James Chalmers (1841-1901)
James Chalmers was born in the fishing village of Ardrishaig on Loch Fyne, Argyllshire, Scotland in 1841.
A childhood ambition to be a missionary was realised when, after serving the Church in Glasgow and attending Glasgow University, he joined the London Missionary Society. He was appointed to go to Rarotonga and for many years gave service in the Islands. He was ‘a daring pioneer and his life … that of an intrepid adventurer. …He was also a noble servant of God, a humble man of prayer and faith, a fearless saint in the face of danger, a wise counsellor in the midst of trouble, a contented man in the monotony of the humdrum’.
He was later transferred to New Guinea and in addition to his missionary work, he did much to open up that country. He was known as Tamate-Father and was the friend of Robert Louis Stevenson. In 1901, when about to start new work in Goaberi Island, he was clubbed to death. His martyr’s crown is a reflection of his life’s work in transforming the lives of those he worked amongst – a source of inspiration and noble resolve to everyone.