A global pandemic could not stop Inverness, Lochaber and Ross Presbytery (IL&R) from inducting two new ministers into their congregations at the end of last month, even if the services were a little unorthodox.
After a vacancy of just over three years, the Rev. Dr Euan Dodds was inducted into Kilmallie and Ardnamurchan Free Church while Rev. Peter Turnbull was inducted into Burghead Free Church having served there as a church worker for the past five years. The service, which was conducted online, allowed many more people to attend than would normally be the case, although all agreed they missed the much-lauded 'spread' of sandwiches and cakes.
Kilmallie and Ardnamurchan Free Church Session Clerk Craig Murray said, "It was special to be able to share the occasion with Burghead."
"As we thank God for the provision of a new minister and new chapter in the congregation's ministry to the community, we also thank Him for His faithfulness in the provision of Rev. Dr John Ross as our Interim Moderator (and, along with his wife, Elizabeth) so much more over these three years. Both men, we trust, have been men provided 'for such a time as this'. We as a congregation give God the glory, honour and praise."
"[Euan] brings a warmth and wisdom with him, which is already being seen in his preaching and pastoral concern for our congregations. We warmly welcome him along with his wife Helen and girls: Anna, Caitlin and Eilidh into the fellowship."
Euan was welcomed as a minister of the Free Church at the General Assembly in May 2020 and has studied at Cornhill Scotland and Highland Theological College and has also served in ministry in St George's-Tron, Glasgow and Holyrood Evangelical Church, Edinburgh.
Peter has been faithfully leading the Burghead congregation as a church worker since 2015 having moved from Sheffield with his wife Morag, originally from Elgin, and their three young children.
Through regular visits to friends and family in the area, Peter eventually sensed a call to swap his music ministry in Christ Church Fulwood for preaching in Morayshire.
Taking a somewhat unusual route to ministry Peter has spent the past seven years in study, first at Highland Theological College and then for the past five years at Edinburgh Theological College (ETS) while working full time for the Burghead congregation.
Peter, who was also recently licensed for ministry, said, "As a family [now of five children], we have been delighted to find a home within the Free Church over the last five years."
"We now look forward to building on the growth which the Lord has given here in Burghead in recent times."
"A big thank you to those, both at ETS and in the IL&R Presbytery, who have helped and supported us greatly through this somewhat unorthodox route to pastoral ministry."