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“IF I can support ministers during my year, I shall. All my life I have been a parish minister. If I can support them and listen to them, I will do it.”
The Rev Lorna Hood, Moderator-Designate to the 2013 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is clear about her role for the year.
She believes that the accolade she has received as the first serving woman parish minister to be elected to the office is an honour for all the women who have been parish ministers.
“Women have been in the ministry for a long time and have done a good job and it is nice that the decision comes not just for me, but for the work that all women do in the parishes. At the end of the day I have never thought of myself as being very different as a woman parish minister. I am just a parish minister.”
Lorna has served as parish minister at Renfrew: North since she was inducted in 1979.
Although she would not describe herself as a pioneer, it is clear that she has been – not only in her ministry, but throughout her life: she was the first in her family to gain a place at university; she was one of only two women to be selected for the ministry at the selection school she attended; she was the first female minister in the then Presbytery of Paisley and she successfully brought the issue of maternity pay for women ministers to the attention of the General Assembly, before her involvement in an award-winning pilot project at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley which helped transform the care of women who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or stillbirth.
Her involvement with the central church came early in her ministry through the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, followed by involvement with Ecumenical Relations, the Guild, Ministries and Maintenance of the Ministry. She has served as a Vice-Convener of the Ministries Council and, more recently as Vice-Convener of the Assembly Arrangements Committee and Vice-Convener of the Business Committee of the General Assembly and is a General Trustee.
Like all Moderator-Designates, she has been overwhelmed by the good wishes that have flooded her mailbox in the wake of her nomination.
Lorna has a clear vision for this year’s Assembly, which is expected to be challenging with a number of contentious issues of business.
“I want to speak about hope during the Assembly. Hope for the year and the future of the church. In so many ways we are just managing decline but I want to show there is hope for the church’s future.
“My hope is that we shall listen to one another with respect and love and will find that love and understanding and that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.
“I would hope that we can remember that we are all also brothers and sisters in Christ.”
* This is an abridged version of the full interview which appears in the May issue of Life and Work. Subscribe to the magazine here
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