Donald MacKenzie: 1926-2013
One of the brightest scholars of his generation who chose to serve in local churches rather than pursue an academic career
Donald MacKenzie was born in Glasgow on 16 September 1926. He spent most of his formative years as one of five siblings in the remote north of Scotland, a mile and a half from John O’Groats, and then in Buckie on the Moray Firth. His father was a Baptist Minister.
Donald studied at both Glasgow (MA Hons) and Edinburgh (New College BD Hons) universities and trained for the ministry at Glasgow Baptist College. He married Elspeth Walker in 1954 and they had three children: Neil, Catriona and Duncan.
Donald’s calling took him south to the wonderfully varied counties of Lancashire, Essex and Northants. He served as minister of three churches: Scarisbrick Street, Wigan (1954-64), Avenue, Westcliff-on Sea (1964-81) and Fuller, Kettering (1981-1992). For many years he was a member of The Baptist Union Council and for a time Chairman of The Ministerial Recognition Committee.
Donald was one of the brightest scholars of his generation yet chose to serve in local churches rather than pursue an academic career. Week by week he delivered sermons of the highest theological quality preached in a story telling style. He was always a keen champion of the local church. His kind-hearted pastoral work, consistent preaching and gentle servant leadership meant that all three churches flourished during his ministry. In Kettering he oversaw the church’s participation in the BMS Bi-centenary celebrations.
In all of this he was ably assisted by his wife Elspeth whose grace and charm always made the manse a place of genuine welcome. The MacKenzies celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in Sherbrooke St Gilbert’s Church, in Glasgow, where they were originally married.
Upon retirement Donald and Elspeth moved to Welwyn Garden City and during this time Donald continued to preach in various churches throughout Hertfordshire. In recent years they worshipped at Dagnall Street Baptist Church, St Albans where their son in law, Simon Carver is minister.
Donald MacKenzie died on 23 December 2013 and at his funeral service former members from all of his three churches joined the family to remember a truly wise and faithful servant of The Lord Jesus Christ.