SUSAN Macdonald, born and raised in Jedburgh, is set to make history within the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) next Sunday when she is appointed the first female dean of the diocese of Edinburgh.
Susan, 61, a former pupil of Jedburgh Grammar, trained at the Theological Institute of the SEC from 1993 to 1996 before being ordained as a deacon in 1996 and then as a priest the following year. She served as assistant curate of St John’s Church in her home town from 1996 to 1998 and as a priest at St Peter’s Church in Galashiels from 1998 to 2001.
As the priest-in-charge at Fochabers until 2004, she also held the post of Mission 21 co-ordinator in the diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness before becoming canon of St Mary’s Cathedral in Inverness. She was the mission and ministry officer in the diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney from 2005 to 2007 before taking up her current position as rector of Christ Church in Morningside, Edinburgh.
The capital’s present dean The Very Reverend John Armes, will appoint Susan as his successor the day after his own consecration as Bishop of Edinburgh in St Mary’s Cathedral in the city’s Palmerston Place on Saturday, May 12. Susan’s ceremony will also take place in the cathedral.
“I am delighted Susan is to become the new Dean of Edinburgh,” said Mr Armes. “She brings wide experience of the Edinburgh diocese and an understanding of the urban and rural challenges facing the church.”
Susan said she was “delighted and honoured” at her impending appointment.
“As well as working in three difference dioceses within the Scottish Episcopal Church, I have also engaged with several parts of the wider Anglican communion, particularly in relation to ministry development,” she told us.
She will continue to serve as rector of Christ Church. “It is a place of challenge, stimulation and nourishment where I have learned so much over the past five years.”
The role of dean of a diocese is both administrative and pastoral. Administrative duties include oversight of church buildings and inspection of the registers, inventories and records of congregations, and generally acting on behalf of the bishop when required.
Other roles include supporting the bishop in his ministry and deputising for him in a variety of situations.
z The general synod of the SEC agreed in 1994 to allow women to be ordained as priests. Nine years later, the synod voted to accept female bishops.
Although it has yet to elect a woman to the episcopate, two bishop elections have included a female candidate on the final list of nominees.