Island minister’s wife and family star in TV programme

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A manse family, who are originally from Lewis, have spoken of their surprise following the overwhelming response to a TV documentary looking at the role of the minister’s wife in Scottish churches.

‘Bean a’ Mhinisteir’ (The Minister’s Wife) started last Friday (10 January) on BBC Alba and is starring Mairi MacAulay – wife of Tain and Fearn Free Church minister Rev Alasdair MacAulay.

In the first episode it showed Mr MacAulay being formally licensed as a Free Church minister, as well as the family’s special welcome to Tain and their three children settling into Craighill Primary School.

Mairi said: “The response to the TV programme has been amazing, we have had a huge amount of feedback on email, Facebook, Twitter from people all over the country and even abroad.

“I have honestly had folk I have never met before stopping me in the street to say how much they enjoyed the first episode.

“Some of them even told me they have already set their Sky box to record the whole series!

“I know for Alasdair too it has been a real conversation starter in the community.

“The folks in Tain and Fearn are such a good bunch, and it is a real privilege to be part of this community.”

Mairi, who used to be a producer for BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, helps various schools in Tain as a part-time classroom assistant and leads the local parent and toddler group.

She is also involved in post-abortion counselling and crisis pregnancy work.

The fly on the wall documentary, which also features a Church of Scotland wife in Edinburgh and the wife of a Salvation Army captain in Cumbernauld, has another five episodes to run.

Rev Alasdair MacAulay added: “We hope that viewers will see that the Free Church is involved in many aspects of community life and that this may encourage them to join us.

“For those who had hoped to see more of Tain in the first episode, that should happen in future programmes as they follow Mairi and myself in the day to day work of the ministry.

“But of course if you can’t wait for the conclusion of the TV series you can always join us on a Sunday, where a very warm welcome awaits.”

Bean a’ Mhinisteir continues this Friday (17 January) at 8.30pm on BBC Alba.

BBC Alba is available on Freeview and BT Vision in Scotland. Throughout the UK, it is available on Sky 143, Virgin Media 161, Freesat 110 or via BBC iPlayer.