Son follows his ex-Edinburgh minister dad into the Kirk pulpit

A former camera operator from Edinburgh has followed in his father’s footsteps and become a Church of Scotland minister.

Like father, like son: Rev Matthew Ritchie
Like father, like son: Rev Matthew Ritchie

Rev Matthew Ritchie was ordained and inducted into Neilston Parish Church in East Renfrewshire on Wednesday evening in front of a small group of family and friends.

More than 100 people watched the service live online as the 35-year-old, who grew up in a manse, took his place as the congregation’s new spiritual leader.

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Mr Ritchie said his late father Rev Andrew Ritchie, who served Craiglockhart Parish Church from 1991-2011, would have been a “wee bit surprised” but "very proud" that he has chosen to serve the Kirk in this way.

“It is an honour to be ordained to the ministry in Neilston and although COVID-19 regulations made it a small event, I was glad that my family could be there and that so many people watched online,” he added.

“Although things are somewhat more complicated because of the pandemic, I believe that God is none the less present with us and has great plans for the church and for the village.”

Mr Ritchie attended George Watson’s College and after he left school he spent a gap year as a youth worker in South Carolina in the USA and it was during that time that he first felt the call to ministry.

Before undergoing his training, he worked as freelance camera operator, producing corporate and promotional videos and covered weddings, for about nine years.

He has also had jobs in care homes, offices and call centres.

Married to Natasha with whom he has two children, Sarah, 4, and Adam, 6, Mr Ritchie enjoys camping, model building, science fiction and fantasy and volunteers as a scout leader.

He said: “We often talk about the church in terms of doom and gloom but I think that as we approach the end of 2020 there is fantastic opportunity.

"Growing up in a manse, I have been aware of the demands and joys of ministry and now being ordained into my own charge and with my younger brother Ewan training for ministry too, it seems like things have come somewhat full circle.

“I look forward to what the coming years bring."

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