After a two-and-a-half-year wait, and up against 200 other vacancies within the Church of Scotland, Lauder finally welcomed their new minister last Wednesday.
Surrounded by family, friends and an excited congregation, the Reverend Marion Clark, who prefers to be known as Rae, was ordained and inducted to the vacant charge of Channelkirk and Lauder.
“It took a long, long time for our call to be heard and answered,” said Session Clerk Billy Anderson. “However, all were so delighted when the Rev Clark answered our call – and somewhat relieved!”
“The continuity of services was sustained throughout the vacancy by members of our talented worship team, and the work and life of our church was well served by members of the mission and stewardship and pastoral care teams,” he continued.
“In a matter of four weeks the call was announced to the congregation and procedures completed, including a unanimous vote of support from the congregation – we could not afford to let such a caring and community-minded minister escape.”
On September 21, Rev Clark conducted Sunday worship in Lauder Church as the ‘sole nominee’. The call was ratified by the Presbytery of Melrose and Peebles, and on Wednesday, October 22 the Rev Bob Milne, Presbytery Moderator, led the moving, ceremonial service of induction and ordination in Lauder Church, when the Rev Elspeth Harley delivered the sermon.
Last Sunday Rae Clark conducted her first services at Channelkirk and Lauder as the new minister.
The Rev Clark told The Southern this week: “I sensed a particular call to full-time ordained ministry seven years ago. Throughout these seven years I developed a strong and growing call to rural parish ministry. I was taken by the information on Lauderdale made available to me from various sources but, on meeting members of the Nominating Committee, then feeling the warmth of welcome and the hospitality my husband and I received on each visit to Oxton and Lauder, it was clear the Lord was calling me to this parish!
“As discussions progressed, it became obvious to me that there was a real sense of purpose among the congregation and a clear commitment to their communities.
“As a newly-ordained minister, I am utterly delighted to have been called to work as part of such a strong and able team.”
The Channelkirk and Lauder charge is not full time. The Presbytery of Melrose and Peebles was allocated an insufficient number of ministers to cover all charges and churches within the bounds.
Channelkirk and Lauder offered to seek a 0.7 full-time equivalent and so have provided the presbytery with an opportunity to study the impact of part-time ministry on both the minister and the parish.
Before entering training for ordained ministry, Rae Clark managed the home support service for homeless individuals and families across Edinburgh and Fife; providing appropriate supervision, guidance and support to a team of home support officers.
Rae graduated with a Master of Arts: Social Policy and Social and Economic History (Hons) in 2000, adding a Bachelor of Divinity (Hons) degree in 2013, both through Edinburgh University.
Rae enjoys spending time with family and friends; reading, genealogy, photography, and walking. Rae has climbed several Munros over the past few years, so should enjoy the walk up Chester Hill in Lauder on Easter Sunday!