Talking Ministry: Rev Dr Fiona Tweedie on serving with your gifts
Published on 14 March 2022 3 minutes read
A minister has described how becoming an ordained local minister (OLM) has allowed her the flexibility to serve with the "the skills and gifts you bring as an individual".
Rev Dr Fiona Tweedie, who is currently employed as the Church of Scotland's statistician, explained as part of the Talking Ministry series why she felt specifically called in this way.
She said: "OLMs are voluntary and we can do everything that a full-time minister of word and sacrament can do except be in sole charge of a parish.
"For example, an OLM can do the sacraments, communion, be a chaplain, be a locum, and work at a presbytery level.
"It's being a part-time and non-stipendiary minister of word and sacrament."
As a result Fiona, who was ordained as the first ever OLM in 2011, is able to fit her life around the role.
"I can serve in the way I can serve," she says.
"I have colleagues who have taken early retirement and are available during the day so they are able to take funerals and the like and other colleagues who work full-time but are then available in the evening.
"You have the flexibility to negotiate what contribution that you can make and what skills and gifts you bring as an individual.
"You don't have the pressure to have to be able to do everything all the time."
A highlight of Fiona's time in ministry has been to be able to use her background as a university lecturer to support the work of the Church.
"Finding out I could use my statistics training in ordained local ministry was a real turning point," she says.
"For me, producing the Statistics for Mission Census profiles was a highlight too - it was an absolute calling for me to do.
"I had been working with the congregations in Cumbernauld, and it took me eight hours to find the populations of the five parishes there and I vowed after that I'd never do that again and that no-one else would have to either.
"We had to digitise all of the parish boundaries, then get the Census data and work out the technological side of things.
"It was rewarding to see the data coming through easily for people at a local level and helping them to understand their communities better or apply for grant funding.
"I didn't go into ordained local ministry to do that, but I would never have got involved in that if I hadn't been a minister.
"There's something about God using what you can bring, like the wee boy in the Bible bringing what he had, and Jesus feeding the 5,000 with it.
"I didn't expect to be where I am but God has a sense of humour!"
Fiona advises someone who feels they might have a calling to "take the first footsteps" and "don't worry about what comes after".
"You have no idea what's ahead and what your situation will be, but God does and knows what you're able to do.
"Even if you can't see the end point or don't know what it should be just take steps, even if you go off in a completely different direction."