AN inspiring service, dignified ordination and induction followed by a friendly social gathering in Lauder’s Public Hall last week saw the Reverend Jamie J. Griggs introduced as the new minister for Channelkirk and Lauder to a congregation of around 370.
The service was conducted by the new Moderator to the Presbytery of Melrose and Peebles, Tom Fairbairn. The Rev Alistair Bennett, Interim Moderator to Channelkirk and Lauder, led the congregation through the act of ordination and induction – as intimated by Presbytery clerk Jack Stewart.
A succinct sermon, which cleverly likened the induction of a new minster to a marriage ceremony between congregation and minister, was delivered by Rev Julie Woods, recently inducted as the minister to Earlston, while Rev Calum Macdougall from Eddleston and Peebles accompanied Rev Griggs.
The ceremonial entrance of 40 members of Presbytery, many wearing robes of colour and distinction, into the unique and historic Lauder Kirk set the scene for the service.
The church came alive as some 400 voices welcomed the new minister with great musicality.
Rev Griggs was born in Haddington, and spent much of his early life in Humbie.
Educated in Edinburgh, on leaving school he ran his family kennels at Woodend, before studying music, first at Napier and then at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in London, where he trained as a singer.
In 1990, he returned to Edinburgh to study divinity at New College, graduating with Honours in ecclesiastical history in 1994.
He went back to London to train as a teacher of religious studies with supportive education, graduating in 1995.
His teaching career took him from Richmond to Guildford, before he was appointed head of religious studies at The Judd School in Tonbridge in 1998. In 2005 he was appointed assistant headteacher and director of sixth form, with 320 16 to 18-year-olds to care for.
During these years, Rev Griggs continued to give recitals, taught singing and was director of the senior chamber choir.
In 2007, Jamie returned once again to Edinburgh where he undertook a research masters degree in theology, with his thesis focusing on the singing and writing of hymns in the Church of Scotland; in 2008, he began his training to become a minister.
Nominating committee chairman Graeme Donald said: “Jamie has spoken of his delight to be called to preach as ‘sole nominee’ in the parish of Channelkirk and Lauder, and has expressed his excitement at the prospect of growing to know the community.
“Members of Channelkirk and Lauder Church already share that delight and trust that this will transfer quickly to the wider parish.”
Rev Griggs told the gathering: “I apologise for having spent so much time on the other side of the hill, and across the Scottish Border, before realising quite what a beautiful place Bonny Lauderdale is!”
Session clerk Billy Anderson said: “The Kirk Session expresses their sincere thanks and appreciation to the many who were involved in making the all aspects of the evening a notable success”.