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Outdoor services in the works as newest Church of Scotland minister joins ‘Forest Church’ movement

by Tola Mbakwe
Church of Scotland - Banner image
Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland’s newest minister has said he plan to hold outdoor church services once Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Fraser Edwards was ordained and inducted into Innerleithen Traquair and Walkerburn Parish Church (ITW) in the Scottish Borders this week.

The 42-year-old has joined a group called “Forest Church”. It describes itself as “a fresh expression of church drawing on much older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside – but it is also drawing on contemporary research that highlights the benefits of spending time with nature in wild places.”

Mr Edwards, a former IT specialist, said: “I’m really excited about my ordination and it is a privilege to have been called to be this congregation’s minister.

“I’m looking forward to the adventure of faith in following Jesus together.

“The parish is in an area of such natural beauty that I hope, in time, to explore a fresh expression of church to take place outdoors.

“I’ve become part of a small group exploring ‘Forest Church’ and I’m keen to see ways that people can connect the wonder and beauty that we all see in creation with the God who made it all and who cares for us.”

Although church buildings are temporarily closed to public worship due to the pandemic, Mr Edwards (pictured above with this wife Fiona) said the congregation has embraced technology to ensure that the church is most definitely open.

“A background in IT and a degree in theology seem to be a fairly good combination of skills in the current life of online church,” he added.

“We have started online services followed by a post-church Zoom coffee time.”

Church of Scotland Session Clerk, Jim Borthwick said: “There is much excitement in the parish about Fraser’s appointment.

“Many members of our congregation have contacted me to say how much they have enjoyed watching and listening to him preach these last few weeks during our Zoom Sunday morning service.

“During these difficult times, it is marvellous that our part of Christ's church in this area is looking forward with great anticipation to what may lie ahead.”

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