THE Reverend Suzanne Garrard Fletcher feels she has “come home” after becoming the new minister of the parish of Dunglass.
She first fell in love with East Lothian a decade ago when she arrived in the county from her home in America to assist Rev Laurence Twaddle at Belhaven and Spott Churches for a year. She was accompanied by her husband Greg.
Mrs Fletcher then went on to work with two congregations in Edinburgh - Blackhall St Columba’s and Crammond - to learn more about the Church of Scotland as opposed to the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
The couple decided to put down roots in Scotland after falling in love with the country and its people, and always hoped to return to East Lothian.
“I was keen to come back to this part of the country - it feels like coming home,” explained Mrs Fletcher (37) who hails from Virginia.
Now a mum of two children, three-year-old Imogen and Callum, 18 months, she is minister of three congregations in Cockburnspath, Innerwick and Oldhamstocks.
Her husband Greg (36) is studying law at Edinburgh University and works part-time in human resources with a charity.
Mrs Fletcher, who has enlisted the help of an au pair to balance family life and her ministerial work, stressed: “A minister’s job is never nine to five.”
She was formally inducted as new minister of the parish at a service, organised by the Presbytery of Lothian, in Cockburnspath Church last month.
Afterwards a social evening was enjoyed with food and speeches in the village hall. Three friends who are also ministers, including Rev Robin Hill of Longniddry/Gladsmuir, treated everyone to some musical entertainment.
Mrs Fletcher explained that arriving before the busy time at Holy Week was “hectic” but added: “It was lovely to meet lots of new faces.”
She is no stranger to Dunglass, having led services there as part of her “pulpit supply” work. This also took her to many different parishes in East Lothian where she stood in for ministers who might be on holiday or study leave.
Mrs Fletcher, chaplain at the schools in Cockburnspath and Innerwick, said she was looking forward to becoming involved in other areas of the community and “developing the potential” of the three congregations.