New Church of Scotland Moderator installed
Reverend Lorna Hood has spoken of the "honour and privilege" of becoming the new Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
She was installed at the start of the General Assembly in Edinburgh today.
Addressing the Assembly, she paid tribute to her predecessor the Reverend Albert Bogle for maintaining the profile of the Church in society and the media.
"You have not been reticent on speaking out on social and political issues," she said. "The Church offers you and [wife] Martha heartfelt thanks for a good job well done."
Mrs Hood also took a moment to reassure Bogle over the loss of a historic cross and the Moderatorial gold ring at Edinburgh Airport last month.
Despite a substantial reward being offered, neither object has been returned.
The ring has traditionally been passed on to each successive Moderator but during the installation today, Bogle quipped "gold and silver I do not have", referring to Acts 3.
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Addressing Bogle personally, Mrs Hood said: "I know how deeply you have been troubled by the disappearance of the ring and the cross - you have tortured yourself. Not one person in this General Assembly has not felt for you over that, but we also want to say now, don't let it mar what has been a wonderful year. They can be replaced - and they will - but your memories and the work you did on behalf of the Church, they are quite unique, thank you."
Mrs Hood went on to say how "overwhelmed" she had been by the promises of prayer she had received from people from around the world since being nominated as Moderator.
"Such an assurance is so uplifting as well as making me feel very, very humble," she said.
"At the General Assembly let us pray for one another, let us pray for one another in all that will happen, in all that will transpire this year, and let us ask for God's blessing to be with us."
Mrs Hood, originally from Kilmarnock, is a Queen's Chaplain and has served on various committees in the Church of Scotland.
In 2001 she was appointed a General Trustee and is presently Vice Convener of the Assembly Arrangements Committee and Vice Convener of the Business Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.