Faith in the family - Neil follows his dad into ministry

A former civil servant is following in his father's footsteps and becoming a Church of Scotland minister.

Neil Watson is being ordained and inducted into Belhaven Parish Church in Dunbar, linked with nearby Spott Parish Church, in East Lothian tonight at 7pm.

His father, Rev Mike Watson, locum minister at Cockenzie and Port Seton: Chalmers Memorial Parish Church, said he and his wife Jacqui were "extremely proud" of him.

Neil and Mike Watson
Neil Watson and his father, Rev Mike Watson.

The service at Belhaven Parish Church will be led by Rev David Scott, minister of the Parish of Traprain and Moderator of Lothian Presbytery.

Neil Watson, 35, who is married to Elizabeth and grew up in Dalkeith, said his dad, also a former civil servant who became an Ordained Local Minister in 2013, was a great role model and inspiration to him.

"I am excited about my new role and my passion is to see God moving in the Lothians, and ultimately our entire nation," he added.

"I hope to inspire and lead people to a closer and deeper relationship with God, through Jesus, and to help those that want to see their lives transformed by that relationship.

"I truly believe that transformed people can transform society and nations.

"I can think of no better way of ushering in more of the Kingdom by seeking to be more like Jesus."

Impact

Mr Watson, a gifted musician who attended Dalkeith High School, worked for Historic Scotland for 10 years, latterly as a project manager in the office of the chief executive.

He holds a Bachelor of Divinity with honours degree from New College in Edinburgh and did his probation at Gorebridge Parish Church.

Mr Watson, a Heart of Midlothian fan who owns a Jack Russell called Rudi, completed placements at churches in Loanhead, Musselburgh and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

"As much as I like project management, I felt I was moving further away from doing things that I felt were impacting on people," he said.

"While I didn't see it at the time, all my life experiences have been training me for what I am about to step into.

"Whether that is the opportunity to use my musical gifts, leading teams or drawing on my administration and project management skills.

"It will all hold me in good stead."

Mr Watson Snr, who used to work for the Scottish Government, is a former session clerk at St John's and Kings Park Church in Dalkeith.

He will “preach in” his son at his first service as a parish minister on Sunday.

Neil Watson
Neil Watson.

Mr Watson Snr said: "As Neil's Dad and friend, it was a joy and an honour to share his journey into ministry from Enquiry and Discernment right through to his ordination.

"Both his Mum and I are extremely proud of him and all that he has achieved in his life to date.

"We are prayerfully looking forward to him fulfilling God's call on his life to ministry in the parishes of Belhaven and Spott."

Energy

Asked if he had any advice for his son, Mr Watson said he would encourage him to "keep grounded" in Scripture, prayer and preach the Gospel.

"I have told him to be approachable and love his parishioners, put an arm round them if they need it and be there for them.

"Being a Church of Scotland minister is the best job I have ever done.

"I say job loosely because it is a way of life."

John D McCulloch, Clerk to the Presbytery of Lothian, said all members were delighted to welcome Mr Watson.

"We are very pleased that Neil has answered the call to ministry in East Lothian and are looking forward to praying and celebrating with him at his ordination and induction," he added.

"I know he will bring huge energy and warmth to his work."

Anyone interested in entering the ministry of the Church of Scotland can find out more here.