New generation of Lewis ministers ordained

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(Left to right) Rev Dougie Wolf, son Jack and wife Joan.

A former electricity board engineer and merchant seaman have been ordained as ministers on the Isle of Lewis.

Rev Dougie Wolf (52) and Rev Gordon Macleod (53) have taken up roles at Barvas Church of Scotland and as a chaplain at Western Isles Hospital respectively.

The pair, who are good friends, both embarked on their entry into ministry together after attending a Kirk led ‘Enquiry Conference’ in Edinburgh in 2007.

Mr Wolf, originally from Northumberland, moved to Lewis in 1997 as part of a three year contract to refurbish electricity lines on the island where he met his wife Joan.

With a Brethren background, the former manager of a filling station became known for his preaching abilities when small groups would gather to hear his interpretation of the Gospel.

Mr Wolf said: “People came to listen.

“I was told I should think about ministry.”

This inspiration led to a trip to Scotland’s capital a decade ago where Mr Wolf explored the possibility. Now the first step to becoming a minister is to attend a Vocations Conference.

Loving arms

The father of one said the experience left him with a “call he could not ignore”.

“I came away from that thinking ‘how am I going to tell my wife I want to be a minister?', Mr Wolf added.

He recalled crying with happiness “and a little fear” when he discussed the life changing decision on his arrival home.

Mr Wolf revealed that he had initial apprehension at the idea of his wife having to “fit into a minister’s wife role” but that his congregation have accepted her with “loving arms as she is” without having to “aspire to any expected role”.

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L- R Rev Gordon Macleod and Rev Dougie Wolf (front) are good friends and journeyed together on their road to becoming a Church of Scotland minister. They are pictured here with members of Lewis Presbytery.

Mr Wolf said he planned to bring a “down to earth” approach to ministry with a “simple Gospel – we are all loved by God”.

“Before ministers were held on a pedestal but now a new generation are coming through who don’t set themselves apart from the communities they serve,” he added.

Mr Wolf took inspiration from popular Lewis minister Rev Tommy MacNeil, of Martin’s Memorial Church. This is where three ministers in training are learning their craft.

Supported by Ministries Council

Mr Macleod, who is born and bred on the island, was in the Merchant Navy for ten years and 20 years working offshore in the North Sea.

He said his experiences of “life’s ups and downs” at sea would help him support patients at the hospital.

Mr Macleod added: “I meet people at low points in their lives so part of my work is to provide spiritual care and remind them God has not left them."

He praised the Kirk’s Ministries Council for their support during his journey into becoming a minister.

Mr Macleod said: “Balancing a family (he has two sons) and also running a holiday campsite has its demands but the staff at Ministries could not have been more helpful to me”.

Interested in becoming a minister? Take the first step here.

60 years in Ministry

During the Service of Ordination and Induction at Barvas Church of Scotland Rev William Macleod was presented with a congratulatory letter from the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, to mark 60 years in Ministry.

He was licensed by the Presbytery of Uist in April 1956 and ordained and inducted to the Pastoral Charge of Benbecula in January 1957. Rev Macleod moved to UIg, Lewis in 1964 and ministered there for 42 years.

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Rev William Macleod was presented with a congratulatory letter from the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, to mark 60 years in Ministry. Presenting in person is John Cunningham, Presbytery Clerk of Lewis Presbytery.