Very Rev. William C. Hewitt
After 18 years of service at Greenock Westburn (and the former St. Luke’s), the Very Rev Bill Hewitt demitted his charge on Monday 5th March.
He took leave of Greenock and Paisley Presbytery on Tuesday 14th February, where our Session Clerk, Stuart Robertson, gave the following tribute:-
It is very difficult to encapsulate 18 years of ministry into 5 minutes, especially when the ministry is that of Bill Hewitt and that the national church has changed so much during that time and is still changing in many aspects of its life and witness, but change is something that Bill Hewitt is prepared to meet and normally meet head on.
His tenure at St. Luke’s when he came to Greenock and latterly Westburn was overshadowed for nearly 5 years by the concept of 5 west-end congregations into 1, the vision of Bill Hewitt and John Harvey, Interim Minister at Ardgowan Parish, brought us to the brink of an historic union – 5 congregations into 1.
He has, over the past 18 years, managed to combine his “Edinburgh duties” with parish duties in Greenock, except for a period of 16 months 2009-2010 when he became Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, bringing praise from many quarters for his chairmanship during difficult debates and extending to our fellow Christians in India, South Africa, Israel and many parts of the UK on his travels the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He has been Moderator of Greenock Presbytery and first Moderator of the united Greenock & Paisley Presbytery. He has convened Presbytery committees, and commands a wide knowledge of Church Law and Procedure, which has over my years as Session Clerk helped to answer many questions.
During his time here, 3 American divinity students have passed through Westburn with Bill Hewitt as mentor, many candidates for ministry have also experienced the Hewitt method, and all I think would testify to the benefits that came from that partnership.
He married his only daughter in Westburn, playing dual roles of father of the bride and minister, and only 4 months ago baptised his twin grandsons.
One aspect of his work at Westburn, which might not be known by Presbytery, is his attendance and overall enthusiasm, for the 7am service on Easter Sunday – venue Lyle Hill, (he has only missed 2 – 2009/2010).
He turns up with a small table, bread, guitar, hymn sheets and a smile. He used to walk from the church, now he drives to the bottom of the hill and walks the last 200 metres, but significantly he is first back at the church for the bacon rolls.
I thank him as Session Clerk for all his work at Westburn, and on behalf of the congregation wish him God’s grace in his future work for the church in the time ahead.
In response, the Very Rev Bill thanked Stuart for his support and also recognised the support from his congregation at Westburn and previously at Elderslie Church
Looking back and as the General Assembly 2009 began, Rev W. C. Hewitt was elected to be Moderator and duly appointed to office.
For the congregation of Greenock Westburn it began on Sunday 1st March 2009, when the Rev. W.C. Hewitt took leave of his congregation to prepare for a very exciting year as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
The morning Communion Service, attended by over 350 members of the Congregation together with invited guests, was a very special occasion. This was followed by a buffet lunch and presentations to both Bill and his wife Moira. The oldest active worshiping member of our congregation, Mrs Nessie Robertson aged 101 years presented Bill with a new cassock. a member of the Bible Class, Evan McQuillan presented Moira with a jewellery voucher.
On the 12th May 2009 and at the meeting of Greenock And Paisley Presbytery, the Moderator Rev Arthur Sherratt presented Bill with a Preaching Scarf and on behalf of Presbytery wished him all success both during the period of the General Assembly and throughout the coming year. Bill responded with a short speech, thanking Presbytery for his gift and saying that he would be proud to wear the Scarf as he went about his duties.
Subsequent to his Induction as Moderator on the first morning of the General Assembly on Thursday 21st May, he will be known as the Right Rev W. C. Hewitt.
We have followed the progress of Bill and Moira as they travelled throughout Scotland and made their visits overseas to South Africa (particurly to Venda) and India as representatives of the Church of Scotland.
The Very Rev. Bill Hewitt will enhance the life and worship of our congregation by his experience of the past year.
The following article is taken from a News Release issued by the Church of Scotland
The Reverend William Currie Hewitt, Minister of Westburn Church of Scotland, Greenock, is Moderator Designate of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
|Mr Hewitt, (57), was born in Kilmarnock and educated at Kilmarnock Academy where he was Head Boy in 1968-69. He attended Henderson Church and progressed through Sunday school, Bible Class, and Youth Fellowship into full membership in 1969. Mr Hewitt went on to Strathclyde University to study accountancy before answering the call from God to ministry which had been awakened by his minister sometime previously. He transferred to Glasgow University, graduating BD in 1974 and then did a Post Graduate Diploma in pastoral studies, graduating in 1976. He served for two years as Probationer Assistant at Castlehill Church, Ayr where he was ordained in 1977.|
In 1978, Mr Hewitt was called to Elderslie Kirk, then a new union of Elderslie East and Elderslie West, where he served for 16 years. During his ministry, Elderslie Kirk was seen as the focal point of the well defined community and he was involved in community life, as chaplain to the local school, part time chaplain to Elderslie Hospital (Children with severe mental and physical disability), Merchiston Hospital (adult mental health and part-time chaplain to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Mr Hewitt was Regional Chaplain to the Girls’ Brigade and served on presbytery Committees and national committees of the Church, in particular the Youth Education Committee which provided him with the opportunity to convene the Youth ventures group, arranging activities for 12 – 15 year olds.
Mr Hewitt was called to Greenock: St Luke’s, a large town centre church, in 1994. He serves as local primary school and Greenock Academy chaplain, James Watt College chaplain and part time chaplain to Inverclyde Royal Infirmary and to Ardgowan Hospice and previously as part time chaplain to Inverclyde Royal Hospital.
In 2000, the five churches in the west end of Greenock agreed to work together towards union. This work continued and, in 2006. St Luke’s and their immediate neighbours, St George’s North, united as Westburn Church of Scotland. During the last two years, Mr Hewitt and his colleague have worked hard to cement the union and believe that through worship, teaching and social events, the two congregations are happily working as one.
Wider Church work has included Moderator of Greenock Presbytery and first Moderator of Greenock and Paisley Presbytery. Mr Hewitt is currently the vice convener of Presbytery Business Committee and convener of Discipline.
In 1993, Mr Hewitt was appointed to the Board of Practice and Procedure where he served for 8 years, becoming Convener of the General Assembly Arrangements Committee and Convener of the Business Committee of the General Assembly. Mr Hewitt has also been a member of the Assembly Council and of the Support and Services Committee.
Outwith the Church, he is a member of the Board of Studies for the Institute of Counselling based in Glasgow.
Mr Hewitt and his wife, Moira, have a daughter and two sons. In his leisure time, Mr Hewitt enjoys golf, is Past President of Johnstone Rotary Club, a member and Past President of Greenock Burns Club and a frequent speaker at Burns events which included a trip to Canada to propose the Immortal Memory. Mr Hewitt is currently Précis of the Innerkip Society – a charitable organisation dating back to 1798.
Note:- The role of Moderator of the General Assembly is an honorary one, held for 12 months. Meetings of the General Assembly are chaired by the Moderator, who leads worship, rules on points of order and signs documents on behalf of the Assembly. After the Assembly, the Moderator generally travels as a Church representative in Scotland, other parts of the UK and overseas in an ambassadorial capacity.
Every Moderator carries out a series of visits to several Church of Scotland presbyteries as well as undertaking a number of international tours.