Stornoway Gazette: Local and District News, Uig
Friday April 19th, 1918: PRESENTATION OF U.F MINISTER
A very happy function took place in the Uig U.F Church on Monday, the 8th inst.,. After the Rev. D M Macdonald, M.A, Ness had preached, and brought the Communion services to an end, the congregation was asked to remain in order to present to their pastor, the Rev. James Macniven, M.A, a token of their gratitude because he made choice of remaining with them on the occasion of the recent call from Harris.
Mr. Malcolm Macdonald, J.P, Thule House, Tobson, expressed the feelings of the congregation in the matter. He said it was difficult to express adequately the feeling of attachment between minister and people, of dismay of the very idea of losing him, and of gratitude because he made up his mind to remain with them. A minister is a good gift from the Lord, but their minister was a gift from the Lord in a very unique sense, because of the way in which he was brought to them. They had come to the end of their own wisdom and resources. They could do nothing for themselves, but they were led by the Lord to give a most hearty and unanimous call to Mr. Nicolson whom they had never seen nor heard, and he was led, in an almost equally remarkable way, to accept their call, so that they saw the Lord’s hand in a higher degree than usual in the manner in which they got their minister.
Now after a few short years, the Tarbert congregation came to Uig seeking to take their minister away from them. He did not find fault with the Tarbert people. He rather praised them for their wisdom and insight in the matter. But it was a dark and perplexing time to them as a congregation so long as there was a possibility that the Tarbert people might gain their end. Now that their anxiety was over the least they could do was to give their minister some tangible token of their heartfelt gratitude and of their warm regards. They might look upon that day as an occasion in which they were renewing their covenant with one another as minister and people.
Mr. Macdonald, concluded, by calling upon Mr. John Macdonald, Geshader, the senior elder present, to make the presentation. Mr. Macdonald said that it was with the greatest heartiness that the people gave of their means towards the testimonial to their minister, while some friends in other places, especially in Stornoway, gave handsomely, and some in the other congregation gave unsolicited. He expressed his pleasure in handing to the minister an envelope containing Treasury Notes to the amount of 58.00.
Rev. Macniven, in acknowledging, said that this matter was so completely hidden from him that he did not hear a whisper of it till a few days ago. Otherwise he would feel it his duty to ask them not to proceed with it, or at least to consecrate their means to a worthier and more needful and deserving cause. First, because it was so easy and pleasant for him to decide to remain with them that he did not deserve any reward for doing so; secondly, because they had very recently given him a valuable token of their esteem and affection, and it was too soon for them to do anything of the kind again; and thirdly and chiefly, because he had such a solemn sense of the cost at which so much of the money came to them. David would not drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem because the three mighty men brought it to him at the jeopardy of their lives, but paired it out before the Lord, even so should we be careful to use all our means in a consecrated spirit. More especially when it is the blood of the men that go in danger of their lives.
But as the matter has gone so far, there was no way now but to accept the handsome gift in the same spirit in which it was given. The gift was precious for many reasons, and it was no common thanks that he ought to render to them. He thanked them with all his heart. And it was no common sympathy, that he ought to feel with them in all the trials of these dark times; nor was it any common service that would make an adequate return for their bounty. He was deeply humbled by their kindness and generosity. He could only pray that God would repay all their needs according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ. He did not desire to leave them any more than they desired to part with him; partly because it was too soon to put them to the turmoil of getting a new minister; partly because he had in Uig as large a field as he could cultivate, and it would not be just nor wise to seek a larger; partly because the Uig congregation was not in the best condition to face a vacancy, since death had removed some valuable office bearers and old age and infirmity had left their two oldest and wisest office-bearers unable to come out, their presence being sorely missed on that occasion and on all occasions, but chiefly because one could not desire a better congregation than this in respect of their eagerness and willingness to hear the Gospel, and in respect also to many excellent traits of character in the people, their kindness, patience, gentleness and general uprightness.
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