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Pulteneytown & Thrumster Church

31 May 08
Rev Bill Wallace Set To Retire
The congregation of Pulteneytown & Thrumster Parish Church will be saying their fond farewell's to their much loved, and highly respected Minister Rev Bill Wallace and his Wife Jean, on the week-ending June 7th/8th 2008 Mr Wallace has been thirty four years as Minister at the Church in Argyle Square. A special service of thanksgiving and praise will be held on Saturday evening June the 7th and he will conduct his final services on the following Lord's day prior to his retirement.

Rev William Wallace BDS BD was born in Falkirk Stirlingshire and brought up in the city of Glasgow. He qualified as a dental surgeon in 1964 and worked full time in dentistry for a year, and latterly part time, while he studied at New College Edinburgh for the Ministry.

He took a keen interest in young people, introducing innovative ways of bringing the gospel to them and from 1963 to 1968 he was found leading teams of thirty youngsters on Youth Missions on Arran. And from 1966 to 1969 he was in charge of several Scripture Union Camps, including the first ever "Ski camp". He also led the Church of Scotland's Home Board Summer Missions in Leven and Ayr from 1969 to 1971.

He was ordained as Assistant Minister at "The Tron, Kirk" Glasgow in 1968 where he remained until 1971 when he went abroad to take up a post as Minister to the International Church at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. There he successfully combined his Christian Ministry with Dentistry in, training Ethiopians in dentistry skills, and caring for the staff of all the missions out there as their Minister. News of his work spread to the Emperor, Haile Selasse, and when his daughter required urgent dental treatment, he sought the services of Bill Wallace.

Bill left Ethiopia in 1974 to become Minister at ( the then ) Wick, St.Andrews and Thrumster Church. In 1990, St. Andrews and Thrumster united with Wick Central to form the new charge of Pulteneytown and Thrumster. During his ministry at the Church in the Argyle Square Green and at Thrumster, he dedicated himself to the furtherance of the gospel among the young and not so young. His commitment to the youth was to be seen in the successful running of the annual holiday club which attracts some two hundred primary school children and sixty High School children for a week in the month of August each year. It was he who initiated the first of many activity based week-ends for thirty plus teenagers during the holiday week-end in February at the Christian Centre, at Altnacriche where young folk experienced living and playing together in a Christian environment.

Bill Wallace was the "guiding hand" that drove forward the people of Pulteneytown Church to bring their nineteenth century building in Argyle Square into the twenty-first century, shortly after that, the BBC judged the building as an entirely suitable venue from which to feature Songs of Praise. He leaves behind him a state of the art Church for future generations. Those who have worked closely with him in the work have found him to be a man who does not readily give up, when he sets his heart upon a goal, quick to recognise an opportunity to further the gospel of Christ. The Church leadership now run "The Rock Café" on a Friday evening where a large number of teen-agers meet in the Church Coffee Bar where they can have Christian teaching, fellowship, and indoor games, in a homely atmosphere.

Bill has taken part in several Radio & TV presentations. He was at one time principal guest at a dinner given by Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral Castle. This unfortunately fell on the evening of Princess Diana's funeral, he spent forty minutes discussing this sad incident and other matters with the Queen. He conducted worship at Crathie Church on this same visit, he said at the time, that this sudden sad news necessitated a change of sermon at very short notice. Twice nominated for the highest post in the Church, that of Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland he was "piped at the post" and accepted with grace, that it was not to be, and got on with the task he was called to do, that of bringing the gospel to the people.

Bill Wallace will not only be missed by his congregation, but by the wider community in Caithness where he has served on several committee's which have the interests of the community at heart. Bill is a very private man. But he has shown himself to be a man of great vision, who has worked tirelessly for the Church and for the cause of Christ, a man of prayer who scorns any accolade given; ( as he will this one ! ) giving all the praise to the Lord he loves and serves with such devotion and conviction.

Hamish T. Gunn.