The first church I served as Pastor was the famed, Harper Memorial Church in Glasgow, Scotland. It was and remains a fine church with many godly congregants. Though my time there was relatively brief, and marked by the 'rookie' mistakes of a first time pastor, I increasingly look back upon those years at Harper Memorial with found memories, laughter (mostly at my own expense), and a genuine sense of thanksgiving to the Lord.
I also remain thankful for the wonderful historical legacy that the Lord has given to Harper Memorial!
Harper Memorial was named in honor of its first pastor – John Harper – just a few years after his untimely death on the ill-fated RMS Titanic. Survivors, including Harper’s 6-year-old daughter, Nan, recalled that Harper lived as he died... He was an evangelist until the end.
While the majority of those rescued were women and children there were a handful of men plucked up from the frigid waters of the North Atlantic and into lifeboats. Among those rescued was a young Scotsman who had lived to tell an amazing story… The details of which are preserved below:
“Suddenly,” he said, “a wave brought a man near – John Harper. He, too, was holding a piece of wreckage.
“He called out, ‘Man, are you saved?’
“‘No, I am not,’ I replied.
“He shouted back, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’
“The waves bore (Harper) away, but a little later, he was washed back beside me again.
“‘Are you saved now?’ he called out.
“‘No,’ I answered.
“‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,’ Harper said.
“Then losing his hold on the wood, Pastor John Harper sank. And there, alone in the night with two miles of water under me, I trusted Christ as my savior. I am John Harper’s last convert.”
Lord of life and Lord of death,
Enable me with every breath,
That I, if strong or I, if weak
The Gospel of Thy Son will speak.
Soli Deo Gloria.