The congregation of Penicuik North Parish Church of Scotland has welcomed the Revered Graham Astles as their new minister.
Reverend Astles, a former IT and management consultant, was previously minister of St Andrews Bo’ness and Jedburgh Old & Trinity,
He replaces Rev Ruth Halley, who moved to a parish in Stirlingshire in October of 2017.
In their search for a new minister, the congregation of Penicuik North said they were seeking a collaborative leader to share and develop their visions of mission and outreach to the local community and beyond.
Mr Astles, who is married to Eunice with two adult sons, says he was attracted to the position in Penicuik by the congregation’s strong sense that it wanted to work across the whole community.
He said: “It is early days yet. The people of Penicuik North are keen to reach out to the community and to bring something of the Kingdom of God into the town.
“How that shapes up, and what form that takes, we can work out together.
“I see my role as being to help the congregation discern what shape the church should be moving towards in the future, particularly in the light of the challenges that we face as a church nationally and the decisions of this year’s Church of Scotland General Assembly.
“How do we reach the community with the Gospel of Jesus as part of the local church within the town and as part of the national church across Scotland?”
There has been worship in the church’s present building in John Street, Penicuik, since 1867.
In 2001, a major refurbishment was carried out there to allow the building to be used by both the church’s congregation and the local community seven days a week.