The induction of Rev Calum Smith as minister of North Uist Free Church will take place next weekend.
For the past 18 months the island congregation has been vacant after previous minister Rev Ewen Matheson accepted a call to Cross (Ness) on the Isle of Lewis.
Mr Smith has been minister of Dumfries Free Church since 2011, and a special service welcoming him to the Uist community will be held in the Carinish church on Saturday 18 June at 11am.
Stornoway’s Rev James Maciver will preach and preside, Rev Malcolm Macdonald from Callanish will address the newly inducted minister, and Rev Lachie Macdonald from South Uist and Benbecula will speak to the congregation.
Rev Calum Smith said: “We are looking forward to ministering in the congregation of North Uist, Grimsay and Berneray and, with the Lord’s help, become acquainted with the congregation and serve the communities here.
“It is not easy leaving a congregation and we remember with thanksgiving the people of Dumfries and that they may have a short time of vacancy.
“The Southern Isles is made up of many scattered communities and there is a vibrancy here with much going on.
“We are looking forward to working alongside the congregation of South Uist and Benbecula in being an integral part of the community and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Mr Smith and his family, wife Johan and children Joni, Marissa and Danny, recently moved up to the area and are now settled into the manse adjoining the church.
He continued: “Since we arrived in Uist we have been blessed with wall to wall sunshine and we are assured by the locals that this is how it always is!
“But our prayer is that of Psalm 67, ‘God be merciful and bless us, shine upon us with your face, that the earth may know your actions and all lands your saving grace’.”
Above: Rev Calum Smith with North Uist elder John MacAulay. The unanimous call to Mr Smith was signed by more than 80 people
Rev Calum Smith is originally from Shawbost on the Isle of Lewis. After leaving school, he studied Engineering in Stornoway and Glasgow, and was in the Merchant Navy for eight years, sailing to many different parts of the world. He still loves the sea and goes fishing whenever he can.
Latterly, he spent a couple of years working with the Stornoway Port Authority, before being led to the ministry. Prior to beginning his studies at the Free Church College (now Edinburgh Theological Seminary), he completed a degree course in Rural Development studies through the UHI in Stornoway.
He is married to Johan, who is from Barvas, also on the Isle of Lewis. They have three children: Joni, Marissa and Danny. Johan worked in Gaelic Development and, in particular, the preparation of Gaelic educational resources prior to being a mum.
Calum was inducted to Dumfries Free Church in November 2011, at that point ending a five-year vacancy.
Over the past couple of years there has been significant encouragement through the ongoing evangelistic work by the Dumfries congregation – including men’s prayer breakfasts, curry nights, women’s Bible studies and children’s holiday clubs.
This has resulted in 11 new members as well as an increase in attendance at Sunday worship and the midweek prayer meeting.
Following the induction, it is expected that Coatbridge minister Rev Ivor MacDonald will become interim moderator for Dumfries.