The Rev Jennifer Macrae, minister at St Mary's Parish Church, Haddington, for over a decade and a former Moderator of Lothian Presbytery, died on Friday following a battle with cancer. She was 63. Here, Councillor John McMillan, Provost of East Lothian and an Elder at St Mary's, pays tribute to a "constructive, caring and challenging pastor, leader, coach and mentor".

'For the glory of God and the solace of a whole community'

Jennifer, the Rev Jennifer Macrae MA BD, our minister at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington, died on Friday.
Jennifer had been diagnosed with cancer over a year ago and, throughout her fight with the disease, she had openly shared her experience with the congregation keeping us informed of the highs and lows. That was typical of the minister who led quietly, communicated clearly and manifested her calmness and faith in every one of her actions.
A constructive, caring and challenging pastor, leader, coach and mentor, Jennifer added so much to life in St Mary’s, to our community, and to those entering the ministry under her guidance during her time in Haddington.
The Kirk Session and congregation grew in confidence and vision under Jennifer’s guidance too. She stirred us up into action on tidying the building, realising its importance in Scotland’s past and its significant role in our town and county’s present and future.
Jennifer played her part in Presbytery and at national level, always an advocate for our Kirk, making the case for preservation of the building, always concerned for the cost burden on the congregation. I often wondered if St. Mary’s had featured in conversation with Her Majesty when Jennifer spent a weekend in Balmoral, but a diplomatic silence was maintained.
At the General Assembly in 2015, I accompanied Jennifer to the Assembly Hall on the Mound. We took part in the worship, deliberation and engagement in matters of social and national interest, church policy and governance. The theme of that Assembly was “Living Stones”. 
During that week, Jennifer demonstrated exactly what a “Living Stone” was: she gave opinions, met friends, arranged meetings and walked the corridors. 
Perhaps her experience as chaplain to former Moderator Finlay Macdonald added to her presence, but Jennifer’s energy, power and commitment shone through then, as it did every day, and I will remember her faith and commitment as a “living stone” in our community and wider world.
Jennifer often referred to her trip to the Holy Land with the Moderator in sermons, and it had moved her tremendously. The embroidered cloth, a souvenir from that visit, covers the communion table.
A sermon Jennifer preached about “doing or being” also lives with me. No point just doing something without stopping to reflect on whether you are doing right, and no point in stopping to reflect unless you take action to make things better, and act in faith.
Jennifer had immense patience, and with great care and thought always did what was best for St Mary’s. 
She had a long-term vision and a plan and, although sometimes frustrated (and not afraid to show her displeasure with the speed or amount of change), Jennifer led from the front, making the Kirk a warmer and more welcoming place to come and be a member. 
Members of the Kirk Session were always consulted but it would be fair to say that her excellent relationships with Session Clerks were often at the heart of the plan in mutually supportive relationships. They relied on each other.

We will miss Jennifer at services: during Lent, on Maundy Thursday, over Easter, Remembrance, Advent, Christmas. Her sense of duty and faith solemnising the moment whether in the early sunshine of communion on Easter morning or by candlelight on Christmas Eve. 
Local schools, Hilton Lodge and the Day Centre will miss her thoughtfulness and wisdom, as will many individuals. Her winning smile, hearty laughter and sheer joy at harvest lunch or during the fun of the Martimas Fair or a choristers’ performance lit up the church.
Jennifer and her husband Stewart worked tirelessly for the Kirk. It was always intriguing to watch them talk together after a service, probably with ideas to make things better, or do things differently; admiring or checking Stewart’s handiwork or sharing plans particularly for our visitors and the team of Guardians led by Stewart. A real powerhouse, devoted couple.
We know of Jennifer’s love for her daughters Laura and Elaine and her grandchildren: she shared stories of family time, holidays, weddings, birthdays and her concern for them all as a loving mother, grandmother and aunt.
Jennifer’s sister and dad also worshipped in and visited St Mary’s, adding to our sense of Jennifer at the heart of her close family and our wider family in St Mary’s.
Jennifer was born on April 10, 1954 and attended Hillhead Primary and High School before enrolling at Glasgow University for a degree in English and French. Graduating in 1975, Jennifer went on to train at Jordanhill as a primary school teacher and taught for five years at Parkview Primary in Summerston, Glasgow.
After concentrating on bringing up her family, Jennifer decided in 1994 to answer a calling to the church and began her studies for a bachelor of divinity degree at Glasgow.
Ordained in Netherlee in 1998 on the southside of Glasgow, she then took up a position at Kelvinside Hillhead where she spent seven years before moving to St Mary’s in 2007.
On the floor in St Mary’s, at the centre of the kirk, the following words are set in stone, engraved in brass: “For the glory of God and the solace of a whole community.”
Jennifer preached from there, she did glorify God, and she was that solace for so many. Her memory will live on in the stones and also in our hearts.