Obituary: Reverend William Logan Kirk, well-travelled minster who held the courts of the church in high esteem

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Rev William Logan Kirk, MA, BD, MTh. Born: 6 June 1931. Died: 22 March 2017 in Lochmaben, age 85.

The youngest of a family of five, William Logan Kirk (Logan) was born in 1931 into the family of Dr Henry Kirk, who, for 45 years, was the general practitioner in the village of Gullane in East Lothian. Logan was privately educated in the locality until the onset of the Second World War when he was evacuated to Perthshire. Thereafter, from 1944 until 1949, he was a boarder at Merchiston Castle School, the school of his elder brother and his maternal cousins. Soon after leaving school Logan completed his national service, serving as a second lieutenant with the Royal Scots and the Royal Scots Fusiliers; his national service included a stint in Germany which gave rise to an abiding interest in the German language.

In 1951 he went to Edinburgh University, graduating MA in 1954. Accepted for training as minister of the Church of Scotland, he then entered the divinity faculty at New College, graduating with a BD in 1957. While at university Logan played rugby and captained the first XV as well as serving as club secretary. Logan represented the Scottish Universities and the Edinburgh District teams; he subsequently played for Edinburgh Wanderers until his playing days were curtailed by injury.

In 1957 Logan was licensed by the then Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar and served as an assistant at the High Kirk of Edinburgh St Giles until 1959. Logan did not, at that time, seek a charge but embarked on a life in farming in East Lothian and in Berwickshire. Apart from work commitments, Logan became deeply involved in many aspects of country life. In the early eighties a new minister arrived at what was to become the Kirk of Lammermuir. This newcomer was quick to spot Logan’s abilities. Logan went on to represent the congregation at Presbytery and in due course became involved with the Panel on Doctrine. This change of direction prompted a comment he recounted from an old friend, the Very Rev Prof Robin Barbour, “Logan, your past is catching up with you”.

Over the next years there was a decided change in his thinking, with thoughts again moving towards ministry and in March 1988 he was ordained and inducted into the charge of Dalton linked with Hightae linked with St Mungo.

Logan was particularly well prepared for this charge from both an academic and from a farming perspective; with his hands-on farming experience he quickly endeared himself to his people.

With Logan there were no gimmicks; he was the traditional parish minister and people knew exactly where they stood with him. His long involvement with Moral Rearmament (now known as Initiatives for Change) was a significant influence in his life; he was ever faithful to its precepts. His work ethic was strong, no doubt harking back to his Master’s thesis on the Christian view of work.

Logan held the courts of the church in high esteem; he was actively involved with the Presbytery of Annandale and Eskdale, serving as Moderator and involved with its sectional committees. On retirement, his interest in Presbytery matters did not diminish; he served as a member of the Dumfries and Kirkudbright Presbytery. Logan was an active Commissioner at the General Assembly and a not infrequent contributor to the debates. An avid reader, he kept up to date with developments in theology and in a wide variety of other topics. Logan had an abiding interest in people and always had kind words to say about them.

He was much loved by a wide circle of friends and even in his latter years when mobility issues posed problems, he thought nothing of overcoming convoluted travel arrangements to visit friends. Until comparatively recently he made trips to Germany to keep in touch with friends there; he remained an active member of the Dumfries German Club.

Following a private cremation, a memorial service was held in Torthorwald Parish Church attended by a large number of friends and relatives. Logan never married. This large gathering of people from the different strands of Logan’s life gave much comfort and assurance to his nieces, nephews and cousins, most of whom live furth of Scotland, in knowing that Logan was held in such high esteem by so many people.

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