Lay preacher’s 100th birthday

John Murdoch receives his long service certificate from Mid Deeside minister Rev Alec Ward
John Murdoch receives his long service certificate from Mid Deeside minister Rev Alec Ward

He may have just celebrated his 100th birthday, but John Murdoch is still playing an active role in the Torphins community.

A lay preacher, John has stood in for the minister at the village’s Mid Deeside Church when he lost his voice.

John celebrating his 100th birthday

John celebrating his 100th birthday

He still regularly conducts services at the local Annesley and Pitmurchie Homes.

And on Sunday, the congregation at Mid Deeside Church held a special afternoon tea for the sprightly centenarian.

At the morning praise in the park outdoor service, John was presented with a long service award personally authorised by the Moderator of the Genetreal Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning.

He also received a personal letter from the Moderator congratulating him on his birthday and thanking him for his service.

Glasgow-born John, who celebrated the milestone with his family the previous day, has a link with the Church spanning 90 years.

It started when he was six at Sunday school in Uddingston and by the time he was 16 John was a Sunday school teacher.

John and his late wife Margaret moved to Torphins from Blairgowie in 1994.

He he soon found himself in steady demand to preach and play organ during vacancies, holidays and other ‘crises’ - not just in Torphins but also in the surrounding villages including Lumphanan, Kincardine O’Neil, Alford, Tarland and Echt.

Between 2010 and 2012 Mid Deeside Parish had an extended vacancy and John’s expertise and willingness to help out was very much appreciated and used.

Although the lay preacher has been reducing the amount of work he does, he has no thoughts about calling it a day..

John said: “I started preaching because I was asked to.

“I continued preaching because it seemed to be helping people.

“I am prepared to go on as long as people want me to.

“Let others decide that.”