Rev. Hugh Ferrier has become the first ever minister of the High Free Church in Stornoway, after the 28-year-old accepted a unanimous call to pastor the Isle of Lewis Free Church of Scotland congregation at a meeting of the Western Isles Presbytery.
The new Stornoway church was formed after a meeting in June 2013, when 200 members of a Church of Scotland congregation voted to leave the denomination over the way it handled the issue of gay clergy.
The date of his induction was expected to be set at a meeting of the Presbytery on Wednesday 30 September. Mr Ferrier was previously minister of Thurso and North Coast Free Church, to which he was inducted in 2012.
The Caithness congregation has seen much blessing during Mr Ferrier’s ministry, including seven new members — two by profession of faith — last year.
The High Free Church regularly attracts around 300 people in Stornoway Primary School. A spokesman for it said the Kirk Session and congregation were ‘truly grateful to God for his goodness in providing a minister for us’.
He said, ‘As we continue to look to the Lord, we look forward with expectant hearts and that we will surround Hugh with love, prayer and support’.
Mr Ferrier grew up in Alness, attending Invergordon Academy, where, during his final year at high school, Church of Scotland ministers Rob Jones and Ronald Morrison used to take Mr Ferrier on placement each Wednesday in their congregations.
He then studied at St Andrews University, where he graduated with a degree in Biblical Studies, before a further three years at the Free Church College in Edinburgh. During his time as a Free Church student, he had placements at Leith, Barvas, Helmsdale, Thurso and other north coast congregations.