One of finest

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

The former min­is­ter of Ruther­glen United Re­formed Church passed away last month aged 81.

John Wil­son served in the area for 30 years, from 1967 through un­til 1997.

John San­der­son, the cur­rent min­is­ter at the church, has writ­ten this trib­ute to John, who was well known through­out the lo­cal com­mu­nity. He writes:

Rev­erend John H Wil­son will be re­mem­bered with af­fec­tion and re­spect by many within the com­mu­ni­ties of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang and be­yond for the long and in­flu­en­tial min­istry he ex­er­cised in Ruther­glen as min­is­ter of Ruther­glen Con­gre­ga­tional Church.

Since his death on Wed­nes­day Septem­ber 7 many trib­utes have been made which ex­press peo­ple’s deep grat­i­tude for the pas­toral care and guid­ance which John pro­vided them with dur­ing that min­istry.

John Hind Wil­son was or­dained on May 30 1963 and was to spend the first four years of min­istry at the Kirk Me­mo­rial E.U. Con­gre­ga­tional Church in Ed­in­burgh.

In 1967 he ac­cepted a call to Ruther­glen Con­gre­ga­tional Church and was in­ducted on Novem­ber 7 of that year – be­gin­ning a min­istry that was to span thirty years un­til his re­tire­ment in Novem­ber 1997.

Through­out his min­istry he was ably sup­ported by his wife Mar­garet whom he had mar­ried in 1959.

Over those thirty years John led the con­gre­ga­tion through both ex­cit­ing and chal­leng­ing times as well as serv­ing the wider church in many ways.

In the early years of his min­istry John was re­ally anx­ious for the church to be in­volved in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and was in­stru­men­tal in the church­set­ting up a Mother & Tod­dler Group and a Se­nior Cit­i­zens Lunch Club where church mem­bers did all the vol­un­tary work in co-op­er­a­tion with the lo­cal so­cial work de­part­ment, some­thing which was recog­nised as be­ing very in­no­va­tive at that time and which proved highly suc­cess­ful for many years.

In the sum­mer of 1979 John and the fam­ily un­der­took an ex­change with Rev Mark Lemmenes and his fam­ily from Long Is­land, New York.

As well as spend­ing an en­joy­able nine weeks in Amer­ica John re­turned to Ruther­glen with many new ideas which he in­tro­duced to the con­gre­ga­tion.

John un­der­took chap­laincy work, both at Abbey­field, Ruther­glen and at Bankhead Pri­mary School, and also taught Re­li­gious Ed­u­ca­tion at Cathkin High School.

Many former pupils of these two schools have mem­o­ries of John and the way that he en­gaged with them both spir­i­tu­ally and pas­torally.

With re­gards to the wider church John was to serve the Con­gre­ga­tional Union of Scot­land in a num­ber of ways – most no­tably as Pres­i­dent in 1994 – a po­si­tion he was both hon­oured and hum­bled to ac­cept.

Over the years John served on a num­ber of com­mit­tees in­clud­ing those re­spon­si­ble for min­istry and for fi­nance.

He was also in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions between the Con­gre­ga­tional Union and the United Re­formed Church in the UK which re­sulted in a union between the two de­nom­i­na­tions in April 2000.

Upon his re­tire­ment in 1997 John and Mar­garet de­cided to stay in Ruther­glen – close to fam­ily and to friends – and, af­ter at­tend­ing Car­munnock Parish Church for a short while, be­gan at­tend­ing Burn­side Parish Church where their good friend David Eas­ton was the min­is­ter.

Over the past eigh­teen years many new friend­ships have been formed in the church and John and Mar­garet both greatly ap­pre­ci­ated the pas­toral care they have re­ceived from the present min­is­ter, Rev Wil­liam Wil­son.

John also de­vel­oped a keen in­ter­est in mak­ing stained glass win­dows and pro­duced many fine pieces of work.

In Ruther­glen United Re­formed Church there is a spec­tac­u­lar three pan­elled win­dow in­stalled above the pul­pit which cel­e­brates God’s Gifts and in Burn­side Church there is a won­der­ful panel at the church door which John de­signed and made and which was ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of his youngest daugh­ter, Lorna, who passed away in 2011.

John loved all his fam­ily dearly and was a proud hus­band, fa­ther and grand­fa­ther and the thoughts and prayers of many in our com­mu­nity will be with Mar­garet, Fiona, Pamela and the fam­ily both now and in the fu­ture.

A ser­vice of Thanks­giv­ing for John’s life was held at Burn­side church on Tues­day, Septem­ber 13, and a large con­gre­ga­tion which in­cluded fam­ily, friends, former col­leagues and many mem­bers and former mem­bers from both Burn­side Church and Ruther­glen URC joined to­gether to ex­press their grat­i­tude for John’s life in an up­lift­ing act of Chris­tian wor­ship led by Rev­erend Wil­liam Wil­son.

The eu­logy, which was de­liv­ered by the Rev­erend David Eas­ton cap­tured the essence of a man who has touched many peo­ple’s lives in so many dif­fer­ent ways over the years – a man whose min­istry, whose gifts, and whose love will not be for­got­ten.

Min­is­ter John Wil­son, who passed away last month

Hobby John Wil­son gives a demo on stained glass win­dow mak­ing

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