He was a brother beloved, a man of God, a faithful preacher of the gospel, and an encourager of the people of God. James was blessed with godly parents whose farm home in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland was used for the furtherance of the gospel and blessing of souls. He was saved at 11 years of age under the preaching of Mr. Richard Hull. James told us that five years later, when Mr. David Craig spoke in meetings with the Magherafelt assembly on the disciples of the Lord, he became exercised about his life being used for God. In the 15 years that followed, James was active in the local assembly, entered business with two of his brothers, married Amy Magee of Craigyhill, and they began their family. James’ interest in the gospel led to him sharing with other brethren in several gospel efforts.
In April 1981, James, Amy, and their four children moved to Nova Scotia, with the commendation of the saints from Bellaghy and other neighboring assemblies. His first gospel series was with brother Albert Hull. Over a period of 35 years, he shared with up to 40 fellow evangelists in gospel efforts in tents, rented halls, and gospel halls in NS, NB, PEI, NL, and further afield – efforts in Toronto ON, Massachusetts, Salem OR, Vancouver BC, and during return visits to his home in N. Ireland. I had the privilege of sharing with James in thirteen gospel series and deeply appreciated him as a warm-hearted, caring brother with a genuine interest in people, and a deep exercise for the salvation of souls. James enjoyed visiting and his cheerful, pleasant ways won him acceptance with those he met. His commitment to the wellbeing and blessing of the Lord’s people was evident in his ministry and conference messages. The Lord’s people have lost a princely man and an evangelist of sterling worth.
James and Amy had the joy of seeing their six children saved and received into assembly fellowship. Many thank God for bringing James McClelland into their lives, and value the interest he took in them, and the gospel they heard at his lips. As he anticipated going home to glory, he said “the outward man is perishing, but the inward man is being renewed day by day.” We rejoice that he is now in that fadeless realm where “His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face.”