by Mark Entwistle
FOR the congregation members of two Borders churches, this year’s Holy Week took on a little extra significance with the appointment of a new full-time clergyman after a gap of two years.
Friday night, April 15, saw the institution of the Rev Dr Chris Knights as rector for both St Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Kelso and the linked congregation at St Mary & All Souls Episcopal Church in Coldstream.
It ends a two-year wait for the churches following the retiral of Malcolm Lockie back in September, 2009.
The ceremony was carried out by the Bishop of Edinburgh, Brian Smith, in what will be one of his last institutions before his own retiral in August.
Dr Knights, 49, who originally hails from Twickenham, has spent the last 30 years working in the north-east of England, most latterly in Newcastle where he was also involved with urban regeneration projects.
But he was already familiar with the Borders and the Kelso and Coldstream area.
“We’d been feeling it was the right time for a change, for a move somewhere else,” Dr Knights, who is married with two grown-up children, told The Berwickshire News this week.
“We have some connections with this area and when we were up last year we popped into St Andrew’s and noticed they were looking for a new rector.
“So we thought we would explore this further by me applying for the position. God obviously had a hand in things somewhere, because the result was a move to Kelso!”
Dr Knights says it is a bit too early to comment on what he thinks the challenges of his new role will be. “The first thing I will have to do is get to know both congregations - the one at St Andrew’s and also the one in Coldstream.
“And with this being Holy Week, the most important week of the year for Christians, I will be kept pretty busy with four services a day.
“But its very exciting and I am looking forward to my new dual role in Kelso and Coldstream.”
Ruth McGrath is a vestry member at St Andrew’s and says everyone is delighted with Dr Knight’s appointment.
“It took a little time for both the congregations at Kelso and Coldstream to decide as to whether we should remain in partnership, but in the end both groups felt that was the best way to continue,” she said.
“And both congregations are delighted to see Chris taking up the role of rector. We had a fantastic night on Friday witnessing his institution.”
Mrs McGrath also paid tribute to retired assistant priest, the Rev Father John Evans who had ‘held the fort’ for the last two years at St Andrew’s. “If it hadn’t been for John, I think things would have been much more difficult for us. He is due a lot of credit for keeping things going,” she added.