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Home  >  News  >  Pioneering Online Minister Retires


Pioneering Online Minister Retires

Wednesday September 27 2023

The Very Rev Albert Bogle and his successor as Sanctuary First minister,  the Rev Ruth Kennedy

The minister at the heart of Sanctuary First, the Church of Scotland’s online worshipping community, will retire at the end of October after a ministry spanning more than 40 years.

The Very Rev Albert Bogle, 74, who served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2012/13, was minister for 34 years at Bo’ness: St Andrew’s and has served most recently as the Church’s digital ministry adviser and chief executive of Sanctuary First, an online worshipping community, which was one of many missional projects developed during his tenure at the church (others included the international development charity, the Vine Trust and ranged from charity shop to music production).

From humble beginnings as a monthly contemporary worship service at St Andrew’s Bo’ness, Sanctuary First has evolved to become a pioneer ministry and is now a subsidiary charity and digital ministry of the Church of Scotland, with an audience around the globe, evolving from a website base to the development of an app in 2013.

Tracing the most recent journey, Albert explained: “In 2015 Falkirk Presbytery appointed me Pioneer Minister of Sanctuary First and for the past seven years the team developed along with a growing team of freelancers and volunteer creatives. In 2022 we brought Sanctuary First into a new and exciting partnership as part of the national church’s Faith Action Programme and a subsidiary charity of the Church of Scotland.

“In the midst of a changing church Sanctuary First is one of the Church’s success stories. It is now time to pass the baton on to a new generation to make new connections and new disciples.

“I’m delighted that Ruth Kennedy will take up the role of minister to this emerging and growing online community.”

Paying tribute to Albert, the Rev Dr Scott Shackleton, Head of the Church of Scotland’s Faith Action Programme said: “I want to thank Albert for, quite simply, a God blessed and inspiring ministry when creating, leading, caring and ministering to the fledgling Sanctuary First community – the Church of Scotland digital church.

“May God raise up many more folk such as Albert for this time of renewal.”

He added: “For Ruth – the warmest of welcomes. We are all really looking forward to working alongside and supporting you in this exciting new venture as you bring your own God given set of qualities and skill set to your new ministry role.”

Ruth, who served as a pioneer minister with the under 40s before taking up the new role said: “I feel it is an incredibly exciting time to join the Sanctuary First adventure bringing my colour of pioneering ministry to a wonderfully gifted and creative team at a time when God is doing a new thing in His Church.  Albert and the team have faithfully set solid foundation stones upon which to build and springboard off into new adventures; what an honour to be your new Sanctuary First Minister and Digital Ministries Advisor.”

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Phyllis Wilson - Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

“Well done Albert! We salute you!”

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