The arrival of a new minister for the parishes of Caddonfoot, linked with Trinity in Galashiels, is the ideal Christmas gift for both congregations.
It has taken the nomination committee two years to find a replacement for the Reverend Morag Dawson, who has moved to Dumfriesshire.
Now the Reverend Elspeth Harley has accepted the nomination after preaching in both churches as nominee, and it is hoped that her induction will take place on January 31. The Reverend Harley and her husband, Ewen, a retired doctor, will leave Aberdeen behind – as she says, a bit further from the sea – for a new life in the Borders.
The final chapter was written in Trinity Church where the votes were counted and the Reverend Harley emerged as overwhelmingly choice.
She said: “I am pleased to be able to come and join the congregations here. It is a great privilege and I am very excited about serving the churches and the Lord today.
“I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the congregations in both churches who made us feel at home.
“We will be sorry to leave Aberdeen as we have so many friends there, including our son and new daughter-in-law, but we are looking forward to the move.”
During the intervening period, the Reverend Marion Dodd has stood in as interim moderator. “We are all delighted that Elspeth is coming to the Borders and we all wish her well here,” she said.
The Reverend Harley was born and brought up in Edinburgh, and lived briefly in Glasgow before going to Botswana with Ewen and their two children. She then studied at the ecumenical college in Gaborone before returning to complete her studies in Edinburgh.
She spent 10 years as minister of the United Reformed Church in Glasgow and was then invited to teach ministry students in Samoa. She moved back to Aberdeen and had a variety of part-time ministries. She set up a Messsy Church, served as a school chaplain, and has a keen interest in organisations like Fair Trade and Christian Aid.
The photograph shows the new minister and her husband, right, with session clerks Bill Cheyne and Anne Grieve.