Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.


The pandemic is still not under control and the second wave is spreading swiftly around the world.  Several of our churches in Northern Ireland have had to close again because of the danger of infection.

The Toronto Sunday services will be held in the church at 11.00 am and 6.30 pm, and also on sermonaudio.  The pre-evening prayer time will be at 5.50 pm in the church and concurrently on Zoom.  The Wednesday prayer meeting will be at 7.30 pm on Zoom.


“Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel”  [2 Samuel 3:38]

It was with genuine sorrow that we said farewell to Dr. Alan Cairns on Thursday.  At 80 years of age, he went to his eternal reward from the hand of Christ whom he served for a lifetime.  He fell victim to this awful pandemic.  Alan and I first met in the newly–formed Mount Merrion church in Northern Ireland in the mid-fifties.  Since then our friendship has blossomed as brothers in Christ and fellow- workers for the Lord.  Alan left strict instructions that there were to be no tributes, otherwise, we would have written a lot more, so this is in the nature of an obituary. Besides he cannot object to us following Scripture “Let another man praise thee”  [Proverbs 27:2].

Alan Cairns pastored churches in Dunmurry and Cabra (now Hebron F.P.C.), and 25 years in Greenville, South Carolina before he retired to Ballymoney.  Apart from his beloved wife Joan, theology was the love of his life.  He lectured in theology from the early days of our denomination and our church has lost a valuable asset.  His Dictionary of Theological Terms, which ran to three editions, has been a great tool for pastors and others.  He edited three blessed books of daily readings, Footprints of Faith (1989), Eagles’ Wings (1991), and A Word in Season (2010).  A little booklet, Christ is the Answer containing virtually only scriptural quotations on salvation has been a powerful evangelical tool in leading souls to Christ. He was also the initial driving force behind the Let The Bible Speak radio ministry.

I wish I could tell you of Alan’s powerful preaching of Christ, his pastor’s heart of love, his happy disposition, his sense of humour but an obituary would soon become a tribute.

Please remember the Cairns family in prayer.  The Covid19 restrictions made the last weeks incredibly difficult for Joan, their son Frank and his family in the U.S. He was prevented from attending his father’s funeral. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them at this time.


“No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” [Psalm 84:11]

Many pleasing things the Lord withholds, but ‘no good thing.’  He is the best judge of what is good for us.  Some things are assuredly good and these we may have for the asking through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Holiness is a good thing, and this He works in us very freely.  Victory over evil tendencies, strong tempers, and evil habits, He will gladly grant, and we ought not to remain without it.

Full assurance He will bestow, near communion with Himself, and access into all truth, and boldness with prevalence at the mercy seat.

If we have not these, it is from want of faith to receive, and not from an unwillingness of God to give.  A calm, heavenly frame, great patience, and fervent love – all these things will He give to holy diligence.

But note well that we must ‘walk uprightly.’ There must be no cross purposes and crooked dealings; no hypocrisy nor deceit.  If we walk foully God cannot give us favours, for that would put a premium upon sin.  The way of uprightness is the way of heavenly wealth – wealth so large as to include every good thing.  What a promise to plead in prayer! Let us get to our knees.             [From Spurgeon’s Cheque Book]


Xvxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl , it works quitx wxll xcxpt for onx of thx kxys.  I havx wishxd many timxs that it workxd pxrfxctly.  It is trux that thxrx arx forty-six kxys that function wxll xnough, but just onx kxy not working makxs thx diffxrxncx.

Somxtimxs it sxxms to mx that our church is somxwhat likx my typxwritxr – – not all the kxy pxoplx arx working propxrly. You may say to yoursxlf, “Wxll, I am only onx pxrson.  I won’t  makx or brxak thx church.”  But it doxs makx a diffxrxncx, bxcausx a Church to bx xffxctivx nxxds thx activx participation of xvxry pxrson.

So, the nxxt timx you think you arx only onx pxrson and that your xfforts arx not nxxdxd, rxmxmbxr my typxwritxr and, and say to yoursxlf, “I am a kxy pxrson in thx church, and I am nxxdxd vxry much,”  [Author unknown]