"Gone Fishing" - we must go beyond walls to share the Good News says new minister
Published on 8 December 2023 4 minutes read
The chaplain of one of the nation's biggest women's football teams has become the Church of Scotland's newest minister.
Rev Jillian Storrie was ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament at St John's Parish Church in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire on 30 November.
Proud members of her family, friends, ministry training colleagues and Hamilton Academical Women's Football Team players and staff gathered for the joyous occasion, which will see her serve the congregation as Assistant Minister.
Mrs Storrie said: "I honestly can't thank all my friends and family enough for all the love and support they have shown to me throughout this journey.
"I wouldn't be here without them."
However, she revealed that the last few years have not been without challenges which threatened to derail her dream of becoming an ordained minister.
Challenges and faith
In July 2020, her husband Bill had a serious cycling accident, a month after she was accepted to train for Ordained Local Ministry and just before she was about to start her first placement.
She said: "He came off his bike on a cycle path while we were staying in Oban and was seriously injured and is now an in-complete tetraplegic.
"He spent five months in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital National Spinal Unit in Glasgow and has a spinal cord injury similar to the Superman actor, Christopher Reeves.
"I started my training as a mum to three grown up children and in the space of a day, I turned into a fulltime carer."
Mrs Storrie, who grew up in the Church and lives in Stonehouse where she attended St Ninian's Parish Church, said his prognosis was initially not favourable.
"He was told he wouldn't walk again or eat independently but he has overcome those challenges through sheer determination and stubbornness.
"On paper, I honestly didn't think I would manage to continue my training, but God always had this plan for me and has sustained me all the way and I feel I am right in the place he wants me to be.
"This was a valuable lesson for me to ‘let go and let God'.
Mrs Storrie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theology degree from Highland Theological College in Dingwall near Inverness.
Her first placement was with Rev Bryce Calder at St Mary's Parish Church in Motherwell and it was while she was there that she transferred from the OLM to train as a full-time Minister of Word and Sacrament after one year.
The minister then spent four months serving alongside Rev Jill Clancy at the chaplaincy centre at HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow and did the second half of her second placement with Rev Joanne Hood, minister of St John's Parish Church Hamilton.
Her 10-week full-time placement was with Rev Sarah Ross at Moncreiff Parish Church in East Kilbride and she returned to St John's Parish Church to do her 15-month probation.
Asked about her aspirations for her future ministry, Mrs Storrie said: "I always hang onto the words ‘going out' into the world when I think of mission.
"Throughout my discernment and training I have to say that I have always had at the heart of my theology and faith that we, as in the Church, need to ‘go out' more into places and communities to tell of that Good News.
"In the Bible, Jesus didn't post notices to say that He would be at the Temple every Sunday for an hour.
"We should be meeting people where they are in their faith journey, displaying fruits of the spirit.
"I have a sign that my friends bought me that says ‘Gone Fishing' as it has become my catchphrase.
"I really believe that we need to go fishing in our communities and be as Jesus asked us to be, ‘fishers of people', spreading the Good News of the Gospel in unexpected and everyday places."
Mrs Storrie became the football team's chaplain in September 2022.
She said it is a "privilege" to offer pastoral support – concern for mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing - to everybody involved , not just players.
A true believer in football and faith, the minister is always happy to discuss Christianity if asked but mostly she share the fruits of the Holy Spirit by showing patience, kindness, goodness, comfort, guidance, and gentleness.
Mrs Storrie was assigned to the club by Sports Chaplaincy Scotland which is determined to ensure that women's football has the same support structures as the men's game.
With around 130 chaplains supporting different levels of football clubs in Scotland, she sees the role as something Jesus would do, going out and about into different and sometimes unlikely settings and engaging with people.
"I have always been interested in football and in the early 90s I had a season ticket for Ibrox, although I have to say this was mainly because of my ‘love' for Ally McCoist," said the minister.
"I see my role as providing pastoral and spiritual care, by permission, to those with faith or no faith.
"I provide a listening ear and a kind heart, meeting people where they are in their lives and providing support when needed.
"My role is not that of effecting the performance of the team but to positively impact the personal lives of those I meet by building relationships and being a presence."
Chaplains are not employed by football clubs and are volunteers through Sports Chaplaincy Scotland, which means that when it comes to business decisions, they remain neutral.