It was a privilege to be able to share in Tom’s induction on Tuesday. Thankfully, the mercurial weather of the Western Isles did not thwart our plans to celebrate with him in person. Tom has worked hard in his studies at ETS and has learned many things during his time in both Perth and Kirkcaldy Free Church. The last year of studies is always unsettling in some ways- you are never sure where you are going to end up.
Tom was called to South Uist and Benbecula and accepted the call a few months ago. He’s only the third minister there, following Iain MacAskill and Lachie MacDonald. There are around 3000 souls in the area he covers, and most of them are unchurched. Tom and Mhairi are not on their own; they have Calum and Johanne Smith just 20 minutes away in the neighbouring congregation of North Uist, which is a great blessing.
During the induction itself, Rev James MacIver gave an apt word from Psalm 117- a short Psalm, but in James’ words, one which packs a great punch. The occasion was both solemn and joyous. Tom was set apart as a minister of the gospel, and then received some helpful advice from Rev Calum Smith. The congregation were addressed by Rev David Macleod from North Harris.
Following the induction, we enjoyed good food, fellowship and speeches together. There was a real buzz of enthusiasm and expectation as a new chapter of ministry in the Uists commenced. All spoke highly of Tom’s passion for mission, his down-to-earth character, approachability, pastoral skills and care for people. Tom can’t wait to get stuck into ministry, helped by the willing congregation he has gone to. Tom himself underlined his appreciation of the Western Isles Presbytery for financing the continuance of the work in South Uist and Benbecula.
It was really lovely to see Tom, Mhairi, and Deborah settled and to share with the congregation there in their excitement and joy at having a pastor again. They will all remain in our prayers and we look forward to hearing what the Lord will do in them and through them.