St Nicholas in Lanark votes for new minister

Louise Mackay, pictured with session clerk Robin Murdoch, will be the new minister at St Nicholas Church in Lanark.
Louise Mackay, pictured with session clerk Robin Murdoch, will be the new minister at St Nicholas Church in Lanark.

Two years after the Rev Alison Meikle left, St Nicholas Church in Lanark has chosen its new minister.

Louise Mackay preached as sole nominee on Sunday, and afterwards the congregation voted overwhelmingly for her to take the post.

All being well, Louise, 26, currently finishing a probationary year at Cramond Kirk in Edinburgh, will be ordained and inducted at a service at the Lanark church in January.

“I am very much looking forward to it,” said Louise.

“It is really, really exciting. It will be my first charge, and I feel this is what the last four or five years have been working towards.”

Louise, from Selkirk in the Borders, has a church background, with a grandfather having been a minister in Scotland and Canada and her father being an organist in Galashiels.

Louise too is musical, playing the violin.

She studied psychology, but after finishing her degree began to look into the ministry instead.

She then studied divinity for three years at New College at Edinburgh University.

Louise also had a summer placement as a prison chaplain, working between Low Moss, Cornton Vale and Barlinnie, an experience she enjoyed.

“It really made me feel a whole new side to life and see the challenges that those in prison face, and how the church can be there on the other side as a help,” she said.

At the end of her studies, she went to Cramond Kirk as a probationer.

St Nicholas Church, in the meantime, was seeking a minister and got in touch with her.

“I had a look at the parish profile and thought what they were looking for was something I could be,” said Louise.

“St Nicholas wants to focus on being a presence in the community, and that is something I feel very passionate about.”

She has visited the town, as have her parents, and after the enthusiastic welcome she got from the congregation, plans can now be made for her induction.