On the Feast of Pentecost we welcome the Rev’d John McHale to be assistant priest among us as part of our ministry team here at St. Ninian’s and Christ Church, writes Rev’d Christopher Ketley. May God’s Holy Spirit work powerfully among us as we make Christ present in our communities, and seek to work with God wherever we find the Holy Spirit working.

Many of you will know John already through him providing cover for me when I have been on annual leave. John has written this by way of an introduction:

My experience to date could be summarised in three words: Marine, Monk & Minister. Having been brought up in a devout Catholic farming family in the Midlands, I initially trained with the Royal Marines Band. Once I realised that this would be a great musical opportunity but leave me with no qualifications, I undertook further study and qualified as a teacher.

Rev’d John McHale

Having gained valuable experience, I then tried my vocation, which had always been present, as a Monk in a teaching order. During this period, I came to the difficult realisation that I was a liberal Catholic in a Church which was becoming far less liberal under Pope John Paul II, so I left to resume teaching.

Following a period of reflection, I converted to Anglicanism in 2002 and taught at several Cathedral Schools where I was encouraged (somewhat against my will!) to re – explore a vocation to the Priesthood. This was eventually fulfilled when I was ordained in 2008, having concurrently completed a degree in Theology whilst still teaching.

Although this was somewhat stressful, it was a price worth paying as it finally meant that the two major strands of my life – faith and teaching – were able to come together in the form of School Chaplaincy, which I greatly enjoyed for eleven years before moving to Scotland at the beginning of 2021.

I now look forward to working with you on a more regular basis, building relationships and sharing my experiences with both Churches and with the wider communities in which you are based. In addition, I am excited by the opportunities afforded by technology to engage far more widely than was previously possible as we look to secure the future of our Christian outreach.