Young Love in the Pulpit
Published on 25 October, 2016
A former shop assistant has become the youngest Church of Scotland minister currently active today.
Stuart Love, 25, was ordained at Clincarthill Parish Church on the southside of Glasgow on Thursday 27 October.
The former sales assistant at WH Smiths in Hamilton said he was “excited and nervous” about his new role in equal measure.
Mr Love, who worked in retail between 2007-2013, said his parents Lorna and Robin told him that he declared at the age of five that he wanted to be either a Church minister or the Prime Minister when he grew up.
He added that his calling to Clincarthill Parish Church was a sign that “God is not finished” with the Church of Scotland.
Joint clerk of the Presbytery of Glasgow Rev Dr Graham Blount said the ordination of a 25-year-old minister indicated that “rumours of the Church of Scotland’s demise are greatly exaggerated”.
Mr Love of Hamilton, who attended Townhill Primary School and what is now Calderside Academy in Blantyre, is a graduate of the International Christian College in Glasgow, now known as the Scottish School of Christian Mission, (2009-2013) and New College in Edinburgh (2013-15).
Mr Love, who is married to Ruth whose father is Rev Gordon Palmer of Claremont Parish Church in East Kilbride, did his probationer year at Dalziel St Andrews Church in Motherwell. Interviewed before his ordination he said:
“I am excited but nervous about being ordained as the minister of Clincarthill Parish Church,” he said.
“I have been training for the ministry for nearly seven years and it is really great to be finally at a point when I am taking on my first charge.
“I feel a strong sense of calling to the parish and I really care about the people there so I want to do my best - that is where the nerves come from I think.
“I believe this is what God has called me to do with my life and I have had a sense of call from a young age.”
Place and purpose
Mr Love said he believed the Church of Scotland is the only denomination that reaches out to every single area of the country.
“I really appreciate the commitment to reach out in Christian love to all communities, not just pockets,” he added.
“The fact that young people are being called to ministry shows that God is not finished with the Church of Scotland and there is a place and purpose for it going ahead in the future.”
Mr Love said his family and friends are very supportive of his decision to go into the ministry.
“The fact that Ruth is a daughter of the manse, she has really been able to support me through her own first-hand experience.”
Dr Blount said: “Stuart’s appointment is very good news for the people of Clincarthill Parish Church and the Presbytery of Glasgow.
“Getting new blood is very welcome and a clear sign that rumours of the Church of Scotland’s demise are greatly exaggerated.
“Stuart’s ordination is very positive and yet another sign of new life in Church ministry.”
The congregation at Dalziel St. Andrew's Parish Church presented Mr Love with a wood carving which was made from an old pew.
His supervisor Rev Derek Hughes quipped: “Not many probationers get to take part of the church with them when they leave."
Mr Love, who was a member of Hillhouse Parish Church in Hamilton growing up and latterly Shettleston New Parish Church in Glasgow, is not the only person of his age to be ordained as a Church of Scotland minister.
Rev David Denniston, interim minister at Fowlis Wester, Madderty, Monzie and Gask congregations in central Scotland was ordained at the age of 25 years and seven days.
Rev Michael Mair of St David’s BroomhouseChurch in Edinburgh and Rev Dr Graham Deans of Queen Street Church in Aberdeen entered the ministry at the age of 25.
And Rev Hutton Steel was ordained and inducted to Alva Parish Church on June 23rd 1982 at the age of24 years and 7 months.
Meanwhile, Rev Hugh O'Brien has been ordained at Macduff Parish Church.