THE first ever double ordination of a husband and wife as ministers of the Church of Scotland will be held at a very special service on the Black Isle today (Saturday).
Susan Cord and her husband of 12 years, James Bissett, will both formally become reverends during the service at Knockbain Church in Munlochy at 2pm.
Mrs Cord will also be inducted as the full-time minister for the linked charge of Killearnan and Knockbain churches, which has been vacant for three years. Mr Bissett will become an ordained local minister, working directly on a part-time voluntary basis for the Presbytery of Ross.
They have also planned that they will both take part in Mrs Cord’s first Sunday services in Knockbain and Killearnan tomorrow.
The couple have already settled in the manse outside North Kessock and Mr Bissett believes the ordination is a first in the history of the Church of Scotland.
“It is certainly unique for a husband and wife to be ordained as Church of Scotland ministers at the same time,” said Mr Bissett.
“We also don’t think there has ever been a double ordination before.”
The couple, who are both 40 and from Cowdenbeath, met online and worked together at the Scottish Land Register in Edinburgh.
Mr Bissett explained his wife first had the calling to the ministry and undertook three-year training in Edinburgh. His calling also became stronger and they finished their probationary period – hers in Dalgetty Bay and his in Kirkcaldy – within a short time of each other.
“It has been a fantastic journey so far, it has been really good to have Susan as a companion in this as we really work well together,” he said.
He explained his wife was called to her new charge by the congregation after answering an advert and visiting the churches in September.
“The congregation has been vacant for a few years,” he said.
“It is a time of uncertainty with quite a few vacant churches.”
Mr Bissett says he now has ambitions to get a “real job”, while continuing his distance learning studies through the Highland Theological College UHI in Dingwall and carrying out his part-time ministerial duties.
“We’ve only ever visited on holiday and now we have a feel for the place we love the area,” said Mr Bissett.
“It’s funny, we used to stop off at Tesco in Inverness to get our camping supplies while on holiday, now it is our local shop.”
Mrs Cord has described the prospect of a two-minister household as “pretty cool”.
Killearnan and Knockbain’s locum minister, Rev James Munro gave his final service last Sunday.
The ordination and induction service will be followed by a social event in Munlochy Village Hall.
A statement from the Ross Presbytery said: “The people of Killearnan and Knockbain are looking forward to having Mrs Cord as a full-time minister after three years of vacancy. Mr Bissett will be working for the presbytery on a part-time voluntary basis.”