John Ferguson (1852 – 1925) Presbyterian minister
John Ferguson was the moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church. His 1909 inaugural address, The Economic Value of the Gospel, raised a storm in Melbourne and praise from trade union leaders. W. M. Hughes said, ‘The new moderator preaches a gospel all sufficient, all powerful. He grapples with the problems of poverty, he insists on justice being done. I advise every citizen to read it’.
John Ferguson married Isabella Adie, on 4 February 1881 at Dunedin NZ. He soon became colleague and successor to Rev A. Stobo at Invercargill, where he remained in full charge for fourteen years. In August 1894 Ferguson was inducted to St Stephen’s, Phillip Street, Sydney, the largest Presbyterian congregation in Australia. His ministry in Sydney was very successful.
Ferguson took a full part in Australian religious and public life, becoming moderator-general in 1909. His inaugural address, published as The Economic Value of the Gospel, caused controversy in Melbourne and praise from trade union leaders. Labor politician William Morris (Billy) Hughes (who was to become Prime Minister in 1915),said:
“The new moderator preaches a gospel all sufficient, all powerful. He grapples with the problems of poverty … he insists on justice being done, though the heavens fall. I advise every citizen to read every word of it.”
As the senior Presbyterian chaplain in New South Wales, Ferguson preached on many special occasions, including the arrival of H.M.A.S. Australia and the memorial services at the end of the South African War and World War I. Ferguson’s ecumenical interests led him to seek an audience with the Pope on a visit to Rome in 1914, an action that evoked much criticism in Sydney.
On 22 May 1913, following the resignation of Rev. Dr Andrew Harper, Ferguson was appointed Senior Chaplain and Chairman of the exclusive Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney Council, retiring in 1923 due to ill health. Whilst in this role, he actively worked towards the planning and establishment of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Pymble in 1916, a branch of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney. He was also the first chairman of the board of the Australian Inland Mission, a member of the Council of The Scots College and St Andrew’s Theological College, and Vice-President of the Highland Society of New South Wales. He was also to become the Acting Principal of St Andrew’s Theological College at the University of Sydney in 1917.
It is said that Ferguson was a “tall, dark-haired man, with a drooping moustache and a commanding presence. An attractive preacher, with a genial and informal friendliness, he seldom forgot a face or a name and few entered St Stephen’s without a warm personal greeting. He was admired and respected by all the Churches.”
The Economic Value of the Gospel :
Ferguson House, Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) :
Refer also, John Ferguson : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080512b.htm
Refer also, Associates of the Rev John Flynn. https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/john-flynns-associates/
Images from the Australian Inland Mission are available at : http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview?pi=nla.pic-an11408153&chunk=1
Rev John Ferguson sons :
Sir John Alexander Ferguson – http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A140162b.htm
– refer his Bibliography of Australia – http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/fergbib.html
Eustace William Ferguson – http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080510b.htm
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