WHEN Kenneth Donald was 17, the last thing he ever planned on doing was to enter the parish ministry. Yet after a long and winding road, Ken has eventually found his true calling.
Last week, he was welcomed before a congregation of East Lothian residents as the new minister at Prestongrange Church, in Prestonpans.
And whilst the former support worker may admit to having resisted the pulpit for years, he’s certainly well-qualified.
Ken was brought up in Milton, a large housing scheme in the north end of Glasgow, with his two brothers.
Christianity was always part of his childhood growing up. But when it came time to leave school, he decided to pursue various other interests.
He graduated from Paisley College of Technology with a BA in social studies – and later, a Batchelor of Divinity from Edinburgh University.
From there, he decided to heed the call and go into preaching.
“Instead of entering into teaching or personnel management, I found myself fully ordained,” he said.
He served a probationary period in East Kilbride and Holyrood Abbey Church – and has since been everywhere from Wester Hailes to East Wemyss.
Ken also recently finished a stint working at Cunningham House – a Crossreach hostel for the homeless in the Cowgate.
In each role, father-of-five Ken says his greatest passion has been working with youths.
“My love was to work with young people and those who were marginalised in society believing that we were made by God, for God – and that a relationship with the Maker changes everything.”
Yet life as a reverend, he adds, hasn’t been without its tribulations. “Over the years there has been a modicum of rejection, misunderstanding and misrepresentation,” he said.
“Transitional times of ministry have brought unemployment and seasonal and part-time employment in telesales, insurance and parcel delivery.
“Having to raise five children meant that any income was welcome during these times. A role reversal with my wife, Moira, meant that over one year I had the joy – and frustration – of being a home-making dad while my wife went back to work with Lloyds bank as a customer service advisor.”
Now, Ken’s children are grown up. He’s a grandfather. And he’s also back in the church and leading a congregation of his own.
“One thing I am utterly convinced about is that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives,” he said.
“As a new life chapter unfolds here at Prestonpans, where the Lord has called me to be minister at Prestongrange Church, I am breathless with anticipation at what God will do in the lives of people here and beyond.”