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Significant Scots
David John Boyd Anderson


David AndersonGeneral Secretary, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)
Died 20 November 2001, Aged 52 years

The Rev David J B Anderson, the first General Secretary of Evangelical Alliance (Scotland), died on 20 November, 2001, on the 27th anniversary of his ordination as a minister of the Church of Scotland. That coincidence was strangely fitting for a man whose life was lived so notably in the service of his Lord.

Since 1994, he has led the founding phase of the Evangelical Alliance (Scotland) in a way that has combined clarity of purpose and charity of spirit in equal measure. His ministry across Scotland and the UK has inspired many Christian people to a deeper faith in a God who cares for the welfare of the nation in all its aspects.

David Anderson was born in Glasgow on 23 June 1949, brother to Sheila and Olive, into a family where the Christian faith was practised and prayer was a natural part of everyday living. That was to be a legacy that David would carry to the heart of his own family and ministry.

Educated at Glasgow Academy, he developed a love for sport and a fiercely competitive spirit in rugby, squash and golf. At Aberdeen University, he graduated as Master of Arts in Geography and Bachelor of Divinity, where he took prizes in Theology, Philosophy and New Testament. Already he was displaying a fine analytical mind, which could muster facts and line up an argument on a wide range of subjects.

David and Eleanore, married in 1973, along with their four children, Richard, Jonathan, Sarah and Malcolm, shared a family life which was always open to their many friends. The hospitality and laughter of the Anderson household has touched many people over many years. He had that gift of making people feel special.

David Anderson was ordained and inducted to the parish of Bainsford in Falkirk in 1974, where he ministered for 12 years until his move in 1986 to the parish of Gorgie in Edinburgh. It was here, under the floodlights of Tynecastle football ground, that David’s distinctive ministry developed.

He built up a ministry team including the late Captain Stephen Anderson as evangelist and others in pastoral roles. His personal focus was prayer and expository preaching, notable for its clarity if not its brevity! His gifts for leadership emerged as he became a key person in several initiatives to bring together Christian leaders in the capital city in a shared concern for prayer and evangelism.

After the formation of Evangelical Alliance in Scotland, David was invited in 1994 to be General Secretary. He was recognised as a person whose quiet spiritual authority was rooted in parish ministry, and whose natural gifts of friendship made him a winsome networker across the church traditions. He had already taken a leading role in supporting the visit of Billy Graham in Mission Scotland in 1991, and the subsequent School of Evangelism at the University of Stirling.

His early years with Evangelical Alliance were focused on encouraging united prayer for church and nation. His later phase of ministry took up the challenge of relating the Christian Gospel to the changing social and political face of the new Scotland. He worked hard to see the appointment of a Parliamentary Officer to the Scottish Parliament, and was a regular contributor in the media. He was well-informed, balanced and able to state his Christian viewpoint with courteous clarity.

David’s illness of recent months brought to the fore that positive faith in God by which he lived and inspired others. Amidst the ravages of cancer, he maintained a determined faith in Jesus Christ, and even through weakness sustained a prayerful desire that, whatever the outcome for himself, God would be glorified in Scotland. He died in fighting position. 

Submitted by:

The Rev Peter Neilson
Associate Minister
The Parish Church of St Cuthbert
Edinburgh
Commissioned by Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)


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