New minister in Orkney relishing first charge

David-McNeish
Rev David McNeish (centre) at his induction at Milestones Community Church

The new minister at Milestone Community Church in Orkney says he is "looking forward to the many joys and challenges that lie ahead".

This is the first charge for Rev David McNeish, who completed his ministerial training at Liberton Kirk in South East Edinburgh.

But with family ties to Orkney and having already spent a summer in Rousay as part of the Church's 'remote rural placement scheme', David, his wife and three children are settling in well.

David said: "I could not have asked for a better welcome to the parish. We are delighted to be here and very much look forward to the many joys and challenges that lie ahead."

He brings a rich variety of life experience to the parish of Birsay, Harray and Sandwick.

After working as a junior doctor in Fife he worked as a church musician in Edinburgh, co-ordinating the worship team in a local independent church.

He then got a job with Citizens Advice Scotland, firstly in social policy and then as their parliamentary officer.

"I loved it but gradually the question of where I would be long-term began to rise again and in 2007 I began formally exploring a call to ministry," David added.

"As a friend said, this made surprising sense and I was accepted into training for Ministry of Word and Sacrament in 2009.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed the training process, learning a lot and meeting some great people. As part of the training we spent a summer in Rousay, an island just off the mainland of Orkney, and this was when we began to wonder if Orkney was where we should be serving the church. Thankfully the folk in Orkney wondered the same and so we moved up in January, just in time for the big storms."

David said he was determined to serve the needs of the people in his community by making listening to locals a priority.

 Opened in 2012, the eco-friendly and multi-purpose facility merged three congregations together to create what is a vibrant and popular community centre.

He added: "I see ministry as service - service to God and service to the people both inside and outside the kirk.

"It's a remote rural parish but it is right at the heart of many things that the kirk across the country needs to be exploring."

David's new church is one of the most modern and innovative throughout the Church of Scotland.

Opened in 2012, the eco-friendly and multi-purpose facility merged three congregations together to create a vibrant and popular community centre.

Technological innovation by David has gone down well with his congregation.

He said: "Putting the sermons on the web is something new that I initiated and it's gone down really well - we're also producing CDs of the whole service for those who are housebound."