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Fife Minister Nominated as Moderator-Designate


                                                                                                                         Picture by Andy O'Brien                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                        Monday October 25 2021


A minister at a community church in Dunfermline has been nominated as the next Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.


The Rev Iain Greenshields, 67, minister at Dunfermline: St Margaret’s since 2007 and a former prison chaplain, said he was ‘honoured’ to have been chosen for the ambassadorial role within the Church.


He said: ““I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen as Moderator-Designate and I aim to represent the Church and God in a way that is positive, instructive and hopeful.”


He added: “There are a great many challenges facing our society today including climate change, poverty, mental health, social isolation, addiction and the Church is active in supporting those in genuine need.


“Ultimately the greatest need in our society is the spiritual vacuum that exists in the lives of so many.”


Mr Greenshields, a former prison chaplain, expressed a strong personal view on issues around addiction and said locking up people who he believes are often “self-medicating” to cope with psychological challenges and severe life issues did not work and instead they should be treated in high-quality residential rehabilitation centres.


Speaking  in a personal capacity, he said he believed the approach would be of personal benefit to the people concerned and to wider society.


He said his views are based on his experiences over many years supporting people through church outreach projects and his role as a prison chaplain as well as work in psychiatric chaplaincy.


Mr Greenshields said: “I really believe that prison is not the answer for the vast majority of people who are behind bars because of illegal drug issues and we have to find another way to recover their lives.


“When you look into the background of those who take drugs, you realise it is largely about self-medicating to treat some kind of trauma.


“They are in a desperate situation and what is needed is not criminalising them and sending them to prison but ensuring that they get the best rehabilitation support possible.”


The father-of-six was ordained in 1984 and has served in Cranhill, Larkhall and Skye and served for nine years as chaplain at the former Longriggend Young Offenders' Institution in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire and nearby Shotts Prison.


Mr Greenshields also served within the former Presbytery of Dunfermline in  a number of roles, including presbytery clerk and Moderator and has also served as a National Assessor for the Church.


He was heavily involved in the task group established to oversee the formation of the new Fife Presbytery, a merger of the presbyteries of St Andrews, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, which held its first meeting in February this year.


Born in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow, Mr Greenshields is married to Linda, a Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies teacher at Levenmouth Academy in Buckhaven, Fife.


The couple have six children – Alistair, 31, Ross, 30, Caitlin, 27, Eilidh, 18, Siona, 15 and Suisaidh, 10, and a grandson, Oran, who was born in August.


Their three youngest daughters were born in China.


After adopting Eilidh in 2004, he and his wife set up a charity called Hope4China’s Children the following year and over the charity has since raised £1.2m to provide education, support, medical care and foster care for around 800 girls in Guangxi Province.


Mr Greenshields will succeed Lord Wallace of Tankerness at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh in May 2022.

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