On the 19th March over 80 people filled the Airdrie RP Church for the induction of Rev. Stephen McCollum as minister of the Airdrie congregation. Besides the Airdrie congregation, visitors were there from all the Scottish RP churches.
Rev. Stephen Steele, minister of Stranraer RPCS and Moderator of Presbytery, led the worship service. He preached on Zechariah 8.
He spoke on the idea of rebuilding, and how Zechariah encourages the people in the work with the promise of both present and future blessing.
- Firstly, we should be encouraged with the promises of present blessing. Verse 15 tells us that God has planned to do good to His church. He delights to do good to His people. He highlighted to the congregation the goodness of God in giving them a minister and the new minister was exhorted to be a God-centred preacher and to show Christ to the congregation.
- Secondly, we are to be encouraged because of the days in which we are living. These are the days after Pentecost, the days in which the Holy Spirit has been given, the days when the gospel has gone out to all the world. And that is why our thoughts are not just of rebuilding but expansion.
- Finally, how are we to respond to these promises of God’s goodness and blessing poured out upon us? By loving one another, by seeking to be transformed into the image of Christ, by bearing much fruit for the Father’s glory.
After the sermon, Rev. Peter Loughridge came and gave the Narrative of Procedure, which is an account of how we got to the point where we were at on that day.
Rev. Stephen Steele then put the induction vows to Rev. McCollum. Upon his assent to these vows, the congregation stood for the prayer of induction. Rev. Stephen McCollum then signed a copy of the vows, and the members of Presbytery shook his hand, and Rev. Stephen Steele then pronounced the benediction. You can listen to the induction service by clicking on the link below.
Following the service Rev. Peter Loughridge in his capacity as outgoing interim moderator of the Airdrie congregation thanked the Lord, thanked those who were there that day, thanked the Airdrie congregation for their patience and prayers and unity in a difficult time, and for their kindness and help provided to visiting ministers. He thanked the visiting preachers, many both from the Irish RP Church and the Scottish RP Church, and thanked the wider RP denomination for their help and support throughout the vacancy. He then read two letters, one from the Stornoway congregation (Rev. Stephen McCollum’s former congregation) expressing their prayerful good wishes, and one from Rev. Andrew Quigley, the previous minister in Airdrie for over 20 years, expressing his thanks to God for Stephen’s induction.
George Rodger, as Session Clerk, then reiterated Peter’s thanks to the visiting ministers who had so faithfully provided preaching week in and out. He then thanked Peter, on behalf of the Session and congregation, for his tireless work in caring for the congregation both through organising pulpit supply and pastoral care. He thanked Peter’s wife, Emma, for her sacrifice of her husband’s time during these two years. He then presented Peter with a gift from the congregation.
George then welcomed Rev. Stephen McCollum and his wife and children. He spoke of how they are well-known to the congregation from coming on RP Mission Teams, GO Teams, Semester in Scotland, and going to university in Scotland. After his training at RPTS in Pittsburgh, Stephen and Brenda returned to Airdrie, and he then became an elder in Airdrie until he was called by Stornoway to be their minister. George spoke of the congregation’s hope to see saints built up and sinners brought to faith. He then presented Stephen with a gift from the congregation. Flowers were then presented to Brenda, and some Christian books were given to the children.
Stephen then thanked the congregation for their gifts and for the lovingkindness they had received since moving to Airdrie. He spoke of how the Airdrie congregation has a special place in their heart. Through it he and Brenda met, and through the congregation his sense of call to the ministry was strengthened when he was a university student. He encouraged the congregation to continue in prayer for the ministry here and that the Lord would reveal His glory to this town.
Sam Bell, one of the Airdrie elders, then prayed and gave thanks for the lunch. The congregation then moved through to the hall for a delicious lunch and joyful time spent with each other.