The New FP Church

From the Stornoway Gazette, May 1951.

An event of outstanding interest took place in the Parish of Uig on Wednesday, 16th May, when the new Free Presbyterian Church at Miavaig was opened.

The Ref JA Macdonald, Applecross, the former minister of Uig, conducted divine worship and preached an able discourse from Matt xxi, v13. The church was packed to its utmost capacity. Nine buses carrying nearly 300 friends from the different congregations in Lewis and Harris attended the service. Uig hospitality on a generous scale catered for all who came.

The Rev D Campbell, Stornoway, spoke of the stand made in 1893 by the Free Presbyterian Church in defence of the Word of God against Arminianism, Voluntaryism and Modernism. The worthy fathers of the Church, he said, left their all – manses, churches, salaries – and penniless went forth in defence of the Truth. In the good providence of the Most High, the Church had now churches and manses and was not embarrassed financially as other Churches were.

The Rev William MacLean, Ness, the interim moderator, outlined the history of the Uig congregation from the days of the Rev Alex. Macleod, whose labours were signally owned of the Lord in a genuine revival of religion. He also referred to the stand made by the Uig people against Voluntaryism in the seventies of last century when about a thousand people left the Free Church and in the historic church of Balnakill publicly avowed their rejection of Voluntaryism and their adherence to the Establishment Principle of religion. In 1928 the union of the Church of Scotland with the United Free Church on the basis of the Declaratory Articles led the Uig congregation, except for a small minority, to identify itself with the Free Presbyterian Church. Their decision gladdened in particular the heart of the late Rev Neil Cameron, Glasgow. For fifteen years he had been praying for such an event to take place, and he rejoiced to see it before his death.

Tributes were paid to the praiseworthy efforts of the Uig congregation in erecting a mission house and a missionary’s house in Brenish; a new manse and now a new church in Miavaig. The new church is a beautiful stone edifice. The masonry and the woodwork of the interior bear the hall-mark of efficiency and taste. Spacious, comfortable and artistically finished it reflects great credit on the people in their labour of love to provide themselves with such an excellent place of worship under present conditions. The church was opened free of debt. Two of the elders, Mr Angus Morrison Valtos and Mr Donald Matheson Aird, spoke of the difficulties they had to contend with and acknowledged the kindness and care of the Most High in connection with them as a congregation.

On more than one occasion the Uig people have proved their loyalty to the Free Presbyterian Church, and it is to be hoped that the Lord will soon provide them with a pastor after His own heart. The collection on the day amounted to the grand total of £202 10s. “The Lord of us had mindful been and He will bless us still.” (Ps 115 v12) – WM