Minister appointed university chaplain


East Neuk minister, the Rev Dr Donald MacEwan, has been appointed as the new chaplain of St Andrews University.

At present minister of the centuries old Auld Kirk in St Monans and Largoward Church, Dr MacEwan was born in 1970 and was brought up on the south side of Glasgow.

A graduate of Aberdeen University, he taught English in Japan for two years before studying for the ministry at Edinburgh University.


He was later appointed to an assistantship in Elgin and this was followed by a further period of study in Dublin. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Maya, who is an archivist in the St Andrews University Library’s Special Collections Department.

Since 2001 he has been Church of Scotland minister in Largoward and St Monans where he has become a popular and respected figure.

He told the Citizen: ”These have been wonderful years, getting to know the communities, sharing with all ages, accompanying people in the significant times in their lives and trying to make the Christian faith real for people today.”

Also a keen sportsman, Dr MacEwan relaxes by playing golf, badminton and tennis, while he and his wife enjoy travelling off the beaten track, having visited Laos, Belarus and Iran in recent years.

He added:”It will be a wrench leaving the communities and churches of St Monans and Largoward.”

His final Sunday services will be on August 28, at 10am in St Monans and at noon in Largoward. Both will be all-age services and everyone is welcome.

Dr MacEwan is due to take up his new prestigious appointment as university chaplain on September 1 where he will be responsible for worship, pastoral care and managing an ecumenical and multi-faith chaplaincy for the whole university community, both students and staff.


Speaking about his new role, he added:”I hope to be seen as someone who is approachable, helpful and supportive.”

One of the many new tasks facing Dr MacEwan will be his involvement in the university’s 600th anniversary celebrations and he will be playing an important role in the religious and chapel-based programme associated with the event and in devising new initiatives for engaging with staff and students as the institution enters its seventh century of service.

As chaplain, Dr MacEwan will be assisted by a multi-faith chaplaincy team, which he will lead. As well as fostering the religious life of the world-renowned university, he will work closely with Student Services to co-ordinate particular areas of practical support offered to students.

He will succeed the Rev Dr Jamie Walker, who recently received the University Medal, one of the most prestigious honours the institution can bestow in recognition of his exceptional and dedicated service. He is retiring after 18 years in the post.

Born in Malawi, Dr Walker came to St Andrews with broad experience. Educated in philosophy and divinity at Edinburgh University - having earned a DPhil from Oxford, been ordained in the Church of Scotland and principal of Queen’s College, Birmingham, an ecumenical centre of training for ministry - he had already acquired a perspective that spanned both the academy and the church.