I thought interview for the job was a disaster, says new Kirk Moderator

Rev Dr Shaw James Paterson took on the role at the General Assembly on Saturday, attended by the Duke of Edinburgh and First Minister.

I thought interview for the job was a disaster, says new Kirk Moderator PA Media

The newly appointed Moderator of the Church of Scotland has told the General Assembly he thought his interview was a “disaster”.

Rev Dr Shaw James Paterson took over the role from the Right Rev Sally Foster-Fulton on Saturday, becoming the Kirk’s main ambassador for the next 12 months.

Originally from Holytown, North Lanarkshire, Dr Paterson has led the congregation at Trinity Parish Church in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, since 1991.

Originally expected to be a bricklayer like others in his family, the new Moderator went on to complete four degrees – including a doctorate – at Glasgow University.

After being passed the official ring and chain of office, Dr Paterson addressed those gathered in Edinburgh, including the Duke of Edinburgh, First Minister John Swinney and Edinburgh Lord Provost Robert Aldridge, where he reflected on his interview for the role, which resulted in him being nominated by 15 senior Kirk officials.

“I still can’t believe how, why, what was the committee of 15 thinking?” he said.

“I will never forget the interview, I thought it was a disaster.

“But the journey home was horrendous, and then I had to take a call from (former moderator) the Very Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, which I just assumed was a, ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

“His words were, ‘are you sitting down?’”

Told that Dr Paterson was actually in his car heading home on the M80 at Castlecary, North Lanarkshire, his predecessor said: “Well, at least you’re sitting down.”

“I thought I was going to enter the central reservation,” the new incumbent said of when he was told he would take up the post.

He said he was “humbled” to be elected to the role, adding: “This is a tremendous honour and I promise that I will serve you to the best of my ability.”

Dr Paterson also paid tribute to his family, saying: “They’ve put up with a lot over the years and they are the ones who pick me up when I need encouragement and keep my feet firmly on the ground.

“To them, I say – this honour is as much theirs as mine, thank you.”

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