Archive for August, 2016

Ian’s first sermon

tiger moth

The first sermon of a new minister can be an anxious occasion for everyone. The people ask, “What will this new preacher be like? Will we like his style? We will lose members? Will we grow? Will things change? Will he like us?” Maybe more so as we are in the position of having an interim minister. Do similar thoughts go through the mind of the new minister? “Where do I stand? Where do I sit? Will they like me? Can I remember all their names?”

Ian Murray’s sermon on Sunday 21st August set out to clarify the position and intentions of an Interim Minister, and made interesting listening. For those who would like to be reminded of what he said, or those who could not attend, Ian’s sermon is available to read Sunday 21st Aug Sermon.

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An introduction to the Rev Ian Murray…. (written by Ian)

One of the differences between an Interim Ministry and Parish Ministry is the unknown background to the minister. Where a minister is “called” to a parish, there’s been a process of interviews and hearing the minister in action. Whereas with an Interim Ministry, someone lands in the community, journeys with you for 18 months, and then disappears before a new minister is properly called and inducted!


So by way of introducing myself I thought it best to give you some of my background.


I’m originally from a farming background in Aberdeenshire, although my parents were in the hotel trade for many years. I was educated in Dufftown and secondary education in Aberlour. On leaving school I served my time as an apprentice cooper at Glenfiddich Distillery – a job I absolutely hated. And as soon as I’d finished my time, I left to study a basic course in social work training. For six years I worked with Moray District Social Work Department and in the evenings attended night classes to gain the “Highers” I’d failed to get through leaving school too early!


From a young age I’d played the organ in the Scottish Episcopal Church. One Sunday the priest failed to arrive and the members of the congregation turned to me and said “you’re here every Sunday, you can lead our worship”. That was the beginning of some sense of calling to the ministry.  My family’s minister, (CofS) advised I gain experience of working with people, hence my time in the Social Work Dept.


At the age of 24 (1994) I was accepted as a full-time candidate in training for the ministry. The following year I begun a 4 year Bachelor of Divinity course at Aberdeen University. In 1999 I worked in St Columba’s Church of Scotland, Pont Street, London, and at the end of that year embarked on a one year MSc. in Palliative Care in the Postgraduate Medical Faculty in Glasgow University. This was as a result of a scholarship I’d won in my final year at Aberdeen.

Following that I remained in Glasgow for a further 18 months where I completed my probationary period with the late Revd Leith Fisher at Wellington Church.


In 2002 I was ordained in the newly linked charges of Tenandry with Blair Atholl and Struan in Highland Perthshire. I remained there for almost 9 years, during which time I chaired the Superintendent’s Committee in Presbytery and sat on the Judicial Commission for the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. Superintendents oversees any issues of complaint or conflict within the Presbytery and the Judicial Commission is a court with delegated powers from the General Assembly to hear appeals in cases of discipline involving ministers.


In 2010 I moved from Highland Perthshire to the Angus Glens to work in the West Angus Area Ministry. This is a team of ministers who cover the whole south west of the county of Angus, following a very similar working pattern to that of a medical practice. We all had our own parishioners, but would move throughout the area depending upon where best our gifts could be utilised. My own parish, in which I spent 70% of my time, was the Isla Parishes (not the Isle of Islay – but the river Isla!) and the remaining 30% was throughout Kirriemuir and Glamis.

Earlier this year I accepted an invitation from the Ministries Council to become an Interim Minister – there are 8 Interim Ministers working throughout Scotland.

The purpose of the post is to “Work with individual congregations and help them negotiate transitions at key points in congregational life, through worship, pastoral care, workshops, and the focussed addressing of issues identified by congregations, Presbytery and the Ministries Council following conflict or other challenges.” I will be with you, living in the Manse in Newcastleton for anything between 18 months and 2 years.


My parents live in Portugal and I have one sister and a nephew in Bridge of Weir, and in my spare time I drive and restore vintage cars, have two black Labs, and still manage to hammer out a tune on the piano!


I’ll look forward to getting to know you all a whole lot better over the next few months.

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The Rev Ian Murray was inducted on Tuesday 16th August at a joint service between Canonbie United Parish Church and Liddesdale Church.  The Church was absolutely packed to the rafters with members of the local clergy, Presbytery, representatives from the Parish of Islay, the congregations, and members of the local community.

Canonbie’s Session Clerk, Lis Findlay, is here thanking Sue Jackson for standing in for the previous ten months on Sunday mornings and conducting services.

Thanks also went to the Rev Adam Dillon from Moffat for being such a fantastic Interim Moderator.


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Come along on Saturday 27th August at 7pm for a fun evening. There will be refreshments in the interval, and a raffle. All proceeds are going to Canonbie Rangers funds, which is an excellent cause.

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