Moray church prepares to welcome newly ordained minister
Published on 24 February 2022 2 minutes read
A former primary school teacher who grew up on a farm in the USA is today being ordained as a Church of Scotland minister.
Dr Amy Bender will be inducted into her role at Keith North Church linked with Newmill, Boharm and Rothiemay in Moray in front of family, friends and colleagues at 7pm.
The 54-year-old said: "It has been a long journey to ordination as God has been patient with me and I am so looking forward to being part of the community in and around Keith.
"I hope the church will be a vibrant part of life and a hive of activity, serving as a centre to meet and for fellowship.
"I am looking forward to being a visible presence in local schools and around the town."
Dr Bender grew up in Kingsport in north-east Tennessee and has lived permanently in Scotland since 2012 when her husband Professor Keith Bender took up a role teaching economics at the University of Aberdeen.
She worked at Mile End and Heathryburn primary schools in the city before enrolling at the University of Aberdeen in 2017 to study Divinity.
Dr Bender, who has three daughters with her husband of nearly 30 years, joked: "I grew up on my grandfather's farm which had Aberdeen Angus cattle so Aberdeen was a part of my life long before I knew it was a place in Scotland.
"My university experience was tremendously enlightening and exciting, meeting new people and learning new ways to approach God's Word.'
"I am a cradle Presbyterian and both sets of grandparents, my parents, and several aunts and cousins attended the same church in my formative years.
"I have been fortunate to experience church congregations in several US states as well as in Aberdeen and each have been important in my formation as a minister."
Dr Bender said she loved being taught by professors and lecturers at the University of Aberdeen who she says are passionate about their subject matter and committed to worshipping congregations.
"My knowledge and faith have been nurtured, and in turn, I will be able to nurture others in my new role as we grow together," she said.
'Over the moon'
Dr Bender, who has also worked as an educational psychologist, a learning support teacher and has taught at university level, spent an extended probation period at Mannofield Church in Aberdeen and was part of the ministry team for Aberdeen West Churches.
She enjoys baking, cross stitch, Pilates, reading and walks with friends in her spare time.
Krista Brown, Session Clerk at Keith North Church linked with Newmill, Boharm and Rothiemay, said: "We are so happy and over the moon that Amy has decided to join us.
"She is a lovely person, we are very excited and I think she will fit very nicely into Keith which is a very friendly place.
"We cannot believe our luck and we will do everything we can to support her and I think she will get on really well."
Known as Keith North Churches, the congregation has been without a full-time minister since the end of 2019 and the most recent Interim Moderator was Rev Bill Ross.