Whilst tidying up boxes in an upper room of the manse recently, I found some hand written notes I had made for the funeral service of the Rev Donald Macaulay eleven years ago at the beginning of February 2006. As far as I know these notes hadn’t seen the light of day since then. I was at that time acting as the interim moderator of the Lochs-in-Bernera congregation, and as a result of which I had the privilege of leading the funeral service of Mr Macaulay , the man who laid hands on me and led the prayer of ordination on the night I was ordained as a minister of the gospel. I had no computer facilities at my mother’s house so I started on the evening after the ” wake” service to make up a order of service and mini sermon for the funeral. On this day 2nd February 2006 the little church in Breaclete was packed to overflowing , with many coming from far and near to pay their respects to a man who played a key pivotal role in the local government of these islands in the Council’s infancy. I reproduce these notes and the following tribute from the Presbytery of Lewis in memory of this man of god, and a champion of his people. It must be understood that these notes are a brief sketch of what was said that day much of which was extempore.
The funeral service of the Rev Donald Macaulay OBE , JP, Freeman of the Western Isles, First Convener of Western Isles Islands Council
Gaelic Salm 90 verses 1-2 in Gaelic ‘S tu b’ionad còmhnaidh dhuinn gach linn,a Thighearna na glòir’;Cian mun do ghineadh fòs na cnuic,‘s na slèibhtean beag’ no mòr’.
2 Timothy 4: 1-8 ( Words of a man of God ready to go home)
Revelation 7:9-17 ( A Vision of the redeemed)
“How does one sum up the life of a great man ?
The apostle Paul at the end of his life could say “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”Our dear friend and brother Donald did just that. He fought a good fight, he finished his course, he kept the faith. Donald like Caleb was not scared of a fight, for what he believed to be right. Like Caleb he was motivated by faith and not fear, to declare ‘ Give this mountain “. He wouldn’t let the ‘giants’ * get in this way, and became a champion for his people, his culture, his land, his language and his faith. He fought a good fight till the end, he finished his course, in his final battle with illness. And as ever was cheerful to the end. Even when he knew that like Paul the hour of his departure was come. The smile never faded, the welcome was always warm. A man of the people, who the people took to heart from the Butt of Lewis to Barra and farther afield.He fought a good fight, he finished his course, he kept the faith. He lived by faith knowing that the battle was the Lord’s.That faith sustained him as a minister, a politician, as a husband, grandfather,. He never forgot his roots, a Bernera man. Its history, genealogy , its people. He was an encyclopaedia of knowledge of his native island, I hope sincerely it won’t be lost.Don’t let what Donald Macaulay stood for die. In politics, In Christian values, and outlook. He fought a good fight, he finished the course, he kept the faith.”
Led by the Rev Tommy Macneil moderator of the Presbytery of Lewis and minister at Barvas.
Paraphrase 2 ‘ O God of Bethel
(* Some notes to the above The “giants” I was specifically referring to here was with reference to a proposal that was made by the central government of the time, in the early years of the Comhairle’s existence for nuclear waste to be stored in the Western Isles . It was largely because of the robust stance against this taken by Donald and others that this did not take place).
Although there were a large number of ministers and others present that day. I am afraid I cannot remember who led the praise that day. If anyone can remember they can perhaps please let me know.