elders and deacons. Their position was made clear in the following statement:
"The Stornoway Relief Free Church wish to state that they do not see themselves as forming a new denomination, but because of flagrant breaches in the constitution, laws and practice of the Free Church they see no option but to form this Relief Free Church....The congregation is very conscious of being tied to the historic Free Church of Scotland and its testimony".
The congregation now meets in the Stornoway Town Hall on the Lord's Day at 11.00am and 6.30pm and also on Thursdays at 7.30pm in the Newton Community Rooms on Seaforth Road. All are welcome to attend these services.
A small group of Free Church people is now meeting midweek in the Perth area. The contact number is:-
01738 622942 (Mr & Mrs Alasdair Macleod).
Several Free Church people are meeting midweek in Aberdeen and intend to start Lord's Day services in due course, D.V. The contact number is:-
01358 722645 (Mr & Mrs Murdo MacKinnon).
Any comments or questions please E-Mail me or Rev William Macleod the Editor.
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