The afternoon included hearty praise, as well as various encouragements to the newly inducted minister from colleagues such as Mission Director Rev David Meredith and civic representatives including Murdo Fraser MSP.
It continues an incredible chapter in the relatively short life of the revived Stirling Free Church congregation, which a core group restarted in a guide hut in the summer of 2013 before more people caught the vision – culminating in a call to and the induction of Mr MacAskill.
The former Rosskeen minister has already stated that he hopes to outgrow the Smith Art Gallery; the premises the congregation currently uses for worship.
Above: Rev Dr David Ford welcomes Rev Iain MacAskill as minister of Stirling Free Church
Rev Dr David Ford led Saturday’s proceedings, and the Moderator of Glasgow and Argyll Presbytery read from Acts 3:1-10, of Peter healing a crippled beggar, before going onto illustrate the story from a play involving two Spanish immigrants, a disgruntled beggar and the bringing of good news.
Addressing Mr MacAskill, Dowanvale’s Rev Kenny Macleod (above) described him as “a man of God who has been greatly used and blessed wherever he has been” following the fruit of his labours for the Lord in South Uist and Benbecula and then Rosskeen and Alness.
Highlighting Acts 14, when the people of Lystra attempted to make false gods out of Paul and Barnabas, Mr Macleod said their message of turning from worthless joys to the true and living God is the same one for Stirling today.
Glasgow City’s Rev Dr Colin Dow (above), who had served as interim moderator for Stirling, drew on Psalm 126:1 (When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream) for his talk to the congregation.
Dr Dow encouraged them to firstly dream of the glory of God, secondly to have a great love of Christ – so that the people in and around Stirling would be embraced in the love of Christ, and thirdly to dream of the power of the Holy Spirit because nothing is impossible with God.
After the benediction, there were presentations welcoming Iain, his wife Ann (above) and their daughter Kathryn from representatives of the Stirling congregation.
Interim moderator Rev Dr Colin Dow was thanked, as was retired minister Rev Alasdair MacDonald, as well as a general acknowledgement of gratitude to all of the ministers across the denomination who had helped with pulpit supply over the past few years.
Elder Murdo Murchison (above), who helped kickstart the core group back in 2013, spoke movingly of the progress seen since services restarted in Stirling, as well of his continued desire to see more souls won for Christ in the city.
Bailie Fergus Wood (below), representing the Provost of Stirling, said the church plant added “strength and breadth” to the Christian community in the strategic city and, with God’s help, wished every success to the congregation and new minister.
Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser (below) added that with so many people “looking for purpose and meaning” it was most welcome that the good news will be proclaimed loud and clear from Stirling Free Church.
There were also speeches from Free Church Mission Director Rev David Meredith, Urquhart and Resolis minister Rev Chris Smart, Kilmallie’s Rev David Kirk and then Rev Calum MacMillan, assistant minister of Rosskeen, all wishing Iain well in his new congregation, with the general sentiment that Rosskeen’s loss was Stirling’s gain.
In closing Rev Iain MacAskill spoke of a real sense of anticipation of what the Lord will do through the work of the Stirling congregation, that the group will be reaching out to every part of the city as well as the outlying areas, and that it was his sincere prayer that revival will break out from here.
The afternoon was brought to a close with the singing of In Christ Alone, before a time of fellowship over refreshments in the Albert Halls.