In April 2014, Jennifer Stark completed her 5 years as leader of the Leith Churches Outreach Project, and took up a new post with the Church of Scotland as Families Worker/Parish Assistant at Christ’s Kirk and St Margaret’s, Glenrothes. However, the chaplaincy work in Ocean Terminal continues with a new partnership between Leith Churches Together and Workplace Chaplaincy Scotland, with Margaret Ann Fraser as the new chaplain.
St James’ Episcopal Church recently welcomed Rev. Steve Butler as their new Rector in October 2013, with the Bishop of Edinburgh, Rev. Dr. John Armes and the Dean of Edinburgh, Rev. Susan McDonald, officiating. New minister for Leith St Andrew’s.
In February 2013, Leith St Andrew’s (Church of Scotland) called Rev. Rob Mackenzie to be their new minister. Rob was previously minister in Broomhouse Parish Church, Edinburgh.
2012-13 was a time of sadness, and change, for St Mary Star of the Sea. Fr. Edward McSherry died suddenly in December 2012 and Fr. Denis Cormican OMI in September 2013 following a short illness. Both are remembered fondly in their own church and in the wider church community in Leith. Fr. Frank Murray OMI moved to Anglesey in autumn 2013. In September 2013, St Mary’s welcomed Fr Dennis Connor OMI as their new parish priest, and Fr John McFadden OMI has recently returned to the team at St Mary’s.
Rev. John Tait retired from his charge of Pilrig St Paul’s Church of Scotland on 31 October 2012, after 27 years of service in Leith. At his farewell ‘do’, several guests spoke of his steady support for ecumenical work in Leith over many years. In September 2013, the congregation unanimously supported a call to Rev. Mark Foster (Dean Parish Church) to become their new minister. Mark was inducted and welcomed to Pilrig St Paul’s on 24th October 2013.
New minister for South Leith. On 18th April 2012, South Leith Parish Church welcomed their new minister, Rev. Iain May. Iain is married to Ann and they have two children, Iain and Catherine.
Rev. Elizabeth Youngson moves to Aberdeen. In December 2011, Leith St Andrew’s Church of Scotland said farewell to their minister, Rev. Elizabeth Youngson, who returned to her roots in the North East to take up a new charge at Mastrick Church in Aberdeen.
Ian Gilmour moves ‘up the toon’. On Easter Sunday 2011, Rev. Ian Gilmour preached his last sermon at South Leith Parish Church. Ian has moved to the joint charge of St Andrew’s and St George’s West in Edinburgh. For a number of years, Ian and others from South Leith have visited their neighbouring RC church, St Mary’s Star of the Sea, for the Good Friday ‘Stations of the Cross’ liturgy (St Mary’s visit South Leith in their turn for the Nine Lessons and Carols service at Christmas). After sharing in the liturgy on Good Friday 2011, St Mary’s entertained all of us to hot cross buns and tea, and Ian was presented with a farewell gift from St Mary’s. Fr. John and Fr. Denis thanked Ian for his work in nourishing the relationship between the two churches.
Rev. Alex McAspurren welcomed to North Leith. Rev. Alex McAspurren was inducted to the charge of North Leith Parish Church in March 2011. Alex and his wife Louise came from Corby, Northamptonshire, where Alex was the minister of St Andrew’s Church of Scotland, but they are no strangers to Leith, as they spent some time here a few years ago.