Church leaders took to social media to pay tribute to the late Bishop Harold McFarlane, pastor of the Built on the Rock (BOTR) church in Walthamstow, east London, who died recently.
BOTR was formerly based in Bethnal Green, and was a well-known church in the area. Its leader, Bishop McFarlane, was also well-known across the Christian community.
Pastor Peter Nembhard, Senior Pastor of ARC churches, attended BOTR following his conversion to Christianity at the age of 18. He was personally mentored by Bishop McFarlane, whom he regards as a spiritual father. Bishop McFarlane also ordained him as a minister and conducted his wedding.
Pastor Nembhard described Bishop McFarlane’s life as ‘fruitful and productive and God-honouring’, and stated: “Pastor has finished his work on earth, having preached the Word of God and pastored souls for over 50 years. Sleep on, Pastor Mac. Never to be forgotten.”
Bishop Wayne Malcolm of iCan Community church wrote: “There are no words to describe the vacuum that his transition has created for those who knew and loved him. I received the gift of the Holy Spirit in his home at 15 years old; studied under his tutelage at Bible School; received commission and assistance from him to start a church at the age of 21; performed my first wedding and funeral under his guidance, and enjoyed his fatherly support throughout all the twists and turns that would follow my ministry. You fought well; you kept the faith; you finished your course. Till we meet, sir!”
Pastor Paul Bailey, of the Regeneration Project, described Apostle McFarlane as “a very inspirational figure and a champion of theological education. He was creative, innovative and principled.”
Bishop McFarlane, a senior leader within the Bible Way Church of our Lord Jesus Christ denomination, started pastoring BOTR church in 1977. Aside from his pastoral work he was a church planter, and planted churches in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia.
A community-minded pastor, under Bishop’s leadership BOTR ran courses, provided Christian counselling, ran a prison ministry, and collected clothing and educational items, which were distributed to churches in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
He is survived by his five children and grandchildren.