A congregation in the Outer Hebrides was rejoicing last night (Tuesday) after Rev Andrew Coghill accepted a unanimous call to become their new minister.
The 48-year-old will pastor Scalpay Free Church, which has been vacant since 2009 following Rev Dr Malcolm Maclean’s departure to Greyfriars Free Church in Inverness.
An induction date will be announced in due course. The Scalpay congregation currently worship in the Church of Scotland building in the village.
A Free Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We are delighted that Rev Andrew Coghill has accepted the call to minister in Scalpay, and are certain he will proclaim the whole counsel of God in his pulpit and pastoral ministry.
“Andrew is by no means a novice in any aspect of the Christian ministry, and has shown the courage of his strong Biblical convictions given the difficult circumstances he faced in the Church of Scotland.
“We believe he will be a huge asset to the cause of Christ, and are sure he will receive a very warm welcome as he and his family settle into the Scalpay congregation.”
Mr Coghill was brought up in Aberdeen and went to Cults Academy on the outskirts of the city.
Feeling the call to ministry, he studied divinity at Aberdeen University where he graduated with an honours degree in Church History, followed by a two-year diploma in Pastoral Studies.
He was licensed by the Presbytery of Aberdeen in 1992, and was a probationary minister in the Church of Scotland at Martin’s Memorial in Stornoway from 1992 to 1993.
In 1993 he was called to Leurbost Parish Church, where he was ordained as a minister by the Lewis Presbytery and served until 2011.
Mr Coghill left the Church of Scotland during the controversy over the induction of practising gay ministers.
He spent many months in prayer seeking guidance over denominational direction, before feeling a clear leading from the Lord to apply to the Free Church ministry.
Mr Coghill was admitted to the Free Church of Scotland at its General Assembly last year, and signed the roll of ministers on the Western Isles Presbytery at the end of June 2012.
He is married to Deborah, and they have four children: Joshua, 18, Philip, 16, Naomi, 14, and Nathan, 6.