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'I feel I bring differing gifts and experiences'

'I feel I bring differing gifts and experiences'

Friday May 11

The Church of Scotland this month commemorates the 50th anniversary of the decision to allow women to be ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament.

This week, we are sharing the reflections of women who entered the Ministry at various times over the past half-century.

Today Lynsey Brennan, a probationer minister at Baldernock linked with Milngavie: St Paul's, explains how motherhood brings a different perspective to training for the ministry in 21st century Scotland.


After a period of discernment, I realised that God was calling me into full-time ministry of Word and Sacrament rather than chaplaincy or diaconal ministry.

I assumed I’d need to put this ‘vision’ on hold as I was a mother to two boys, aged three and five. However, I spoke with someone from Ministries Council who encouraged me to continue to pursue my call and to perhaps speak with other women in the ministry about the training process.

One such woman was the Rev Amanda McQuarrie who at that time was entering her period of probation, and she had four children! Amanda gave me hope that if God has called you He will fully equip you, but that sometimes we first need to step out of our comfort zones in faith. Amanda encouraged me to read the book by John Ortberg: If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat. It’s a book that really helps you think about God’s purpose for your life and to consider the incredible potential that awaits you if you trust in God.

So I entered the ministry training process and three or four years later I am now a probationer, serving within St Paul’s in Milngavie and Baldernock Parish Church with the Rev Fergus Buchanan. I now also have three children after having my third son during my final year at university. Malachi is 18 months old and loves his older brothers: Samuel (9) and Ciaran (7).

God has called me to be His child, a wife, a mother and a full-time minister of Word and Sacrament, and I remember the order of this calling. What I’m learning is that these roles need not be conflicting but complementary.

As a mother and a woman I feel I bring differing gifts and experiences to ministry. My children teach me every day about God, and the simplicity and purity of their faith is something I greatly cherish and which feeds into my ministry. We need to say goodbye to the times when children were seen but not heard and embrace our children into the heart of the church family, demonstrating to our local communities that children and family matter.

Today’s families struggle with the challenges of work, differing shift patterns and time pressures, which can all negatively impact on home life and raising children. This is an opportunity for the church to model how a Christ-centred church works in unity as a family, supporting, encouraging and building each other up in Christian love.

St Paul’s in Milngavie has an amazing ministry to the local children and their families, within which they seek to clearly and simply say: we care for you, Jesus cares for you, we want you to come and share in our fellowship.

Ministry for me means being aware that, despite the current decline of the church, the Missio Dei (mission of God) is still fully alive and we need to be in step with the Spirit to see where God is already present. We know the gospel message is full of hope, love, acceptance and promise and this needs to be brought alive to all people, by both men and women!”


This article first appeared in May's Life and Work. Download or subscribe here.

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The Rev Jean Montgomerie, first woman to convene a committee of the General Assembly, looks back on her journey.

The Rev Dr Margaret Forrester remembers the campaign which led to the ordination of women in the Church of Scotland

Interview with the Rev Susan Brown, Moderator-Designate of the 2018 General Assembly