Clerk to the new Presbytery of Fife appointed

Rev Dr David Coulter
Rev Dr David Coulter

A minister who was previously Chaplain General of the Army has been appointed as Clerk to the new Presbytery of Fife, which will be formally created in January.

Rev Dr David Coulter, who is currently serving as the parish minister of St Andrew's in the Grange on the island of Guernsey, will take up the role at Easter of next year.

The new Fife Presbytery will be formed from the Presbyteries of St Andrews, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline and is part of a wider reform effort underway across the Church of Scotland. The goal is to reduce the number of Scottish presbyteries, from more than 40 to around 12.

Dr Coulter, who is originally from Northern Ireland, said he felt "humbled and delighted to be asked to be the new Clerk to the Presbytery of Fife."

"I was initially attracted to the Clerk's position in that the job description said the main purpose was to 'provide strategic and organisational leadership to the Presbytery'," he explained.

"I felt it sounded very similar to the role I had as Chaplain General to HM Land Forces from 2014- 2018.

"One of my congregation in Guernsey, a retired Minister's wife, said: 'so you are going to be the minister to the ministers.'

Rev Dr David Coulter in Cyprus
Rev Dr David Coulter served as the Chaplain General of the Army

"I really like that and hope that I can quickly get to know all the ministers across Fife and do my best to be the 'minister to the ministers'."

He also paid tribute to his parish in Guernsey, who he said he will leave with a "heavy heart", saying that they "could not be a more welcoming and supportive congregation."

"So much so that my wife Grace and I had decided we would never consider another charge as we could not imagine a better congregation", he said.

Dr Coulter holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and his thesis looked at the role of Church Of Scotland chaplains in the Second World War.

Rev Jane Barron, an honorary chaplain at St Andrews University, has been nominated as Moderator of the Presbytery of Fife.

Speaking about working with the new Presbytery, the former English teacher and radio journalist said being the Moderator elect was a "privilege".

Rev Jane Barron
Rev Jane Barron has been nominated as the Moderator of Fife Presbytery

"I'm delighted to be part of a new team commissioned to care, challenge, resource, trust and sustain one another across the three historic areas marked by monarchs, martyrs and economists, and follow Jesus in the 21st century," she said.

"We are working to be freed of outlived ways, put mission at our very heart - and pray Christ's invitation 'Come, follow me', recovers anew its edgy, risky, exciting, compassionate love's call."

Ms Barron has previously served in parishes in Israel, Dundee, Aberdeen and St Andrews.

She will also be taking up a post as locum minister in the parish of Ceres, Kemback and Springfield.

Rev Alec Shuttleworth, convener of the Presbytery of Fife Transition Group, said: "We are delighted to announce these appointments.

"In a time when the church nationally and locally has huge challenges to face we have caring, committed, and creative people to lead us.

"We are also recruiting a Director of Mission who will help all the congregations adapt to the new ways we need to work to serve the people of Fife."

Other Presbyteries which have come into being over the last six months include the Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland, and the Presbytery of Clyde formed when the Presbyteries of Greenock & Paisley and Dumbarton united.

Similar decisions on other Presbytery mergers are expected in the coming year.