One of finest
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