A POPULAR Greenock minister is returning to America after three years serving in his home town.

Reverend Owen Derrick will give his final sermon at Lyle Kirk on Sunday and is leaving to take up a position in Nebraska.

The churchman says he has greatly enjoyed his time back home but is also looking to returning to the United States.

He said: "It's been great being back in my home town, seeing some old familiar faces and being part of the church and community here."

Reverend Derrick became minister at Lyle Kirk in March 2016, moving from America with his wife Dianne and daughter Elianne, who is now 13.

Despite previously spending 16 years in the USA, he is very proud of his Greenock roots and as born and bred in the town and started his church life as a boy at the Mid Kirk, now Wellpark Mid Kirk in Cathcart Square.

Reverend Derrick said he was glad his position at Lyle Kirk gave him the opportunity to serve in his home town after so many years of living abroad.

He said: "It's given me the chance to come home - it was a bit of a surprise, a pleasant one, not just coming back to Scotland but to Greenock.

"I have made a lot of really good friends, I've had really good colleagues and great friends within the congregation, so it's been a great experience.

"I think the local community has so much potential.

"There is potential for growth in Inverclyde and to work together to make Inverclyde a better place both inside and outside the church.

"There are so many opportunities to make it a place that is really thriving."

While the minister admits he has mixed feelings about leaving he is looking forward to the future.

Reverend Derrick has accepted a call to be pastor of The First Presbyterian Church in Tekamaha, Nebraska.

This has brought him full circle, as he started his ministry in the mid-western state.

He told the Telegraph: "I am looking forward to returning to Nebraska as that is where my ministry started.

"I wish the congregation of Lyle Kirk, and all those who have supported the congregation in its ministry to the community, every blessing for the future, and thank them for the opportunity and privilege of being their minister."

* Sunday's service will take place at Newark Street at 10.30am, all are welcome.