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The following article was produced by Cameron Brooks who is the Senior Media Relations Officer for the Church of Scotland prior to Neil Watson’s Ordination on Thursday 5th October 2017 at Belhaven Parish Church.

A former civil servant is following in his father's footsteps and becoming a Church of Scotland minister. Neil Watson is being ordained and inducted into Belhaven Parish Church in Dunbar, linked with nearby Spott Parish Church, in East Lothian on Thursday (Oct 5) at 7pm. His father, Rev Mike Watson, locum minister at Cockenzie and Port Seton: Chalmers Memorial Parish Church, said he and his wife Jacqui were "extremely proud" of him.

The service will be led by Rev David Scott, minister of the Parish of Traprain and Moderator of Lothian Presbytery. Neil Watson, 35, who is married to Elizabeth, said his dad, also a former civil servant who was ordained as an Ordained Local Minister in 2013, was a great role model and inspiration to him.

"I am excited about my new role and my passion is to see God moving in the Lothians, and ultimately our entire nation," he added. "I hope to inspire and lead people to a closer and deeper relationship with God, through Jesus, and to help those that want to see their lives transformed by that relationship. "I truly believe that transformed people can transform society and nations. "I can think of no better way of ushering in more of the Kingdom by seeking to be more like Jesus."

Mr Watson, a gifted musician who attended Dalkeith High School, worked for Historic Scotland for 10 years, latterly as a project manager in the office of the chief executive. He holds a Bachelor of Divinity with honours degree from New College in Edinburgh and did his probation at Gorebridge Parish Church. Mr Watson, a Heart of Midlothian fan who owns a Jack Russell called Rudi, completed placements at churches in Loanhead, Musselburgh and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

"As much as I like project management, I felt I was moving further away from doing things that I felt were impacting on people," he said. "While I didn't see it at the time, all my life experiences have been training me for what I am about to step into. "Whether that is the opportunity to use my musical gifts, leading teams or drawing on my administration and project management skills. "It will all hold me in good stead."

Mr Watson Snr, who worked as a civil servant for 36 years, is a former session clerk at St John's in Kings Park Church in Dalkeith. He will “preach in” his son at his first service as a parish minister on Sunday. (Oct8) Mr Watson Snr said: "As Neil's Dad and friend, it was a joy and an honour to share his journey into ministry from Enquiry and Discernment right through to his ordination. "Both his Mum and I are extremely proud of him and all that he has achieved in his life to date. "We are prayerfully looking forward to him fulfilling God's call on his life to ministry in the parishes of Belhaven and Spott."

Asked if he had any advice for his son, Mr Watson said he would encourage him to "keep grounded" in Scripture, prayer and preach the Gospel. "I have told him to be approachable and love his parishioners, put an arm round them if they need it and be there for them. "Being a Church of Scotland minister is best job I have ever done. "I say job loosely because it is a way of life."

John D McCulloch, Clerk to the Presbytery of Lothian, said all members were delighted to welcome Mr Watson. "We are very pleased that Neil has answered the call to ministry in East Lothian and are looking forward to praying and celebrating with him at his ordination and induction," he added. "I know he will bring huge energy and warmth to his work."

Along with our linked Parish of Belhaven, Spott Parish Church has had a vacancy for the role of Minister.
 
 
The process to select and appoint a new Minister is laid down in Church of Scotland law.  
 
This process begins by setting up a nominating committee.The role of the nominating committee is to select just one person and to nominate them for the role of Minister.
 
The next stage is for the person who is nominated to preach at the church and, immediately after this service, for the congregation to vote whether to accept or not accept the person concerned as their new minister.  After the vote, the nominee is told the result and asked whether he or she will accept the role.
 
The good (/ wonderful /amazing /exciting) news is that we have worked through this process and have invited Neil Watson to be the new Minister of the linked Parishes of Spott and Belhaven.  We are really looking forward to working with Neil on the next stage of our exciting journey.
 
We are not quite finished yet however!
 
The final part of the Church of Scotland process for inviting a new Minister to take up their post as Minister is “the call”.  This is a statement inviting the new minister to take up the post.  The really important thing is that this “Call” is signed by as many members of the congregation (and other regular attendees) as possible.
 
To allow this to happen, the Call will be made available immediately after the Service in Spott on Sunday 10th September 2017, from 10.40 to 11.00 am, and on Wednesday 13th September 2017 between 10.00 and 11.00. 
 
 
 If you cannot make it on these occasions but want to sign the call to support the appointment of Neil as our Minister, please contact your elder or one of the church officers.
 

After hearing Neil Watson preach at Spott and Belhaven, the congregations at each church were given the opportunity to vote for or against electing Neil to be their new minister.

The result of this election was as below.

 

 

The congregation are really excited by this very positive outcome and look forward to working with Neil.