Rev Iver Martin is set to leave Stornoway Free Church on the Isle of Lewis after accepting the post of full-time Principal of Edinburgh Theological Seminary.
For the past two years Mr Martin has been undertaking the duties of Principal on a part-time basis, juggling it with his existing commitments and duties with the Stornoway congregation.
Following a review, Edinburgh Theological Seminary were able to produce a business plan to support a full-time appointment for Principal.
The Stornoway minister was the unanimous nomination for the role from the Free Church’s six Scottish Presbyteries, and accepted the post in person at the General Assembly tonight.
The new Principal said: “I feel first a sense of profound sadness in having to leave Stornoway where I’ve lived for 12 years and been the minister of a wonderful church. I can’t express how much they’ve meant to me and I will miss them terribly.
“At the same time the Assembly has reached a unanimous and prayerful decision which I can’t just ignore.
“They have placed upon me a frightening responsibility which has implications not just for the Free Church but for the wider church in Scotland.
“It’s a huge privilege in which I will need the continued support of my colleagues.
“I ask the whole church to pray for ETS and its future ministry.”
ETS board chairman Rev Dr Malcolm Maclean added: “The Board of Edinburgh Theological Seminary is delighted with the appointment of Rev Iver Martin as full-time Principal of the Seminary.
“He has shown during the last two years, when functioning as part-time Principal, that he possesses the necessary dedication and gifts to oversee the ongoing growth of the Seminary and to spread its influence in the UK and abroad.”
After graduating with a BSc in Electronics and Electrical Engineering at Robert Gordon’s University in 1980, Mr Martin spent the next 12 years as a microelectronics engineer specialising in wet and dry etching techniques at several semiconductor plants in Europe.
In 1995, after studying at the Free Church College, he became the assistant minister in Stornoway before moving to Bon Accord Free Church as minister in 1997. In 2003 he returned to Stornoway, this time as minister of the Free Church congregation.
The 57-year-old is married to Mairi, and they have six children and eight grandchildren.
It is expected that Mr Martin will leave the Stornoway congregation before the end of the summer, with a date and interim moderator likely to be arranged at the next meeting of the Western Isles Presbytery.
Rev Kenny I Macleod will continue to serve as assistant minister for the Kenneth Street congregation.
Edinburgh Theological Seminary trains candidates for the Free Church ministry, but also offers a wide range of Bible-based study from part-time courses to its BTh degree which is accredited by the University of Glasgow.
Between the part-time and full-time courses, the Seminary currently boasts over 200 students.