Larbert East Church minister retires after 37-year career

A Falkirk district church is preparing to say a fond farewell to its long-serving minister.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:30 pm

Reverend Melville Crosthwaite is this week retiring from his role at Larbert East Church – a position he’s held for the last 26 years.

Rev. Crosthwaite, 65, is departing the Church of Scotland to enjoy retired life in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire with his wife, Irene.

Born in Sheffield to parents from Fife, he trained to become a teacher at the University of Edinburgh, where he met Irene.

Reverend Melville Crosthwaite is retiring after 26 years at Larbert East Church. Picture: John Summers.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in divinity and diploma in ministry, Rev. Crosthwaite’s first charge was at Carstairs Junction Parish Churches in 1984, where he remained for 11 years.

The rest of his ministerial career was spent was spent with Larbert East Church, with various students benefitting from his leadership and going on to become readers, ordained local ministers and full-time ministers all over Scotland.

Among those are Rev. Andrew Sarle, of Bainsford Parish Church, and Rev. Raheel Arif, of Denny Old Parish Church.

Thanking the minister for his service, Kelvin Cairns, Larbert East Church convener, said: “His work ethic has been phenomenal and his achievements too many to mention.

Larbert East Church holds its final church session meeting with Reverend Melville Crosthwaite. Picture: John Summers.

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“Since November 1995, he and his family have entered into the life of Larbert East with great enthusiasm. Irene, his wife, set up the Banner Group, Traidcraft Stall and played a very active part in the Young Church.

“Melville reinvigorated the Session and Deacons’ Court by making new groups responsible for different areas of church life. Weekday worship was introduced and was enthusiastically received by those unable to attend on a Sunday.

“We became an active church in supporting and mentoring student ministers. He introduced us to the Vine Trust and Christine Stone, our Missionary Partner. He was heavily involved in school chaplaincy and also Larbert Churches Youth Trust.

“Online worship was set up. Melville, as chaplain, also played an important role in Falkirk Presbytery.”

Mr Cairns added: “When Melville retires, he will be a great loss and sadly missed by everyone.

“A new chapter, however, will open up in his life and we wish him and Irene a long and happy retirement. We thank God for his being a wonderful leader and vital part of Larbert East Church.”

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