coldstream and Eccles parish church congregations welcomed their new minister last week at a special induction service in Coldstream Parish Church.
Rev David Taverner moves to the Borders from Kirriemuir in Angus where he was minister for eight and a half years. The Borders charge is Rev Taverner’s third since he changed from a career in the banking industry, working for the Royal Bank of Scotland in London, Jersey and Edinburgh.
The area is not unknown to him as his father Rev Glyn Taverner was minister at St Boswells from 1983 to 1995.
David takes charge of Coldstream with Eccles (in deferred linkage with Leitholm) and there was a large gathering at Coldstream Parish Church on Thursday evening to welcome him to the Duns Presbytery. There was also a strong contingent from his previous parish in Angus.
Leitholm will eventually join the Coldstream and Eccles parish when a new minister is sought for the Swinton, with Fogo, Leitholm, Ladykirk and Whitsome charge on the retirement of Rev Alan Cartwright. In preparation for that event in the future Leitholm was given the chance to have two representatives on the vacancy committee that selected the new minister.
The induction services was carried out by Duns Moderator Rev Norman Whyte, accompanied by presiding minister Rev Bruce Neill and after the formalities were completed there was time for members of the congregation to get to know their new minister in a more informal chat over a cup of tea.
Speaking after the service Rev Taverner said: “They felt that I could offer something here. They were looking for the type of minister who could offer pastoral care and to build up the church.
“So far everyone has been tremendously welcoming and very helpful.
“Now it’s a case of ‘get on with it!’.”
He takes over from Rev Jim Watson who retired 18 months ago. In the interim period Rev Hilary Smith stood in as locum minister and despite the fact that she’s now living on the other side of the world she sent a letter of best wishes to both the congregation and the new minister which was read out during the induction service.
In 2009 there were fears that the number of Church of Scotland ministers would have to be cut as the Kirk dealt with a £5.7m deficit.
They were looking at reducing the number of minister by 25 a year over a four-year period under the restructuring plans put forward by the Ministries Council, plus the Church of Scotland had plans to train church members to lead services.
The church said the ‘one minister one parish’ set up could not continue at the level it had been and that while the emphasis would still be on providing the Sunday sermon, ministers could work elsewhere during the weekdays.
The Ministries Council said the Kirk could have a “substantial part-time preaching pool” within a few years if the scheme was to be successful, and training would then be rolled out nationwide.
There are currently two other vacancies within the Duns Presbytery - one at Duns, with Langton and Lammermuir and the second at Berwick upon Tweed. Two other vacancies in the Borders are in the Melrose and Peebles Presbytery - Channelkirk and Lauder, and Ashkirk linked with Selkirk.
Throughout Scotland there are 80 unfilled charges where ministers are being sought but parishioners at Coldstream and Eccles have made up their minds and settled on Rev Taverner.