Rev Stephen Blakey, minister of Duns and District Parishes, conducted his final Sunday service in Duns Parish Church last Sunday, March 11.
Stephen arrived in the Borders in June 2012 to the charge of Duns in deferred linkage with Bonkyl & Preston with Edrom: Allanton, in deferred linkage with Langton & Lammermuir.
His parish was extended to 110 square miles and through linkages and unions, it became Duns and District Parishes. Mr Blakey trained as a Supervisor Minister and assistant ministers – Rev Jeff Martin, Rev Hanneke Marshall, Rev Godwin Osiakwa and Rev Tom Telfer - have all trained there.
During his time in Duns Mr Blakey served as the senior Army Reserve Chaplain for Scotland. The parish has seen the formation of Duns Food Bank, the creation of Kirk Kids carer and toddler group, and the setting up of a church office and flexible workspace.
Rev Blakey is moving to The Isla Parishes in the Presbytery of Angus.
“It will be a less demanding job than Duns and District, with only one church to look after instead of five, and for two days a week I will be part of a team ministry covering the Kirriemuir, Glamis and Angus Glens area,” said Rev Blakey, whose service of induction is in Kilroy Church this Thursday.
“I will be sad in so many ways to leave the Borders.
“The people here have been incredibly friendly and supportive. We have achieved a lot together, and it has been a great privilege to be their minister.”
“Unfortunately, the happiness and peace of our parish have not been reflected in relationships and working practices beyond the parish bounds. I am not happy with a lot that has been done in the wider area, and it has caused me a lot of stress and strain.
“Turning 65 in July, Christine and I had to decide whether to retire or to minister on for another five years, and if continuing, then where.
“We feel confident that the work I was called to is now completed and that it is a good time to move to pastures new.”