A Fond Farewell to Ian Gilmour

Posted by in May's Magazine

On Easter Sunday, 24 April 2011 Ian Gilmour preached his last sermon as minister of South Leith Parish Church.

Ian has done so very much and worked incredibly hard both for South Leith and the wider Leith community. After fifteen and a half years in Leith, Ian’s departure will leave a huge gap. He has been instrumental in raising the profile of South Leith Church, where rock stars and royalty have worshipped, and so much more.



In the years that Ian worked in Leith he made a real difference.

Within South Leith Parish Church he re-structured our organisation – working with us to introduce committees for outreach, worship, education, serving and belonging. This allowed the Kirk Session to take a more focussed view for the long term, and it gave non-elder members an opportunity for active involvement in the running of the church. SLPC became a more democratic organisation and more empowered because of Ian’s leadership.

Ian worked with a variety of Associate Ministers and Probationers. The Vestry Team has helped to inspire many individual members to develop their own skills and encourage everyone to be more actively involved in worship. Many lay members now have the confidence to plan and lead services of worship.  Some members have been trained to take funerals and to support bereaved families. As a congregation and as individuals, South Leithers are more confident Christians, able to participate actively in worship and pastoral duties. And this is largely due to Ian’s drive and vision.

Innovative worship
Throughout the years Ian led the congregation in innovative and stimulating worship. He challenged and informed us with his sermons, supported and comforted us with his prayers, and delighted us with new and different ways of worship.

We enjoyed many fabulous services under Ian’s ministry. There were over 400 people in Church to celebrate our 400th anniversary service in June 2009.  Our Christmas services have been beautiful and meaningful. We have enjoyed energetic and fun-filled Easter celebrations. And yes SLPC did host the baptism of Rod Stewart & Penny Lancaster’s son. Our Church also welcomed HRH Princess Anne to the dedication service for the Merchant Seafarers Scottish Memorial.

The innovative worship has been a springboard for mission and outreach. Each member of the congregation is encouraged to take ownership for outreach whether it is by participating in the ‘invite a friend to church initiative’ or in the special 400th anniversary Baptismal and Wedding celebration services. Ian encouraged each of us to own these events and to see them as valuable opportunities for mission.

As minister of South Leith Ian worked with the Forum partners to serve the wider Leith community. He also helped develop outreach through the work of Leith Churches Together.  Ian recognised the opportunity of working with the Ocean Terminal Shopping Development to grow the ‘church in the market place’.  He also celebrated our links with the seafaring community.

Chipembi School
He worked hard to ensure Leith Festival continued and that it developed into the strong and vibrant annual event that it is now. He led the establishment of a community café within our church halls and he encouraged our congregation to share the vision of developing our halls as a community resource and a fantastic opportunity for outreach.

The work Ian did as Chaplain to Leith Academy has been inspiring. He worked directly with the secondary school pupils and teachers to build imaginative and moving Remembrance Day services and end of term Christmas worship.

He encouraged South Leith to develop links with Christians around the world. The links built with a headmaster from Chipembi School in Zambia have led to real and practical missionary development, providing a route for the congregation of SLPC to actively support the school and to make a difference in the lives of the girls and teachers at Chipembi. The congregation developed an interest in Zambia that resulted in Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia, worshipping at South Leith Parish Church when he visited Scotland.

These are just a few examples that show how Ian’s vision, energy and hard work have helped the congregation at South Leith to develop into a stronger and more committed Christian community. And we are indeed blessed to have had Ian lead us for those fifteen and a half years.

We will miss both Ian and his wife Donna tremendously and we wish them both well in their new church of St Andrew’s & St George’s West.

7 responses to “A Fond Farewell to Ian Gilmour”

  1. jackie says:

    a good man very entertaining leith festival programme over the years

  2. Winnie says:

    He gave wonderful service to our community, sorely missed

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  6. John says:

    Thank you

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