Pastor Keith Short is determined to reach out to the the community when he takes his place at St John’s Church in Linlithgow.
The new Senior Pastor has lived a varied life, working as a businessman, as well as serving in the Royal Navy, before taking his place in the church at Yeovil, Somerset.
He moved to Glasgow in 1992 to become a Senior Pastor at Bishopbriggs Community Church where he stayed for 17 years, before a move to City Gates Baptist Church in the north of Edinburgh in 2009.
Keith said: “I served in the Navy until 1984. I became a Christian in the Navy and trained in Somerset with staff there.”
Serving his community and church unity are things which Keith is passionate about.
He feels strongly that the church should not only be a voice of hope, but it should also speak up against injustice and seek to reach out to those who are on the margins of society.
St John’s is involved with the community in many ways, with a variety of youth programmes which currently support around 70 teenagers as part of the Linlithgow group project.
The project works alongside the Church of Scotland to provide activities and weekly events for its younger parishioners, as well as the elderly.
He said: “It’s lovely to be a part of a church that’s so involved with young people and young families as well as the older generation.
“The church should be across generations. Young people are often missing from congregations.”
Bringing together communities and giving everyone access to the church has always been at the forefront for Keith.
During his 17-year stint at Bishopbriggs, Keith was fortunate to oversee the development of community projects run by the church in their new premises, including health classes and playgroups for the local toddlers.
His involvement in his new parish is no different and will still be inclusive of all.
He said: “It’s a good fit as the church is looking to engage with the community.”
As well as serving his new community, Keith also serves nationally as leader of the Scottish Network of Churches, working with churches from all denominations across Scotland.
He is also a member of the Executive Council of the Evangelical Alliance.
Keith is married to Becky and they have three children and seven grandchildren.
The couple say they have been “overwhelmed” by the welcome they have received from the community at St John’s, as well as the other churches in the town.
There will be an induction service for Keith at Linlithgow Academy on Saturday, April 25 at 2pm.