"Prepare yourself for a great adventure!" Rev Teri Peterson

Rev Teri Peterson

In the latest of our My Ministry blog series, we meet Rev Teri Carol Peterson from St John’s Church, Gourock.

Full name

Rev Teri Carol Peterson

Current parish church & location

St John’s Church, Gourock

Studied at which Church of Scotland college?

I received my Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary (a seminary of the Presbyterian Church USA).

When qualified as an ordained minister?

Ordained 29 October 2006 in the Presbyterian Church USA, inducted at St. John’s and transferred officially to the Church of Scotland in March 2018.

How you were called to serve God?

I was a musician before, and it eventually became apparent to me that I was spending more time at church than in the practice room, and I loved it more too! My sense of call developed through participation in a variety of ministries, church activities, a summer volunteering on Iona, and endless conversations with my ministers (thanks Calum and Bill).

Briefly describe your parish church and the community it serves.

St. John’s church in Gourock is a community with a variety of gifts and ages, faithfully serving a town that many think of as a stop-off on the way “doon the water.” The town is full of cafes and independent artisan shops, and we enjoy being in the midst of it.

Our building is a well-loved local landmark, and our church community is known for being warm, inclusive, and caring. We are a church that has fun together, is open to trying new things as the Spirit leads, and is the best I’ve ever heard at learning new hymns!

What is it about your role you find most rewarding?

I love the relationships I get to have with so many different people. Creating community across generations, all seeking to know and serve God better, through simply being here for each other, sharing stories and offering support and just doing life together is really rewarding.

And most challenging?

I’ve only been here about eight months so the flip side of meeting many different people is that I’m still struggling to learn everyone’s name! Many people know me, but I don’t yet have the face-to-name recognition for everyone around town. Soon, I hope!

What skills have you brought into your role?

Community-building and healthy communication skills, collaboration, creativity, flexibility, passion and compassion, and, I hope, an ability to cast a vision that all of us can pursue!

And what skills have you learned in the role?

I am still getting used to the gift and challenge that is school chaplaincy. Loving every minute, but it’s a learning curve for an American, for sure!

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

After 11 years of ministry in the Presbyterian Church USA, and just 18 months in the Church of Scotland, it’s hard to choose a highlight... I think getting to work with amazing people during my familiarisation was a highlight, especially the Bible Study, my regular round of visits to elderly ladies, and learning from a really fabulous supervisor.

Here in my first charge, I think my relationship with my colleagues is a real highlight, as we are looking forward to how we might develop a partnership to better be the Body of Christ here, and the support I’m getting from the elders as we explore that path is great too! So I can’t pick just one!

What do you do to relax?

I like to cook, read novels, watch Doctor Who, go for a run, and snuggle my kitty! I also spend time just looking out the window at the amazing view from the manse, because there’s nothing like it anywhere.

On the larger scale I enjoy traveling, and connecting with my RevGal friends around the world.

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

Prepare yourself for a great adventure - by which I mean, you’ll need to be ready for anything, open to change, good at collaboration and equipping others, and prepared for the church and the world to be very different in future than in the past.

God is doing a new thing, and needs people to carry it out, so come along, it’s great to be following the best adventure guide there is!