Church of Scotland set to ordain first female Asian minister

A former computing teacher is to become the Church of Scotland's first Asian female minister.

Aquila Singh will become the minister at Fernhill and Cathkin Parish Church in Rutherglen. Picture: John Young/YoungMedia

Aquila Singh will be ordained and inducted into Fernhill and Cathkin Parish Church in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, today.

She said she was “delighted” to have been called to her first charge and is excited at the prospect of leading the congregation and working with the local community.

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Pakistan-born Miss Singh moved to Scotland when she was two and said that she was pleased to be able to “break down some misconceptions” about who could be a Kirk minister.

She follows in the footsteps of her paternal grandfather, who was a minister for the American Mission Presbyterian Church in India and helped create a place of worship in Moga, Punjab, in 1934.

Miss Singh, whose uncle was a Christian minister in Lahore, Pakistan, said: “I am still me but God has changed me in subtle ways and has been equipping me with the tools that I will need to serve him.

“I am delighted that Fernhill and Cathkin Parish Church has called me to be their minister and excited to be working with them and the local community.

“I don’t feel like a trailblazer but I like to think that maybe I can break down some misconceptions about who can be a minister.”

Miss Singh worked at Belmont House School in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, before studying for a Bachelor of Divinity honours degree at the University of Glasgow.

Reverend David Black, the minister of Pollokshields Parish Church, encouraged her to attend a ministry candidate conference in Dundee in June 2011.

Since then, she has worked at Govan and Linthouse Church, Langside Church and Newlands South Church in Glasgow, as well as Paisley Abbey in Renfrewshire.

Miss Singh – who is believed to be the Church of Scotland’s first female minister from an ethnic minority – also spent ten weeks as a locum minister in Bettyhill, Sutherland.

Reverend Dr Graham Blount, joint clerk of the presbytery of Glasgow, said: “It is always encouraging to see a new minister take up their first charge.

“Each one brings some-­
thing unique to the life of the church.

“Aquila is well-known and liked in Glasgow presbytery, and we are delighted to see her begin her ministry in Fernhill and Cathkin.”