Farewell to John Murdo

Today is John Murdo’s last day with us here in Tarbert.

It was with a real mixture of emotions that we gathered as a congregation in the Macrae centre after the Sunday morning service today, to express our thanks to John Murdo for his great service to us as a congregation over the past four months.

John Murdo started working here with us at the beginning of November last year, and truly we can say that from the beginning of this time, we have seen God’s hand in everything that has taken place. When it became clear to us as a Session in October that I was going to be hospitalised, it was agreed that in the interim it would be preferable for a locum minister be appointed. The first person I thought of was John Murdo.  I met with John Murdo on the 6th October, and put this proposal to him. To our delight he agreed to come. John Murdo very quickly endeared himself to everyone here, as a preacher and as a man, and we will miss his cheerful, personable style of ministry very much.

I have known John Murdo for over twenty years. We both trained at Aberdeen university in the nineties with John Murdo just coming to the end of his course as I was starting. As I alluded to this morning, many of the island boys seemed to cause no end of confusion in the university and the presbytery due to our very similar island names, with   two John Murdos, two Ian (Iain) Murdos and three other plain Murdos.  So we were known by the Students convenor of the Presbytery of Aberdeen simply as “the Murdos”!  I was also very fortunate to spend a summer with John Murdo in the busy congregation of Strath and Sleat in South Skye twenty years ago this year, and I still recall that time with real fondness.  It was a real privilege and blessing to renew that fellowship now, not only with John Murdo, but also with Debbie and Samuel.

Over the course of the last few months John Murdo has faithfully ministered God’s word in this parish and has bravely negotiated the Clisham road from Stornoway every week in the depths of a Harris winter. However having just got back from Lethbridge Alberta, I suppose that Western Isles winter weather is a piece of cake in comparison.

We are greatly indebted to John Murdo for answering the Macedonian call to “come over to Harris and help us” , and can truly say that the past few months have been a joy and blessing to us all. The large number who somehow managed to cram into the Macrae centre for the presentation, bears testimony to the love and regard that so many have here for John Murdo’s most acceptable ministry as locum in Tarbert, and he leaves us with many happy memories and our sincere best wishes for the future.

We can give thanks to God also for John Murdo’s good news today, with the announcement of his appointment as both Missions adviser to the Presbytery of Lewis, and assistant minister at Martin’s memorial church. We look forward to hearing how things are going for John Murdo, Debbie and Sam in this new and exciting season of ministry just beginning, and assure them of the on-going prayers of the people of Tarbert Church of Scotland.

 “A‑nis gun tugadh Tighearna na sìthe e fhèin sìth dhuibhse a‑ghnàth air gach aon chor. Gu robh an Tighearna maille ribh uile.” 2 Tesalònianaich 3:16 

(“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT)

Ian Murdo Macdonald

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