Linklines 28.11.08

Catholic priest

LERWICK’S new priest has spoken about his path to joining the town’s parish.

Father Colin Davies has been serving at St Margaret’s Roman Catholic Church since his arrival in the isles in August.

He has taken over from Paul Bonnicci, who recently returned to his native Malta.

Originally from Fort William, Father Davies moved to Aberdeen in 1991 to train as a nurse.

Having qualified, he remained in the Granite city until 2001, when he answered his calling to the church.

“A few years after qualifying I started getting feelings I was supposed to be doing something else with my life.

“I was a regular attender at mass and when I spoke to my priest about it he suggested I join the priesthood.”

That, said Father Davies, sounded “ridiculous”, but when the feelings did not go away he thought he had nothing to lose.

He applied to go to the seminary in Glasgow, and was accepted by the Bishop Mario Conti.

What followed was six years of studying, the beginning of which was difficult for Father Davies to forget, as it began on the day of the 9/11 attacks in America.

“It was not an easy journey – it’s not just learning about the Bible, it’s a journey of self-discovery.”

He was ordained in July last year, before moving to Inverness to serve his first parish.

But Father Davies was not daunted by the thought of taking up his new role in Shetland.

“Living in cities was not really up my street. I had 11 years in Aberdeen where I rarely went near the city centre unless I had to.”

New Minister

A NEW minister has started working for the Church of Scotland in Tingwall and Burra.

Wilma Johnston is taking over from Rev Edgar Ogston, who is now serving a church outside Inverness.

The daughter of a Perthshire shepherd, Rev Johnston has been welcomed since an induction service was held on 7th November.

Describing herself as a “perpetual student”, Mrs Johnston – whose husband is originally from Shetland – studied at St Andrews and Edinburgh before being called to the ministry.

She said she was delighted to be living and working in the isles, despite the recent cold snap.

“I’m delighted to be here because it’s a beautiful place, and I’ve received such a warm welcome. I’ve fallen in love with the Shetland scenery.”

Papa Stour service

Preparations are underway for a carol service in the Papa Stour kirk.

Led by West Side minister Tom McIntyre, the service will feature local musicians who will help give the event a festive atmosphere.

Scheduled for 6th December at 2pm, the service will be the third of its kind since the kirk was re-opened in 2006.

Christianity explored

A course designed to introduce Christianity to the wider public is being organised for the new year.

Christianity Explored takes its lead from the Alpha course, which has proved popular in Shetland in recent years.

The course has already been running in the Ebenezer Hall in Lerwick, but plans are afoot for it to run again in the Baptist Hall in January.


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