The Revd Dr Derek Boyd Murray: 1936-2022
As husband and father, pastor and teacher, chaplain and scholar, friend and confidant, Derek Murray fulfilled a vocation that was both diverse and focused
Derek Murray was a Scottish Baptist minister for 64 years, which included three pastoral charges (Glenburn in Paisley, Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh); 25 years as a Hospice Chaplain at St Columba’s Edinburgh, 15 of them full time; 46 years continuous teaching in the Scottish Baptist College, five of them full time, and 40+ years of leadership in the Scottish Baptist History Project.
These are impressive statistics, but within them and woven through them was a life of quiet devotion and vocational obedience to the call of God. As husband and father, pastor and teacher, chaplain and scholar, friend and confidant, Derek Murray fulfilled a vocation that was both diverse and focused.
Derek was educated at George Watson’s School and the University of Edinburgh, He was married to Giles for 36 years, until she died in 1995, and together they have two daughters, Ruth and Ann. In 2000 he married Lorna and for 22 years they supported and accompanied each other, each in their vocational interests.
Derek was the first full time Hospice Chaplain in Scotland and a pioneer on spiritual care in the hospice setting. He was an understanding and thoughtful preacher, a warm-hearted and faithful pastor, and a teacher who taught the right questions to ask and never to settle for poor answers.
In church history Derek was a scholar of faithful enthusiasm for the story, and an amazing memory and careful accuracy for the detail. His knowledge of Scottish Baptist history in particular, and of Baptist history generally, was all but encyclopaedic, and his fund of anecdotal oral tradition seemed inexhaustible.
As a theologian he was intellectually generous and broadly evangelical, progressive and biblically oriented, pastoral and spiritual, combining intellectual humility with a sharp intelligence. He was also and always one of the most enjoyable conversationalists, drawing on a mind like a fully stocked supermarket of stories, facts and ideas.
Derek was my teacher in college, a good and supporting friend ever since. He embodied the title of a book we discussed more than once – The love of learning and the desire for God. The hymn of Thanksgiving, chosen by Derek for the funeral service, was sung by all who knew him with gratitude to God, as a description of a man we loved as companion on the road, and signpost to God:
Brother, Sister, let me serve you,
Let me be as Christ to you,
Pray that I may have the gift to
let you be my servant too.
The Revd Dr Jim Gordon