Former teacher set to become Kirk's first Asian female minister

Aquila Singh
Aquila Singh

A former computing teacher is being ordained as the Church of Scotland’s first Asian female minister today.

Aquila Singh, who was brought up in the Christian faith from birth, will be ordained and inducted into Fernhill and Cathkin Parish Church in Rutherglen.

She said she was “delighted” that she had been called to her first charge and excited at the prospect of leading the congregation and working with the local community.

Miss Singh, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Scotland when she was two, said she did not feel like a trailblazer but was pleased she was able to “break down some misconceptions” about who could be a minister.

She is following in her paternal grandfather’s footsteps.

He was a minister for the American Mission Presbyterian Church in India and instrumental in building a place of worship in Moga in the Punjab region in 1934.

Breaking down misconceptions

Miss Singh, who was raised in Glasgow and had an uncle on her mother’s side who was a Christian minister in Lahore, Pakistan, said: “I feel very blessed to have been called by God to serve Him.

“When I was first discerning my call I would wonder why God called me, although I grew up in the church, because I was just an ordinary person.

“But someone told me that God takes you as you are and tweaks you and I definitely believe this is true.

“I am still me, but God has changed me in subtle ways and has been equipping me with the tools that I will need to serve Him.

“I am delighted that Fernhill and Cathkin Parish Church has called me to be their minister and excited to be working with them and the local community.

“I don't feel like a trailblazer but I like to think that maybe I can break down some misconceptions about who can be a minister.”

Aquila Singh
Aquila Singh

Miss Singh worked at Belmont House School in Newton Mearns near Glasgow before training for the ministry.

She discovered that she was suffering from a debilitating vision condition called Meares-Irlen syndrome while studying for a Bachelor of Divinity honours degree at the University of Glasgow but managed to overcome the challenge to graduate.

Encouraging

Miss Singh, who wears special glasses to help her read, said Rev David Black of Pollockshields Parish Church, Glasgow – her home congregation - encouraged her to attend a ministry candidate conference in Dundee in June, 2011.

Since then she has worked at Govan and Linthouse Church, under the tutelege of the late Rev Dr Moyna McGlynn, Langside Church and Newlands South Church, both Glasgow, and Paisley Abbey.

Miss Singh, whose family on her mother and father’s side converted to Christianity many generations ago, spent 10 weeks as a Locum Minister in Bettyhill, Sutherland.

She has just completed her probationary period at Shawlands linked with South Shawlands churches in Glasgow.

Joint clerk of the Presbytery of Glasgow, Rev Dr Graham Blount, said: “It is always encouraging to see a new minister take up their first charge.

“Each one brings something unique to the life of the church.

“Aquila is well known and liked in Glasgow Presbytery, and we are delighted to see her begin her ministry in Fernhill and Cathkin.

“It will be an exciting night for the congregation and for Aquila as they begin a new journey together.”