Rev JAMES LYALL (ministered 1857-1898) was a United Presbyterian minister from Scotland. For 40 years he and his wife had a very active ministry with the church, first in Gouger Street and later in Flinders Street when the congregation moved there in 1865. His ministry at Flinders Street was very successful and his congregation included such influential members as W. W. Hughes, John Duncan, David Murray and John Gordon. They gave enthusiastic and untiring support to overseas missions, country outreach, evangelism, city mission work and children's ministry. He was a founder and first secretary of the inter-denominational City Mission, which held its early meetings in his vestry.[i]
He was also appointed convener of the foreign mission committee and of the Ministerial Association, and moderator of the South Australian Presbytery and Assembly in 1886-87 and 1897-98; for over twenty-five years he was foreign mission convener in the Presbyterian Church in Australia. Largely through his influence W. W. Hughes was persuaded to make his gift of £20,000 originally intended for Union College, of whose council Lyall was a member, available for founding the University of Adelaide.
Lyall was a devout and faithful minister of the older Presbyterian school and a powerful preacher. In his farewell sermon he claimed that he had 'availed himself of the principles of higher criticism in his interpretation of scripture’, but his preaching and activities showed a more conservative outlook than any influence by the newer trends of thought. In 1897 Lyall retired from the pastorate of the Flinders Street Church and was given £2000 as a token of esteem.[ii]
Tablets to him and his wife in Scots Church Adelaide were moved there when the Flinders Street Church was demolished.
[i] Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974
[ii] Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974
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