Highlands & Islands

Church of Scotland ordains first female minister on Skye

Janet Easton-Berry Image copyright Konrad Welz/Church of Scotland/PA
Image caption Janet Easton-Berry's appointment has been described as "significant" by the Church of Scotland

A former game reserve worker from South Africa has become the first woman to be ordained as a Church of Scotland minister on Skye.

Janet Easton-Berry, 53, will lead congregations in Bracadale and Duirinish.

Her career in the past has included working among elephants, lions and rhinos on several game reserves in Kwazulu-Natal Province.

She was also a social worker on Mull and a probationer minister in Aberdeen.

Ms Easton-Berry originally moved to the UK in 2000 to work as a social worker in London.

Image copyright Konrad Welz/Church of Scotland/PA
Image caption Ms Easton-Berry feeding a rhino at a game reserve in South Africa

She studied theology part-time at the University of the Highlands and Islands' Highland Theological College in Dingwall while working as a community social worker on Mull.

Ms Easton-Berry was working as a probationer minister in Aberdeen until last year. The role on Skye is her first full-time position with the Church of Scotland.

She said: "I am inspired by faith and very much looking forward to getting to know and serve the community.

"Being a minister is the best job in the world because it is such a privilege to walk alongside people and hear their stories."

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Bracadale on Skye

She added: "I have worked in different fields but skills are transferable, so I carry what I have learned with me which will help me in my ministry."

The Reverend David Kellas, moderator of the Presbytery of Lochcarron and Skye, described the move as a "significant development" for the church.

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