Last year, the Bracadale and Portree Free Church congregations in Scotland officially welcomed John Caldwell as their new ministry assistant.
A commissioning service was held in Carbost Free Church on Thursday 30 October, and Mr Caldwell preached his first service on Sunday morning in the Bracadale congregation.
It is a bi-vocational role, because the 34-year-old will continue as a religious education teacher for two-and-a-half-days, while working three days for the Free Church during the year-long appointment.
As well as taking Sunday morning services in the Carbost and Struan areas, Mr Caldwell will be responsible for developing some of the midweek meetings and strengthening links with the local communities.
He said, ‘My desire is to strengthen the church and reach the community. Given that Bracadale has been vacant for a few years, the most pressing need is for a consistent preaching and pastoral ministry. This new bi-vocational arrangement has the potential to meet that need.
‘My hope is that regular, Christ-saturated preaching will, first and foremost, strengthen the church and, secondly, inspire, equip and mobilise the church for local mission’.
Originally from Renfrewshire, Mr Caldwell spent most of his childhood and teenage years living in Barrhead. He was converted in 1999, after hearing the gospel preached in a small Brethren hall in Paisley, but was also thankful for his grandfather’s witness to him as a child. John described his grandfather as having a sincere faith and ‘real prayer life’.
He became active in Christian service quickly, and his preaching and teaching gifts began to emerge within a few years. He has been preaching and teaching the Bible, in a variety of contexts, for a decade.
Mr Caldwell is married to Laura, with two children, Ethan, six, and Caleb, four. The family relocated from Paisley to the Isle of Skye in July 2010, when John took up a teaching post in Portree High School.