Joy as new minister called to Aberdeenshire church

A man has swapped a career with one of the UK's biggest newspaper publishers to become the Church of Scotland's newest minister.

John Gow is being ordained and inducted to be the spiritual leader of Portsoy Church in Aberdeenshire this evening.

Rev John Gow
John Gow has swapped the newspaper industry for the ministry.

The 56-year-old said he is excited and looking forward to taking on his new role in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland.

"I'm so glad that God has called me to ministry and I'm so glad he has called me to Portsoy," he added.

"The town is full of friendly, warm folk with a real sense of togetherness and I'm looking forward to further strengthening the church's place at the heart of the community."

Coastal town

Mr Gow grew up in Falkirk and worked for Johnston Press for 27 years, serving on the Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, Edinburgh Evening News and Falkirk Herald.

He will be the first full-time minister at Portsoy Church, which also serves the communities of Fordyce and Sandend, for nearly five years.

Mr Gow said "Much love and hard work has been put into setting up the Portsoy Church Centre, which opened in 2019 as a flexible, modern worship space.

"I'm honoured to be the first full-time minister to serve there.

"However, if the last year has taught us anything, though, it's that God doesn't expect us to be tied to our buildings.

"He wants us to take his Good News to the people and I've every intention of doing just that."

Portsoy Parish Church
Portsoy Parish Church. Image - Ian Whewell.

A service is taking place at St Ninians and Forglen Church in Turriff at 7pm and will be livestreamed on the church's YouTube channel with a link made available on Portsoy Church's website.

Yvonne McKay, Session Clerk of Portsoy Church, said Mr Gow's arrival is "brilliant" news.

"When our last minister left, a group of us sat down and prayed and decided we would wait any length of time until God provided us with the right person," she explained.

"We believe we have the minister that God has chosen for us and really looking forward to working alongside him.

"We are so blessed."

Great outdoors

Mr Gow joined Johnston Press in 1989 and carried out a number of roles at the company including advertising, planning manager and business control manager.

He spent the last two years of his career working at the Falkirk Herald before leaving in 2016 to train for the ministry.

Mr Gow, who was an occasional copywriter and feature writer, studied at Highland Theological College in Dingwall and graduated in 2019.

He self-published a children's book a few years ago and in his spare time enjoys music, radio, podcasts and taking long walks on the coast or in the countryside.

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