Minister appointed new chaplain to oil and gas industry
Published on 29 August 2023 3 minutes read
A minister has been appointed the new chaplain to the UK offshore energies industry.
Rev Michael Mair will work with the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Trust to provide pastoral support to people who work in the sector and their dependents.
Currently the minister at St David's Broomhouse Parish Church in Edinburgh, he will take up his new role on the 16th of October and will largely be based in Aberdeen.
The chaplain fulfils a particular and specialised ministry to those working offshore in remote, dangerous and challenging locations and also works with those based onshore in providing practical, emotional, mental and spiritual support.
The Church of Scotland has no share-holdings in oil and gas companies and is committed to supporting a vision of a low carbon future and tackling the climate crisis but ministers are called to serve all people, those of faith and none, wherever they live or work.
The UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Trust is funded by Offshore Energies UK, the trade body for the UK's offshore energies industry.
Its membership includes over 400 organisations with an interest in offshore oil, gas, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and offshore wind.
It is regarded as a driving force supporting the UK in ensuring security of energy supply while helping to meet net zero ambitions.
Mr Mair said: "I am excited to be taking up this new appointment.
"The industry is facing challenges on several fronts, and I am looking forward to standing with and beside people as we think about the future.
"The chaplain is there for everyone who works in the industry - for those of all faiths and none - and it will be my privilege to join this community to mark the highs and lows of life.
"I look forward to meeting those who work in the industry, whether offshore or onshore.
"My door will always be open."
Mr Mair said that while the focus of his role will be to meet the pastoral needs of workers, he will remind the industry to live up to the commitments it has made to continue the work of decarbonisation - like the newly announced Acorn Carbon Capture project in Aberdeenshire - and to reinvest profits into sustaining and creating just communities locally and internationally.
"Similarly, I will be a voice within the Church of Scotland to remind the Kirk of its obligations to be pastorally sensitive to those working in the oil and gas industry and of the positive force the Church can continue to be in calling for it to adhere to the highest standards as it provides energy security across the UK.
"The role that UK Oil and Gas will play in the future energy provision of Scotland and the wider UK is an emotive issue, with a range of well-held beliefs present in and out-with the Kirk.
"I hope to enable conversations between those who hold differing views and encourage respectful dialogue within the public sphere on vital issues to provide a useful and helpful interchange."
Church of Scotland ministers serve as chaplains in a wide range of spheres including the Armed Forces, prisons, schools, universities, sports clubs and hospitals.
Mr Mair is a reservist chaplain to the British Army and is currently attached to 32 Signal Regiment.
He has also held chaplaincy posts at Napier University and the Royal Blind School, both in Edinburgh, and is the convener of the Church of Scotland's Assembly Business Committee.
Mr Mair will be formally employed by the Church of Scotland and seconded to the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Trust SCIO, which will meet costs and provide day-to-day line management.
He will become a member of the Presbytery of the North East and the Northern Isles.
Mr Mair trained for ministry at the University of Edinburgh and undertook placements at churches in Edinburgh, Inverness, Shetland, Amsterdam and South Queensferry.
He holds a Bachelor's degree in Divinity and a Master of Theology degree from the University of Edinburgh.
Mr Mair is married to Dr Laura Mair, a lecturer of history at the University of Aberdeen, and they have two young children.
He succeeds Rev Gordon Craig, a Church of Scotland minister, who provided full-time pastoral advice and support to people working in the industry, both onshore and offshore, for more than 11 years.
Dr Alix Thom, chair of the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy said: "The trustees of the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Trust are delighted to have appointed Michael to the post of chaplain to the Industry.
"His varied experience, energy and enthusiasm will bring a huge amount to the role, and to the oil and gas workforce that the chaplaincy supports.
"Our outgoing chaplain, Rev Gordon Craig, has made an enduring impact on the industry and the trustees are confident Mr Mair will build on his legacy."