Holy Trinity’s new minister with a big vision

Rev Russell McLarty, minister Holy Trinity, St Andrews
Rev Russell McLarty, minister Holy Trinity, St Andrews

Stepping in to guide the congregation of Holy Trinity church is a new minister with a big vision.

The interim moderator position at the iconic central St Andrews church has been taken up by Reverend Russell McLarty who has an enthusiasm for the future of the church almost big enough to fill the vast space inhabited by Holy Trinity.

The huge central vestry overlooked by vibrant stained glass window has massive potential, so says Reverend Russell McLarty. “Interim Ministry is an opportunity to explore the possibilities and see what can be done, a chance to dream dreams.”

An architect prior to his ministry training Rev McLarty has a passionate interest in church buildings and how they can be used to their best potential.

“There are so many ideas I have to put to the congregation about how we can develop the space we have for all the different groups and people we have using this church, but ultimately it will be up to them.”

Throwing ideas around such as a circular worship area, a cafe and a mezzanine level it is clear that despite the temporary nature of the posting, Rev McLarty is serious about rolling his sleeves up and getting involved.

“I have been here for five weeks and already visited 40 homes.

“It’s important that although we are looking at the potential of this beautiful church, all of the congregation feel included and we retain the character.”

Rev McLarty is keen to use the ideas he has amassed from years of interim ministry across Scotland to reimagine the space at Holy Trinity, utilising the diversity of the hall.

“Having the benefit of seeing lots of different churches in action, I’ve got lots of ideas, such as creating social spaces, drawing on inspiration from St Giles in Edinburgh where the pews are removed to create a more circular worship space.

“Ultimately this is a great opportunity but the decisions lie with the congregation first and foremost.”

As part of his posting - which will last 18-24 months - Rev McLarty shares the ministry of Boarhills and Dunino churches, a link which he wants to foster for the better of all the congregations. He said: “The linkage between Holy Trinity and Boarhills & Dunino is very important.

“There are good relationships at the moment and positive ways that can be developed.”

Reverend McLarty has worked in various congregations including Muirhouse St Andrew’s, St Andrew’s and St George’s West in the city centre and the village of Balerno in Edinburgh. He said: “For 21 years I was parish minister in St Paul’s in the East End of Glasgow which included some of the most disadvantaged communities in Scotland.

‘‘In that parish I was chair of an ambitious community arts project which resulted in some brilliant work including a youth led community radio station (BOLT FM) still operating successfully from the church after over 10 years. Other highlights were overseas exchange programmes with The Gambia and Zambia, a community drug support project and prison chaplaincy in HMP Barlinnie.

“One of my big interests is in storytelling where as an accredited storyteller of The Scottish Storytelling Forum I have led events and workshops for all kinds of church and community groups.”