Born: September 16, 1921; Died: July 24, 2014
Rev Dr Alexander Lawson, who has died at the age of 92, was a minister in Clydebank for 33 years.
Alexander Lawson was born in Toronto but returned with his parents to Scotland where he was educated in a primary school in Stepps and then at Coatbridge Senior Secondary. He undertook training as an accountant until he joined the RAF in 1941 and saw service at home and in Egypt and Greece.
He was one of many ex-servicemen who decided to train for the ministry of the Church of Scotland. The number of them was so large that the Church had to appoint the St Andrews theological professor Donald Baillie to keep in touch with them and give advice to those who were hardly a normal group of trainees for the ministry. While studying at Trinity College in Glasgow, Mr Lawson served assistantships at both Carntyne Old and St Mark's Lancefield churches.
In 1950 he was ordained and inducted to the Grange Church in Prestonpans and in 1956 moved to the West to become the minister of Kilbowie Parish church in Clydebank. The church of Scotland has never fully recognised how much it owed to the ministries of those who served in urban parishes from the mid-Fifties onwards.
Under his ministry Kilbowie flourished. It attracted many of the most committed and talented Christians in the area and it became one of the most active and successful congregations, including a large number of skilled tradesmen from the yards who helped ensure the buildings were always maintained in excellent condition.
Dr Lawson also served on the education committee of the local authority for many years and was also moderator of Dumbarton Presbytery in 1970.
Going to Clydebank as a minister was not his first contact with Clydebank. When he left school he had started work at a steel company which later became part of Colvilles. He was trained as a first aider at the plant and on the very day he became a qualified first aider, Clydebank was bombed in the Blitz.
Mr Lawson came off shift and cycled from Lanarkshire to Clydebank to assist. Later that same day he volunteered for the RAF.
Rev David Munro, formerly Presbytery Clerk of Dumbarton recalls: "Alex said that he came back to Clydebank in 1956 with a real sense of mission, to help rebuild life in Clydebank after the Blitz. And he did."
Throughout his life, Dr Lawson had a keen interest in politics and even contested a regional election for the now defunct Strathclyde Region as an independent candidate.
He was never a member of any political party until after his retirement when he became a member of the Scottish National Party.
Alexander Lawson had a long-time interest in the European movement and in 1983 the Conference of European churches published his study of Churches at the Crossroads and two years later he produced an account of a conference in Holland, Towards a Lasting Peace.
His wife, Matty, died in 2006 and he is survived by his son Iain, his daughter Muriel, five grandchildren and a great grand-daughter.
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