An "Ordinary" Church Member

 By Stephen Steele - Posted at Gentle Reformation:

Christian biographies tend to focus on missionaries, ministers and others who have played prominent roles. A partial exception is Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by Don Carson. Carson is a prominent author and conference speaker – but his father wasn’t. Tom Carson was simply an ordinary minister who none of us would have heard of his more famous son hadn’t written his biography.

Yet if a book entitled Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor is unusual, books containing the memoirs of ordinary church members must be rare indeed. (The exception might be if they end up being killed for their faith. But what about folk who have served away for decades in some hidden corner of God's kingdom?). Being a missionary or minister doesn’t make anyone more valuable in God’s sight, and so surely it is right to also celebrate those who have played less upfront roles.

What the storm brought to light

Given that background, I was delighted recently to be given an insight into the life of an ordinary church member from my own congregation who lived two hundred years ago.

The information came to light in January after Storm Isha blew the roof off a garage belonging to a descendant of John Milroy (1770-1847). Milroy was an ancestor of the Scottish Rugby captain Eric Milroy, who was killed in action during WWI. John himself however was simply, according to his obituary, ‘late tenant, Freugh, Stoneykirk’.

That obituary appeared in the Galloway Advertiser and Wigtownshire Free Press of 13th January, 1848. There is also a transcript of a letter which he wrote from ‘Clayhole, Stranraer’ to his daughter and son who had emigrated to Ontario.


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