“100% go for it.” Rev Bill Wishart

Bill Wishart
Rev Bill Wishart of St. Martin’s Parish gained his BD in 2016 and was ordained and inducted in October 2017

In the latest of our My Ministry blog series, we meet Rev Bill Wishart, Parish Minister of St. Martin’s in Edinburgh.

Full name

Rev Bill Wishart

Current parish church & location

Parish minister of St. Martin’s in Edinburgh

Studied at which Church of Scotland college?

As a former deacon I trained at St. Colm’s College in 1984-86 and again in 1991-92. I studied for my BD at Edinburgh University (New College)

When qualified as an ordained minister?

I gained my BD in 2016 and was ordained and inducted in October 2017.

How you were called to serve God?

I have always felt the calling of God on my life, even a high school in the late 70s / early 80s I knew that I wanted to work with the Church in some way. It just felt like it was the right thing for me and it has proven to be the case over many years in a wide variety of roles.

Briefly describe your parish church and the community it serves.

St. Martin’s is a fantastic church serving a mixed area near Portobello in Edinburgh. We have a wide mix of private and social housing and the makeup of the church reflects its community.

The church building is only four years old, the previous building having been demolished, and we host a community choir, a young person’s drama group, a craft Group, a dementia-friendly group and an RU Still Game group mainly aimed at pensioners as well as our Sunday activities. All of these groups are open to anyone from our community.

What is it about your role you find most rewarding?

I love meeting people and find it such a privilege that people invite us into their lives in times of sorrow and of joy, sometimes for a short time (funerals, weddings etc) but sometimes our journey together is longer.

And most challenging?

Trying to find new and innovative ways to share the love of Christ in a world that can sometimes, but not always, appear increasingly secular and hostile.

What skills have you brought into your role?

I believe I am a people person and just want to show people that God loves them.

And what skills have you learned in the role?

As a deacon for over 20 years and a minister for six months I have learned a great deal from clowning to puppets to chairing meetings

So far, what’s been the highlight of your career as a Church of Scotland minister?

There have been so many highlights over the years but my recent ordination (I now hold all three COS ordinations!) ranks very highly. It was also lovely to be preached into my church by my wife Erica who is also a Church of Scotland Minister and to preach her into her charge in Tranent in 2014.

What do you do to relax?

I am an amateur magician and a member of West Lothian Magic Circle and Christian Magicians UK. I have been privileged to take my act Bill’s Ministry of Magic to many different places including churches, special events and prisons.

I also enjoy playing music in a band and spending time with my wife, three children and five grandchildren.

What’s your message to those considering applying and training for a life in Ministry?

100% go for it. Ministry is an incredibly rewarding vocation, whichever sphere you are called to. It’s not always easy but with God’s help and guiding hand it’s incredible what can be achieved. The important thing to remember is that we are never alone as Christ himself promised to be with us, even to the end of the age.