“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a minister, let alone a farming minister.” Rev Chris Blackshaw

In the latest of our My Ministry blog series, we meet Rev Chris Blackshaw, a Farming Minister in the Ayr Presbytery.

Full name

Rev Chris Blackshaw

Current parish church & location

I am a Methodist Minister currently working for the Church of Scotland as a Farming Minister in the Ayr Presbytery.

Chaplaincy assignment & location

Ayr Livestock Mart and Ayr Presbytery

Studied at which Church of Scotland College?

I studied at The Queen’s Foundation Ecumenical College, Birmingham.

When qualified as an Ordained Minister?

I was ordained a Methodist Minister in Liverpool Cathedral in 2015.

How you were called to serve God?

My call to serve God was in stages. My first call was to be a Methodist Lay Reader then a Lay Preacher, which I did for 18 years, whilst a serving police officer in Derbyshire Constabulary. Then came my call to ordained ministry.

Briefly describe your parish church and the community it serves.

I don’t have a parish but the whole presbytery of Ayr! I serve the farming community and those who are involved in the agricultural family. I have no church building and the occasional services that I lead are either on a farm or in Ayr Livestock Mart. My area is in fact larger than this as some farmers come to the mart from Arran, Bute, Stranraer and other locations in the West of Scotland. My role is to support the farming community in any way I can and to be an agricultural champion promoting local produce.

What is it about your role you find most rewarding?

I love visiting farms and being made welcome by farmers. I feel privileged that farmers trust me and are willing to confide in me. It is a great feeling when someone asks to speak with me at the mart and I can help them deal with their problems.

And most challenging?

I find it challenging when I have tried my best to help a farmer but I am unable to find a solution to their problems.

What skills have you brought into your role?

I have brought communication skills, problem solving, decision making, managing people and tasks, and conflict resolution.

And what skills have you learned in the role?

Rules and regulations that govern farming plus the price of livestock.

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

When I led a service of Christmas Carols in the livestock ring at Ayr mart; 250 people came and after the service a retired minister, in his 90’s, told me it was the most moving Christmas Carol Service he had witnessed.

What do you do to relax?

I have a smallholding in Cumbria where I keep Pedigree English Longhorn Cattle and Gloucester Old Spot and Oxford Sandy and Black pigs.

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

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a minister, let alone a farming minister. But trust God and also trust where he is leading you because he knows the plan he has for you. Just go with your calling.