Randal

We’re mourning the loss of Randal MacAlister this week following his sudden death on Friday.

Clergy are notorious for being a bit hard on one another. But we all loved Randal. He served as Dean of our diocese until his retirement in 2006. He was quite literally getting into the stride of a well-spent retirement – hill-walking, Gaelic speaking, fiddle-playing – yet still willing to say ‘yes’ when called on for some ministry. Randal and Valerie were working hard on their beautiful house in Dykehead at the bottom of Glen Clova.

If there are balances to be found in the extraordinary way of life which is ministry, then Randal had worked them out. He was eirenic but he wasn’t soft. He radiated contentment and well-being but he gave himself unsparingly to ministry. He was holy but people found him accessible and they loved him.

He was extraordinarily kind and supportive to me, particularly when I was learning to acclimatise to a new situation. We had an extra bond. I knew where he came from in ministry. He had learnt his trade from Tom McGonigle, one of the great curate-trainers of the Church of Ireland, who used to say something like ‘149 curates and never a bad one – well maybe one’ Tom lived in retirement in my parish. I knew Tom and so, in a sense, I knew Randal.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Valerie and her family.

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5 Responses to Randal

  1. Rev Duncan Macleod (Perth Free Church of Scotland) says:

    I was truly sorry to hear last night from my former school classmate Nan Kennedy of Randal`s passing. I came across him a few years ago through his interest in Gaelic and he indeed represented the Scottish Episcopal church doing one of the Scripture readings at the 2004 National Mod Gaelic service which I conducted. I was also very pleased to accept his kind invitation to me to preach on more than one occasion at Gaelic Holy Communion services in Auchterarder and Blair Athol. Please pass on my heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.

  2. bertie martin says:

    I phoned Tom McGonigle this morning and he was pleased to learn of your complimentary remarks about him. At a meeting of the Rotary Club of Portadown members were told of your election as Primus

  3. chris says:

    I hadn’t heard. He used to come to Dunoon, many years ago. A lovely man. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

  4. Hugh Magee says:

    Randal succeeded me as Rector of St. John’s, Forfar, in 1987. I have always admired his warm and gentle manner and I was grateful for the fact that a priest of his calibre would take the helm at St. John’s after I moved on.

    Blessings on him.

    HUGH MAGEE

  5. Hugh Magee says:

    Randal succeeded me as Rector of St. John’s, Forfar, in 1987. I have always admired his warm and gentle manner and I was grateful for the fact that a priest of his calibre would take the helm at St. John’s after I moved on.

    Blessings on him.

    HUGH MAGEE

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