Church of Scotland minister, Fraser Edwards from Edinburgh, will be inducted into Innerleithen Traquair and Walkerburn Parish Church (ITW) this evening.
He has plans to take the “care for creation” message to new heights by joining a group called Forest Church, and hopes to hold services outdoors in the future.
Fraser (42) who grew up in Kingsknowe will become the Church of Scotland’s newest minister on Wednesday evening when he and three members of the Melrose and Peebles Presbytery will attend the service in Innerleithen Church.
Mr Edwards’ primary school teacher wife, Fiona, their two children, Anna, 13 and Matthew, 7, and other family members and friends will be watching on video conferencing platform, Zoom, and a recording will be posted later on the church’s website.
Forest Church is a fresh expression of church and draws on much older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside.
Mr Edwards, a former IT specialist, said: “I’m really excited about my ordination and it is a privilege to have been called to be ITW’s minister.
“I’m looking forward to the adventure of faith in following Jesus together.
“The parish is in an area of such natural beauty that I hope, in time, to explore a fresh expression of church to take place outdoors.
“I’ve become part of a small group exploring ‘Forest Church’ and I’m keen to see ways that people can connect the wonder and beauty that we all see in creation with the God who made it all and who cares for us.”
He attended Palmerston Place Church for 15 years and was mentored by the minister, Very Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2019-20.
“Colin has been a huge encouragement and he and his wife Ruth have been really influential in me going into ministry,” said Mr Edwards, a former pupil of Firrhill High School.
“The call to ministry is a call to make Jesus known, to share of his love, his grace and the invitation to follow him.
“At a hard time for our whole country I think more than ever that Jesus offers the hope that we all need.
The vote to call Mr Edwards, a University of Edinburgh graduate, to the parish took place in December and he was supposed to be ordained and inducted on 28 January. But he has been in his new role unofficially for several weeks and currently lives with his family in Edinburgh with plans to move to the Scottish Borders as soon as possible.
Although buildings are temporarily closed to public worship due to the pandemic, Mr Edwards said the congregation has embraced technology with gusto to ensure that the church is most definitely open.
“A background in IT and a degree in theology seem to be a fairly good combination of skills in the current life of online church,” he added.
“We have started online services followed by a post-church Zoom coffee time.”