Asian min­is­ter is a Scot­tish first

Aquila be­mused by na­tional head­lines over or­di­na­tion

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Jonathan Ged­des

The new min­is­ter of Fern­hill and Cathkin Church has told the Re­former she has been sur­prised at the at­ten­tion her ap­point­ment has re­ceived.

Aquila Singh was or­dained and in­ducted last week.

The cer­e­mony at­tracted head­lines across Scot­land be­cause she be­came the Church of Scot­land’s first Asian min­is­ter. That took Aquila, a former com­put­ing teacher, by sur­prise – but she’s keen to start work.

The min­is­ter said: “I had a friend who lived off Stonelaw Road years ago but other than that I don’t know the area, so I’ll be get­ting to know the peo­ple and the area over the next few weeks now that I’m here.

“It’s not even been a week but it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing, not just get­ting to know the con­gre­ga­tion but peo­ple in the whole area as well.

“All the press at­ten­tion has been funny be­cause I’m not used to any­thing like that at all.

“I had the BBC in touch ask­ing if I could ap­pear on their pol­i­tics show on Sun­day morn­ing – I was like, ‘I’ll be work­ing then’.

“It’s not re­ally me to have all that at­ten­tion – I don’t know how some­one like Kim Kar­dashian copes!”

De­spite the his­tor­i­cal na­ture of her ap­point­ment, Aquila ad­mits that she doesn’t feel like a trend­set­ter, and that she is more fo­cused on help­ing the Neil­vaig Drive par­ish to play a big part at the heart of the com­mu­nity, for parish­ioners and non parish­ioners alike.

She said: “I feel blessed to be here. It’s all come as a sur­prise to me and I’m just happy to have had the chance to be ac­cepted at Fern­hill and Cathkin. I now need to look to see what the com­mu­nity’s needs are and what we can do.

“The whole com­mu­nity needs to see the church as a place of wel­come – I think peo­ple some­times have an idea that it’s a place they can’t go in to and that some­thing strange hap­pens there. I want them to see it as some­where they are wel­come.”

Aquila, who moved to Scot­land when she was two, re­places Mag­gie McArthur at the par­ish after re­cently com­plet­ing a pro­ba­tion­ary period at Shaw­lands Church.

She is fol­low­ing in her fam­ily foot­steps in a way – her pa­ter­nal grand­fa­ther was a min­is­ter for the Amer­i­can Mis­sion Pres­by­te­rian Church in In­dia.

How­ever, a ca­reer in the min­istry was not some­thing Aquila had planned. She said: “If some­body had said to me six years ago ‘Aquila, you’ll be a min­is­ter’, I’d have laughed.

“I be­gan by get­ting in­volved with my own church in Pol­lok­shields and it was sug­gested I go to an in­quir­ers con­fer­ence in Dundee, where you can find out the dif­fer­ent roles peo­ple can play in the church.

“We heard from dea­cons, read­ers and then a min­is­ter.

“We would go to each talk and it wasn’t un­til the min­is­ter spoke that I thought ‘That’s for me’.”

Ground-break­ing Aquila Singh is the Church of Scot­land’s first Asian min­is­ter

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