Delight as new minister is appointed to Hebridean churches

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A minister has been appointed to lead two Church of Scotland congregations in the Outer Hebrides that have been vacant for eight and five years.

Rev. Dr Lindsay Schluter was inducted as minister for Barra and South Uist congregations on August 18.

The 52-year-old previously spent 21 years at Trinity Church in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire.

The charge of Barra became vacant on the demission of the Rev Eleanor D Muir on March 11, 2008 while South Uist has been without a minister since May 31, 2011 when Rev Jacqueline G Petrie left.

Dr Schluter, who has moved into the Manse at Cuithir on Barra with her 12-year-old black Labrador Calag, said she was very much looking forward to her new role.

She paid warm tribute to local people for their herculean efforts to keep the two congregations going in the absence of a minister.

Dr Schluter, who is fluent in German and once worked as a translator, interpreter and guide at the Glenfiddich distillery in Moray, said: “I am very pleased and excited to be here.

“I feel very content and it feels like the right place to be.

“I like the Hebrides a lot and I have family connections here which means I had an idea of what life would be like before I moved.

“I am settling in and need to work out how to deal with a linked charge because there is an awful lot of water between the two parishes.

“A single boat trip is about 40 minutes.”

Dr Schluter joked that she had been repeatedly been asked by people on Barra whether she has “mastered the art of walking on water yet in case the ferries don’t run in winter storms.”

She said she took two years to consider moving to the Hebrides and was eventually asked by members of the churches to consider the call.

Dr Schluter added that she would miss her old parish in Larkhall and had a “very good time” there. Her former congregation are now seeking a new minister.

Dr Schluter was inducted as minister by the Moderator of Argyll Presbytery Marilyn Shedden, in Cuithir Parish Church, Barra.

During the service, Rev Stephen Fulcher, Minister of Saddell and Carradale linked with Southend, preached on John 21: 15-21.

He encouraged Dr Schluter and the members of the two congregations to sustain and encourage each other in their joint work of mission and ministry.

The service was followed by a reception and a Ceilidh in North Bay Hall.

Mrs Shedden said: “There was a great feeling of excitement and anticipation throughout the islands of Barra and South Uist.

“They had waited eight years for this day.

“It was a great joy and a privilege to be part of this induction service.

“The church on Barra was full as congregations and friends gathered to give thanks to God and to rejoice in the promise and hope of new ministry.

“The Presbytery of Argyll wishes people and pastor every blessing on their new journey together with God.”