New church minister inducted online due to Covid-19 restrictions

A hundred people watched Alastair Duncan's installation oline(Photo: Church of Scotland)

A hundred people tuned in online to watch a church minister be inducted to his new role at a landmark Glasgow church.

Rev Alastair Duncan was installed as the parish minister of St George's Tron during an "unusual" online induction service conducted via the video conferencing platform Zoom.

The service was forced to go digital as the nation remains under lockdown due to coronavirus.

Mr Duncan, 58, who tuned in from home where he is self-isolating with his wife Ruth and son Stuart, admitted the experience of a "virtual induction" was "a strange one". 

"Seeing the faces of all those present, rather than being aware of them somewhere behind me as in a traditional induction service was unusual but not unwelcome," he said. 

The father-of-three has been a Church of Scotland minister for 31 years and spent the last seven years serving as a transition minister at St George's Tron. 

He admitted it was "an odd situation to be in" to be "starting out on a 'new' ministry which isn't new and yet seeking to do so when what I can actually do is constrained within these new limitations".

"But perhaps that calls for more prayer, faith and creativity and less of the frenzy of activity which I at least often succumb to," he said. 

The service was led by Rev Dan Carmichael, Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery, and hosted by Rev Dr Grant Barclay, minister of Orchardhill Parish Church in Giffnock.

Dr Barclay spoke of the sense of togetherness despite the service being completely online.

"We could see Alastair sign the official documents and Dan, our Moderator, led us in relevant prayers and meaningful reflection," he said. 

"For all that we weren't present at St George's Tron, we were undoubtedly together."