A woman has been appointed to provide spiritual leadership at one of Scotland’s oldest churches for the first time.
Rev Elspeth McKay said she is “delighted” to have been inducted as the full-time minister at Paisley Abbey, which dates back to 1163 and is the cradle of the Royal House of Stewart.
She replaces Rev Alan Birss who retired in August last year after more than 30 years in the post.
Ms McKay said: “I am very excited and feel very privileged to be the new minister at Paisley Abbey and look forward to working with everyone.
“It is steeped in history and tradition, as well as worship being enhanced by the excellent music provided by the superb choir, all of which add to the unique flavour of worship.
“Building on this tradition, I hope to develop the gifts of the congregation to meet the Abbey’s opportunities and challenges as it moves into the future.”
Ms McKay was previously the minister of Cumbernauld Old Parish Church which she joined in 2017 after serving Echt and Midmar Parish Churches in Aberdeenshire.
Married with a son, she is passionate about music – singing and playing the oboe – and the musical traditions at Paisley Abbey, which has superb acoustics, was one of the main attractions of the role.
Ms McKay officially took up her post on October 25.
Marion Sommerville, Session Clerk of Paisley Abbey, said: “After a wonderful service of induction, the Abbey congregation look forward with enthusiasm and anticipation to the next stage in its journey under the capable leadership and guidance of our new minister.”
Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, Moderator of the General Assembly 2013-14, was the Interim Moderator of Paisley Abbey during the period of vacancy.
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland passed a decision to permit the ordination of women as ministers of Word and Sacrament in 1968.