Obituary: Rev Alan F M Downie

Reverend Alan F M Downie MA BD, Church of Scotland minister Born: 17 November, 1946, in Uddingston. Died: 10 March, 2010, in Alloa, aged 63.

ALAN Frew Munro Downie was born in Uddingston and educated at Muiredge Primary School, Uddingston and at Hamilton Academy. After school he worked as a trainee insurance underwriter, before going to Glasgow University to gain Honours Degrees in Arts and Divinity.

His original intention was to teach geography, but during his arts years there came a strong call to the Ministry of the Church of Scotland.

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He was licensed as a Preacher of the Gospel and Probationer for the Holy Ministry of the Church of Scotland by the Presbytery of Hamilton, in June 1976, and following a year as assistant minister at St Columba's Parish Church, Largs, he was ordained by the Presbytery of Angus and inducted to his first charge of Dun and Hillside in October 1977.

In Dun and Hillside there followed nearly 19 years of faithful, energetic, committed and effective ministry, as a much-loved minister, a very able, appealing, and entertaining preacher, as well as a devoted pastor.

While there, Alan Downie served as a chaplain to Sunnyside Psychiatric Hospital and clerk to the Presbytery of Angus. In Hillside there is a road named after him – Downie Way – which gave Alan, his wife and family much pleasure in this recognition of his work in the community.

It was in the Dun and Hillside years that he became recognised as a very able and sought after member of the then Committee on Maintenance of the Ministry, and later of the Board of Ministry, of which he was to be a vice convener during his later ministry years at Alloa St Mungo's, where he served as a much loved minister to his congregation and town of Alloa until his death last month.

For his congregations at Dun and Hillside and Alloa, St Mungo's, Alan always wanted the best in their witness, service and vision. He was a churchman who held the highest view of the Church. He was a parish minister who loved the Kirk, was proud to share its ministry, and fully understood its role in the community with other churches.

To both of his congregations he gave of himself with unrelenting faithfulness, facing every opportunity and test positively, encouraging the leadership of others, caring in depth for those in need, comforting with love and hope those in grief, and sharing his friendship with people of all ages and circumstances, far beyond the congregation.

In addition to his preaching and pastoral care, he was a man gifted in church management and organisation, and working with people. He served as a School Chaplain, as Chaplain at Glenochil Prison, was a member of Alloa Rotary Club and Borestone and Stirling Curling Club.

In the Presbytery of Stirling his gifts of wise counsel were sought and highly valued – both as a trusted and an experienced minister of the Kirk and also as a totally approachable colleague and friend. He was a past Convener of the Business Committee of Stirling Presbytery and a Moderator of Presbytery of grace, great humour and distinction.

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Alan was a husband and family man. He is survived by his wife Margaret and their children Jacqueline, Colin, Andrew and Laura. He was a man for whom Margaret and his family meant everything and the banter of the family meal table was always his truest home.

Clear in his conviction, selfless, sacrificial, oozing with integrity, full of empathy and sympathy, wide in his tolerance, broad in his mind, Allan Downie genuinely gave all for the sake of others and for the glory of Christ, whose call was his life, whose life was his strength, and whose promises were the constant ground that kept alive his vision and hope and assured him of his ultimate resurrection life.