Church of Scotland appoint Rev Susan Brown as new moderator
Rev Susan Brown, minister of Dornoch Cathedral in the Highlands, will take on the year-long role at the Kirk’s General Assembly in May 2018.
The 58-year-old, who will succeed incumbent the Right Rev Dr Derek Browning, said she is “deeply moved and honoured” to be chosen for the role.
She will be the fourth woman to hold the title.
“I’m grateful to all those who paved the way for me and other women to follow a calling to ministry,” she said.
“Along the way I have been faced with some people who find it difficult to accept a woman minister, but my belief is that everyone has their own story and I just let people have their stories as I get on with my story.
“I am passionate about being a minister and I happen to be a woman.”
Mrs Brown said she will make her theme for the year “walking alongside people”.
During her year as moderator in 2018-19 she will act as the Kirk’s ambassador, preaching at special events and meeting faith leaders and dignitaries in Scotland and abroad.
She will also take part in the centenary commemorations to mark the end of the First World War.
“In looking back on this milestone anniversary, we need to let the past remind us of the huge toll war exacts and we need to learn from the experience of those young men and women who paid a price beyond asking,” she said.
Mrs Brown grew up in Penicuik, Midlothian, where her father was a miner at the Bilston Glen colliery.
She brings 32 years of experience as a Highlands minister to the role.
Her first parish as a fully-fledged minister was at Killearnan on the Black Isle, near Inverness, where she spent 13 years before moving to the 13th century Dornoch Cathedral.
She is best known as the minister who presided over pop queen Madonna’s marriage to Mr Ritchie in 2000 and baptised their son Rocco.
In 2011, she also became one of only a few ministers to be appointed as a Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen.
Mrs Brown is married to Derek Brown, the chaplain at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and lead chaplain for NHS Highland, and the couple have two adult children.
Rev Dr George Whyte, principal clerk of the Church, said: “I was delighted to hear of Susan’s nomination.
“She brings great personal qualities and a wide range of ministerial, community and family experience to the post. I look forward to working with her throughout the year.”