Below is a detailed report of the Service.
Hamilton United Reformed Church
19th March 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
On behalf of the members of Hamilton United Reformed Church the minister, the Rev’d. Derek Corner bid the congregation of some 160 people welcome.
In particular he welcomed
the Depute Lord Lieutenant, Helen Russell
the Provost of South Lanarkshire Council, Eileen Logan
Christina McKelvie, MSP
Scottish Synod Officials of the United Reformed Church
the President and Secretary of the Women’s Union of the Scottish Synod of the URC
Staff and Volunteers of the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre
and Governors and Trustees of the David Livingstone Trust
the First Secretary, Zambian High Commission, Steward Nchimunya, and Ms. Beatrice Mukuka, the Personal Assistant to the High Commissioner of Zambia.
It was regretted that none of the Livingstone family were able to be present, although apologies had been offered; and that David Livingstone a descendent from Philadelphia was no longer able to come due to the death of his sister
However, the Rev’d. Mitchell Bunting, descendant of Mary Livingstone’s family, was present. Due to serve weather conditions the former minister of the congregation, the Rev’d. Stanley Britton and his wife, were unable to be present.
A few apologies were recorded, mainly because of the service being held in Westminster Abbey, laying a wreath on David Livingstone’s tomb.
the two Westminster constituency MPs
the Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire
His Excellency the High Commissioner of Malawi
the First Minister and the Minister for External Affairs and International Development of the Scottish Parliament
Greetings were recorded from
Robert Laws Secondary School, Embangweni, Malawi
Harding Striker of the David Livingstone Healthservice, Misiones, Argentina
A gracious message had also been received from her Majesty the Queen.
The minister welcomed and introduced those participating in the Service.
Rev’d. Fr. Willy Slavin of St. Simon’s RC Church, Partick.
Rev’d. Tom Wilson, of Partick Congregational Church, representing the Congregation Federation
Rev’d. John Thomson of the Old Parish Church, Hamilton, who had the good fortune to be baptised by his Aunt, the Rev’d. Jean Thomson, one of the first women ordained as a minister, being a minister of the Congregational Union of Scotland.
and the guest preacher, Mr. Lawrence Moore, who is Director of The Windermere Centre, the United Reformed Church resources and training centre in the Lake District.
The provost was invited to say a few words before the service. She welcomed everyone to South Lanarkshire and brought greeting to the members of the Church,; speaking of the legacy of Livingstone in Blantyre and Lanarkshire.
Why are we celebrating David Livingstone in this United Reformed Church here tonight? Blantyre was Livingstone’s birthplace, and his local Parish Church appropriately celebrated that village’s son on Sunday – to me a lovely thought that the Presbyterian Church of Scotland celebrated the life of the nearest that Scottish Congregationalism has ever come to having a saint [at least if his fame is to be gone by] – BUT here in Hamilton was his spiritual home.
He worshipped during his childhood and teenage years in the Independent Church which eventually settled as St. James’ Congregational Church in Auchingramont Road. His parents left that congregation and are listed amongst the first ten founder members of this Church, once known as an Evangelical Union Church.
In 1896 the Congregational Union and the Evangelical Union merged, so the two churches became part of the same denomination. In 1966, during Mr. Britton’s ministry, St. James’ Church closed its building and merged with its sister congregation, to form Hamilton Congregational Church, using this present building.
In the late 1990s there was movement within the then Congregational Union, which eventually led to some of us merging with the United Reformed Church; and some transferring allegiance to the Congregational Federation.
As a combined congregation we rejoice in two particular historical figures; Keir Hardie having spent some of his formative years attending worship this building – and the man whose memory we honour tonight Doctor David Livingstone.
Call to Worship and Sharing of the Peace
From the rising of the sun to its going down, let the name of the Lord be praised.
The congregation shared the peace of Christ our Lord.
We come to celebrate the life and witness of David Livingstone; doctor, explorer, missionary, man of faith and of great courage and tenacity. We come to rejoice in a son of our independent church tradition in Scotland. But we also come to look forward, to see what we can learn of him for our mission together in Scotland today.
Our opening praise is one of David Livingstone’s favourite hymns.
HYMN O God of Bethel
Prayer and Lord’s Prayer [sung]
The second praise was one of the first hymns which Livingstone translated for the African people to whom he sought to witness.
HYMN Jesus shall reign
Psalm 119: 33 — 40
Fr. Willy Slavin
Fr. Slavin began by quoting the Latin inscription on Livingstone’s tomb. [Few, if any, of the congregation followed the words he spoke.] He then outlined the story of Livingstone being helped in learning Latin, required to train in medicine, from a young boy Daniel Gallagher. Later Gallagher became a priest and founded St. Peter’s Church, now St. Simon’s RC Church, Partick, Glasgow. He spoke of that congregation’s annual 15 mile walk from Partick to Blantyre, the walk Livingstone did on a regular basis to say one penny cart fare.
He then read the portion of the psalm.
Prayer of Thanksgiving for the life of David Livingstone
Rev’d. Tom Wilson
Matthew 28: 16 — 20
Rev’d. John Thomson
HYMN Thanks to God whose Word was spoken
The sermon was delivered by Lawrence Moore.
Livingstone’s Prayer [said together]
“Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me.
Lay any burden on me, only sustain me.
Sever any ties but the tie that binds me to Thy service and to Thy heart.”
HYMN Sing one and all
Prayers of Intercession
including a prayer written by a URC minister, Matthew Prevett, inspired by the recent conclave of cardinals
One of the most often used quotes of David Livingstone is
‘I will go anywhere; provided it is forward’
So we go forward and our closing hymn takes us back out into the world – to serve Christ in the world of today, and tomorrow, and beyond – our lives enriched by the example of those, who like David Livingstone and so many other have gone before us, giving us examples of faith and service.
HYMN Go forth and tell
The preacher pronounced the benediction after which the Congregation sang
May God’s blessing surround you each day,
As you trust him and walk in his way,
May his presence within guard and keep you from sin,
go in peace, go in joy, go in love.
There was a retiral offering donated to David Livingstone Memorial Trust.
A reception followed in the Church Hall, with the celebration cake being cut by the Provost.
slideshow of images
An archive of events held during the Bicentenary year has been created and is located in the sanctuary as part of the David Livingstone display. A collection of newspaper articles is on display in the Church Hall.