Former supermarket checkout girl Louise Mackay, 27, from Selkirk has been ordained and inducted into St Nicholas Church in Lanark.
The prodigy of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, has become the third new female minster in neighbouring parishes in less than a year.
Dr Barr, who is the minister at Cramond Kirk in Edinburgh where she trained for 15 months, said the occasion gave him confidence that the Kirk “continues to be in good hands”.
Louise, who was also mentored by Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator Designate for 2017-18, said: “I am delighted and blessed that I have been called to St Nicholas.
“I am excited about what the future holds for myself, for the congregation and for the local community.
“I hope that I am able to use my energy, creativity and zest to lead my new congregation and in the context of the wider work done by the Church of Scotland.”
Louise was raised in Selkirk and had a degree in psychology from Napier University in Edinburgh.
She used to work as a checkout supervisor at Morrisons at the city’s Gyle shopping centre.
Around 300 people attended the ordination service at St Nicholas Church last Thursday evening, January 12.
Dr Barr said: “As well as being a very special occasion for Louise, her family, and her new congregation, it was also a special occasion for me and the people of Cramond Kirk
“She spent the final 15 months of her training there and it was a delight to see her grow and develop into the thoughtful, caring and highly-skilled minister which she has now become.
“It was a pleasure to supervise Louise and, despite the wintry conditions, about 40 people travelled from Cramond to attend the service and show their support, which is a sign of how highly she is regarded.
“She could not have been made more welcome by the people of St Nicholas and by her new colleagues in Lanark Presbytery.”
The other ladies to begin service close by are Rev Elspeth MacLean, 61, a former small animal vet, who took up her post at Forth St Paul’s Parish Church in September last year, and Rev Maudeen MacDougall, who started work as the minister for the parishes of Carstairs and Carnwath, last March. (2016).