St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Lisbon has a new locum minister. The Rev. John Young arrived in Lisbon last week to replace Rev. Gordon Oliver – also a short-term locum – and will be spending the next six months in Portugal.
A retired Church of Scotland minister, Rev. Young and his wife, Muriel, come from Dumfries. They have three grown up daughters. His last ministry before retiring was in Airdrie, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, where he served for 10 years. Rev. Young trained to be a minister in Edinburgh, but this is his first posting overseas.
So far, the new locum has visited the British Retirement Home and St. Julian’s School and is looking forward to meeting the new British ambassador, John Buck.
St. Andrew’s church has not had a full-time serving minister for some time, largely because there is a shortage of ministers to fill vacant posts. “There has been a renewed interest in the clergy in our denomination with an increase in applications, so we’re hoping new trainees currently in ecclesiastical college will redress the problem,” he said. “This is really an adventure and I hope in my short time here to be able to share in local services and functions such as Remembrance Day, the denomination-shared carol service and helping out at the local British international schools.”
Last Sunday, Rev. Young met 60 of his new parishioners, although the number of those affiliated to St. Andrew’s Church in Lapa is probably over 100. He described his congregation as very “welcoming and receptive”. The Rev. Young added that the helpfulness and friendliness of the Portuguese people have struck him. “They are really lovely and we have been charmed by the way people in shops who don’t speak English have been so kind and patient,” he said. “The other day we were on our way to visit the Gulbenkian and we didn’t know which bus stop to get off at. Three local people got into a conversation to help us and we were really struck by that.”
When he’s not working to serve the local community, the Rev. Young will pursue his hobbies such as countryside walking and photography and hopes to get in a round or two of golf.