Although I was born in Edinburgh, I was about 10 years old when we as a family moved to Dundee. I completed school there and in 1978 joined Tayside Police as a Police Cadet. In 1980, I was appointed as Constable with Tayside Police and served there for 30 years. I was fortunate to have had a varied career, beat works in various areas of Dundee, a few years in the Charge Room in Dundee and finding my niche in policing which was to be reflected in 20 of the 30 years of police service. In 1989, I discovered that community policing was where my skills lay and after a few years as a community beat officer, I transferred to the Dundee Community Involvement Section. I spent another couple of years as a Community Liaison Officer in a housing scheme in the north of Dundee before being transferred, initially as Youth Issues Development Officer, to Headquarters Community Safety. This was probably the longest attachment I had, and my post developed from Youth Issues to having an overview of police community safety issues. In 2004 I transferred to a planning team for a major event and in 2005 transferred to beat duties in the Carnoustie area of Angus. In January 2006 I was promoted to Sergeant and headed up a team dealing with community safety and crime policy. I represented Tayside nationally on a number of issues and retired in January 2010.
Through that time, though, many other things happened. In 1983 I married Maureen and in 1984 our son Ross was born. I maintained a commitment to Scouting and Pipe Band for many of these years and was involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award both in my work in the Police and volunteering in a local committee in Dundee. However, the big transformation came in 1993 when a couple of events made me realise that God was calling me.
Throughout my life until that time, I was happy to accept that something had somehow created the world and that there was probably a bigger thing out there; I never gave it any thought or space in my life. Church was not really in my life, other than primary school church services, Scout church parades and the occasional watchnight service for the fun of it. In April 1993, through Maureen, I met a minister who had a profound effect on my life. Just because I was off one Sunday, I went to church with Maureen and as the minister walked to the Communion Table, looked at the congregation and smiled, I realised that he had “something” and what’s more I wanted to know what the something was. Over the next month or so I talked with him a couple of times and on one occasion he asked me if I would join the church. I said “No” at the point and he replied, saying “I know, but you will.”
In June that year, I was leading a Cub camp and did the “Cub’s Own”- a time of reflection on the promise and the duty to God. Being not sure of where I stood, I had put together a set of slides of landscapes, people and animals and Maureen suggested reading the words of the hymn, “God, who made the earth”. I used this and when I had finished, I felt a presence entering me through the top of my head, going right through my body to the ends of my fingers and toes, holding me there for what seemed an incredible amount of time and then slowly leaving again. I asked the other leaders to carry out the next activity with the Cubs and I spoke to Maureen who was also there. I asked her how long it had been from the end of the presentation to me asking the leaders to take the next activity and she said it had been no time at all. I spent some time on my own in the campfire area, a large clearing surrounded by pine trees with the sun almost right above me and as I sat there I realised what I had to do. I returned home that evening and telephoned the minister to tell him I needed to “join his church”. During the discussions I had with the minister, we explored what had happened and finally I realised that the Holy Spirit had filled me as part of God’s calling me. The minister also introduced me to healing ministry and the importance of forgiveness in a Christian walk. I joined the church in August 1993 and several months later began exploring with the minister, ways to serve in the church. It became clear that I was being called to Auxiliary Ministry. The minister died suddenly in 1994 and to find a path or network I was able to connect with ministers in Dundee who were involved in healing ministry.
In 1996, I was successful in the Selection School and in September 1997 began training as an Auxiliary Minister. I continued in the healing ministry area attending the annual healing conferences in Carberry organised by the Board of Social Responsibility of the Church. I was ordained as an Auxiliary Minister in 2001 and was introduced to the congregation of Menzieshill Parish Church in Dundee. I served there until June 2010 and was involved in healing ministry there and in other areas of Dundee. I was also one of a small group who established the Christian Healing Fellowship Tayside.
In August 2010, I began training for the full-time ministry of Word and Sacrament and in June 2013 I graduated from St. Andrews University with a Batchelor of Divinity. In July 2013, Maureen and I moved to Glasgow where I completed a probationary period at Balshagray Victoria Park Church. In October 2014 I was inducted to the charge of Maxwelltown West Church, Dumfries. In May 2017 I was inducted to the linked charge of Stevenston Ardeer and Livingstone.
In many ways that’s the story but it goes much deeper than that. I understand God’s calling on my life as a call to share His love and His life with His people. It begins by understanding the Covenant he has made with us. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so those who believe would no perish but have eternal life (John 3:16) His love is unconditional and is part of the Covenant. Whilst there’s nothing we can do to earn His love, we do need to make a response. As we understand the Covenant and God’s love, we repent of our old sinful ways and turn fully to God. This is the beginning of a transformational process which, in God’s mercy, we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice – holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1-2). We stop conforming to the patterns of the world and look at God through Jesus Christ, His living Word, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m still very much involved in healing ministry and have seen God bless many people over the years. I’m also delighted to be here in Stevenston to see what God is doing in this place and what it is He wants us to do.