Asian minister is a Scottish first
Aquila bemused by national headlines over ordination
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