Prestonpans is getting ready to bid farewell to the minister of Prestongrange Parish Church as he prepares to retire after nearly a decade’s service in the town.

The Rev Kenneth Donald, who grew up in Milton, Glasgow, has previously led congregations in Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes, Aberdeen, East Wemyss and also Kincardine.

A singer-songwriter who recorded a song for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021 to call for action on global warming, he has also worked with the homeless in Edinburgh’s Cowgate.

It was during his time in Edinburgh that he became aware of a vacancy at Prestongrange Parish Church.

He said: “I was looking for another minister post and God brought the advertisement to my attention!

“I was on Princes Street one afternoon and there was a bus to Prestonpans – it came as a confirmation of the place I was going.”

Mr Donald, 68, said that, though he and his wife Moira will miss the town and church, he needed to spend more time with his family.

“For the past nine years, we have been privileged to live and serve in this area,” he wrote in his Courier Crossing Point column last week.

“It is sometimes said that ‘Home is where the heart is’ and, in many ways, part of our heart will remain here as we think of those we have met and ministered to in church and community. We have rejoiced in the way that God is at work in lives being changed in the discovery of the gospel which speaks of a loving Father sending his only Son to be our Saviour and friend.”

Chatting to the Courier this week, he said: “I feel that we should give more time to family – my wife and I have seven grandchildren that we don’t see on a regular basis.”

It would be nice, he said, to spend more time at his family home in Dunfermline and have a break and potential holiday to look forward to.

When asked about keeping the church relevant to the community, Mr Donald was adamant about sticking to the “basics”.

He said: “The thing we have to put emphasis on is the basics – good Bible teaching and praying.”

And he admitted that there would be much he would miss once his time in East Lothian comes to an end.

“The people, the regular contact, the relationships that have grown over the years – they are precious,” he stressed.

“Not just the church, but the community too.”

Chris Dixon, elder at Prestongrange Parish Church, said: “Ken has served the people of Prestongrange and Prestonpans with love, care and kindness.

“His prayerful ministry pointed others to Jesus as saviour and lord, as well as the one who is working to transform our lives and communities.

“His faithful preaching of the Bible encouraged a deeper understanding of God’s word and commitment to the church.

“Many have been challenged by his passion for the good news of Jesus and are thankful for his practical and spiritual generosity.

“All those at Prestongrange wish him a joyful and fruitful retirement.”

DJ Johnston-Smith, chair of Prestonpans Community Council, said: “The community council has enjoyed working with Rev Donald many times during his tenure at Prestongrange, most notably assisting with the repair, maintenance and upgrading of the kirk’s historic clock, a beloved feature of our townscape.

“We wish him well in his well-earned retirement after nine years of tremendous service to our community.”

Mr Donald finishes his ministry at Prestonpans later this month; the Rev Robin Hill, of Longniddry Parish Church, has been appointed as interim moderator of the church until a successor is selected.