A THANKSGIVING service celebrating a well-known church minister who died last week takes place on Saturday.

The Rev Jennifer Macrae, who had been a familiar face at St Mary’s Parish Church in Haddington for more than a decade, passed away last Friday.

The Very Rev Dr John Cairns had been interim moderator at the church, on the town’s Sidegate, and will continue in the role, while being supported by a number of retired ministers who are members of the congregation.

He said: “She has been a remarkable minister in Haddington.

“She was somebody who was not only hugely respected and loved by the congregation there but ministers throughout the Church of Scotland.

“She has also been quite a remarkable trainer of probationer ministers, who have come and all have paid tribute in how much she has helped them in the ministry, which is a great credit to her.”

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Mrs Macrae is held at the church at 2pm on Saturday.

READ MORE: The Rev Jennifer Macrae - an appreciation

Jan Wilson, chairwoman of Haddington and District Community Council, also paid tribute to the minister.

She said: “It is just such sad news. She was just a lovely person and she was so helpful with the community council.

“Our condolences go to her family at this difficult time for them.

“She was also just so nice when you met her and was great with the kids, the Haddington Festival and such like.”

The Rev David Scott, moderator of Lothian Presbytery, described Mrs Macrae as “a very diligent member of Lothian Presbytery”.

He said: “During her ministry at St Mary’s she was elected Moderator of the Presbytery and, more recently, had been the Convener of the Ministry Committee.

“She was particularly skilled at mentoring students and probationers, building their confidence and bringing their vocation to fruition.

“Jennifer’s great gift was one of friendship – getting alongside others, building bridges, encouraging the less able and the more able in equal measure, sharing her life and love honestly and humbly with charm and good humour.

“We have lost a hardworking presbyter, an excellent parish minister and a delightful friend.”

East Lothian MSP Iain Gray also paid tribute and said: “My membership of the St Mary’s family is of great importance to me and it was Jennifer who brought me back to the church, and my faith, after many years.

“She is the best minister I have ever known, but more than that was a wonderful, caring person.

“This is a devastating loss for St Mary’s, for Haddington, but above all for Stuart and Jennifer’s family.”

Provost of East Lothian and Haddington and Lammermuir ward councillor John McMillan wrote a tribute to Mrs Macrae which can be read here.

His fellow ward councillors Brian Small, Shamin Akhtar and Tom Trotter also offered their condolences.

Mr Small said: “I was saddened to hear of the passing of Rev Macrae.

“I know she will be missed by so many family, friends and community members.”

Mrs Akhtar said: "The passing away of Jennifer is really sad news for the county.

"I knew her when she became the chairwoman of the East Lothian Education Trust. Her commitment and passion to fighting inequality and poverty came through really strongly at the meetings and that is what she will be remembered for."

Mr Trotter added: “Jennifer was a really nice person and good servant to the community over the years.

“It was a bit of shock to hear she was not well initially and tragic to hear it turned out the way it has.”

The Rev John Vischer, minister at Haddington’s West Church, also offered his condolences to her family and the congregation.

He said: “She was a respected colleague whose ministry in Haddington and Lothian Presbytery was profound, challenging and widely appreciated.

“In the time we served the church here together, I came to know her as a warm-hearted, circumspect and very approachable person with a great and natural aptitude for her job.”