The Reverend Sean Swindells has left Newbattle Parish for pastures new in Aberdeenshire after five and a half years in Midlothian.
He officially left his position yesterday (Wednesday).
He said: “Alison and I have family up there. It wasn’t an easy decision to take. I have left a lot of friends behind.
“I have left a parish once before and it almost feels like a bereavement. It’s a very difficult thing to do.
“Youform a close bond with the people you meet – that’s the nature of the work.
“There are lots of good memories. Someof the fundraising things we have done has been a bit off the wall.
“I have a congregation used to seeing their minister covered in mud.
“A couple of folk from the congregation did the Mighty Deer Stalker challenge. They were actually still talking to me after that which was a big surprise!
“It has been challenging but a lot of fun in the process.
“It’s one of the biggest parishes in the Church of Scotland so that certainly made life interesting.
“The folk from Mayfield are brilliant and I will miss Newtongrange . There are lots of positives there. – especially the children’s gala.
“I just want to thank everyone for their support and the way that they have given the impression of appreciation.
“With my sense of humour, they have been really polite.
“I think the area has got a lot going for it. With a very stong core of folk who are very community minded. I don’t think folk there realise how fortunate they are.
“Interesting things happened as well and hopefully we will see the building sorted.
“It’s about what has been achieved by people working together.
“I have tried to work with folk and listened to what they want. So what has been done and what’s happening is not just my ideas it’s generated form what local people wanted.