A FORMER Kilmacolm minister is to become the first clerk of Clyde Presbytery.

Reverend Dr Peter McEnhill, who left the village to take up a post in Rome last year, is returning home to take up his new position in January.

Dr McEnhill spent 12 years as minister at Kilmacolm Old Kirk before becoming minister at St Andrew's Church of Scotland in the Italian capital.

He says he is delighted with his new inaugural role as Clyde Presbytery Clerk.

The new body merges two former presbyteries, Dumbarton and Greenock & Paisley.

Dr McEnhill said: “Returning to Clyde is definitely a kind of welcome homecoming - though it was a wrench to leave Rome.

“Clyde is a new body, charged with a new missional purpose for enlivening the life of the church within its bounds and I hope to play my part in that exciting prospect.

“The river at this point in its course is wide and deep and flowing, pulsating with energy and offering a rich habitat for an abundance of diverse life within its bounds.

“That might be an apt metaphor for what we hope the new Presbytery might be in terms of fostering and nurturing flourishing and diverse communities of faith who will hope to bring the living water of life that is Christ into their parishes.”

The new presbytery is part of a wider plan by the Church of Scotland to reshape the church and make it more suited to the needs of the 21st century.

Dr McEnhill lived in Kilmacolm for many years and his wife Linda is chief executive of Ardgowan Hospice.

During his long church career, he was also minister at Anderston Kelvingrove in Glasgow and director of studies in systematic theology at Westminster College in Cambridge.

He served as clerk to the Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley from 2011-19.

Reverend Dr Alistair Shaw, who is acting as Presbytery Clerk in the interim period, said: “Peter brings to the clerk's role a sharp mind, a deep understanding of church practice and procedure and an ability to think strategically.”

He will join former Greenock minister Reverend Ian Johnson, who is the first moderator of Clyde Presbytery.

Reverend Johnson was the former minister of the Old West Kirk and then Lyle Kirk, following the union with Ardgowan and Finnart St Paul’s, spending a total of 16 years in Greenock.

He has been working alongside the wider team to establish the new Presbytery during a challenging year.

Reverend Johnson said: "Creating any new organisation involves challenges, particularly when the new arises out of a union of two existing ones.

"Doing this during the Covid-19 restrictions has been interesting - having the new technology is so useful, but there are times when face-to-face encounters would help to build new relationships more easily.

“However, things like restrictions on numbers at services and in face-to-face meetings have enabled us to experiment with new ways of doing things.

“This is not simply a union of two ‘old presbyteries’ but a union that will lead to a very different structure, with a different way of operating."