New Minister for South Uist and Benbecula

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Rev Lachie Macdonald is set to become the new minister of South Uist and Benbecula Free Church, ending a four-year vacancy.

Mr Macdonald, who recently completed his studies at the Free Church College in Edinburgh, has agreed to join the congregation on a five-year appointment.

Along with his wife Catherine-Joan (CJ) and 15-month-old daughter Isabella, the popular 33-year-old spent last summer undertaking a ministry placement on Uist. It will be his first congregation.

South Uist and Benbecula Session Clerk David Kirk said he was thrilled at the news: “I’m absolutely delighted and very thankful that after four years of vacancy Lachie has been appointed, someone who very obviously has a heart for Uist.

“Our congregation has grown in the last four years, the Lord has blessed us and brought people to faith, but there’s a great need for ministry here in these islands.

“Lachie will be able to help meet that need, and the whole congregation is looking forward to this new era – and to working in our communities to bring the message of real life in Jesus Christ.”

The congregation has received financial support from the wider Free Church through its Home Missions Board (HMB) since it was formed as a church plant in 1997, and that support will now continue for five years, helping to meet ministry costs, before it comes to an end.

HMB chairman Rev Derek Lamont said: “The HMB are very pleased that Lachie Macdonald has agreed to our invitation to take up the post in South Uist and Benbecula.

“Both the congregation and Presbytery have been unanimous in their agreement that he is God’s man to take up the post.

“We believe that he has the requisite gifts and skills to develop the work as part of a team of leaders and people that are already working well together in the congregation.”

A date for Mr Macdonald’s induction will be set at the next meeting of the Western Isles Presbytery, on 16 July.

Born and brought up in Inverness, he was sales manager for Your Move before sensing the call to ministry.

South Uist became vacant in 2009 when previous minister Rev Iain MacAskill moved to Rosskeen in Ross-shire.

It looks likely that Mr Macdonald will be the only Presbyterian minister on the southern half of the Uists after the summer, with Benbecula minister Rev Andrew Downie leaving the Church of Scotland after its General Assembly gave the green light to ministers in same-sex relationships.