Reverend ‘gobsmacked’ to be Lothian moderator

Jennifer Macrae
Jennifer Macrae
Have your say

THE Reverend Jennifer Macrae has been appointed as the new moderator of the Church of Scotland’s Lothian Presbytery.

Mrs Macrae, who has been minister at St Mary’s Parish Church in Haddington for the past five years, said her new appointment was a “great honour” and she was “gobsmacked” to be offered the role.

She was officially inducted during a meeting of the presbytery at St Andrew’s High Church in Musselburgh last week.

A forum of ministers and church elders, the presbytery meets monthly to debate kirk business and issues.

Mrs Macrae, 58, has been a minister for 14 years, having been ordained in Netherlee, on the south side of Glasgow.

She then took up a position at Kelvinside Hillhead, where she spent seven-and-a-half years before moving to St Mary’s.

Her husband, Stewart, is also involved with the church, as a member of the choir and running its visitor activities.

They have two grown-up daughters – Laura, who lives with her husband and two children in Northern Ireland, and Elaine, a teacher in Aberdeen.

Mrs Macrae was born in Glasgow’s West End on April 10, 1954, and attended Hillhead primary and high schools before enrolling for a degree in English and French at Glasgow University.

However, after graduating in 1975, she decided her heart was in primary teaching and went on to train at Jordanhill.

She spent five years at Parkview Primary in Summerston, Glasgow, but gave up the post to concentrate on bringing up her young family.

It was in 1994 that she decided to answer a calling to join the church and began her studies for a bachelor of divinity degree at Glasgow University. She was fully ordained in December 1998.

Mrs Macrae was appointed as moderator after spending three years as vice-convener of the presbytery’s ministry committee before becoming interim moderator, overseeing the parish of Dunglass while the congregation was in the process of appointing a new minister.

Mrs Macrae said she had been made to feel part of the Haddington community since arriving from Glasgow.

“I have loved the last five years as minister of St Mary’s,” she said.

“I came from Glasgow so it was a big change.

“I did think I was a city girl through and through but Haddington has proved me wrong. I just love it here – I love the area, I love the people and I love St Mary’s. I feel in some ways I have come home.

“I am accepted as the minister of St Mary’s even by people who never come to church, they see St Mary’s as part of the town.

“I have felt very included and welcomed in all aspects of the life of the town. I feel I’m part of the community.”