A DOUBLE celebration is in store for the congregation of Musselburgh Congregational Church this Sunday.

As well as marking the 225th anniversary of the church at Fisherrow, they will also be celebrating the arrival of new minister the Rev Edmonde Openshaw.

She moved to the Honest Toun last week with husband Steve Gill ,who retired after more than 23 years in the RAF, then worked in administration before retraining as a teacher, first in IT but later special educational needs.

Ms Openshaw said: “I grew up in a congregational church on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, where my parents were the pastors and I was ordained in my early twenties.

“Steve and I have lived and worked around England and Scotland, as well as in the Netherlands, France and the Falkland Islands, moving for our work.

“My last position was in the south-west of England, where I was the area minister for the Congregational churches there, most of which were in small rural villages. That was a fixed-term post and included the lockdowns and disruption of Covid-19.”

The couple ran the Falklands seafarers’ mission together and, while in Devon, Steve volunteered in, then managed a church foodbank.

The couple have three adult children. Their older daughter and her husband are farmers in Western Australia.

'It stuck in my head'

Ms Openshaw said: “They moved to their first purchased property at the end of 2021, which was a pretty rundown farm. So from Devon, we went to Australia, and spent just under a year working on the farm and seeing lots of our two grandchildren. We came back to the UK in early August.

“I’d seen the advert for the vacancy with Musselburgh Congregational Church early this year and it stuck in my head and wouldn’t go away. So I explained we were out of the country for several more months but asked if I could apply for the vacancy.

“When the response was positive, it felt right to apply and, as the process unfolded, that sense of rightness has grown steadily, until we’re now arrived.

“We’ve had the warmest of welcomes on our visits to meet the congregation and for me to lead worship, and I am very excited to start to work with the members and become involved in town life here. So if people see me wandering around town, do introduce yourself.”

She said it was “a privilege” to have her first service in her new post as the one to mark the church’s 225th anniversary.

The service starts at 11am.

There will be an exhibition of archives in the church hall, as well as food and refreshments.

Ms Openshaw succeeds the Rev Janice Andrews as minister of the church. She moved back to Ayrshire, where she spent most of her life.

She said a fond farewell to the congregation earlier after 11 years’ service to begin a new part-time ministry with Ardrossan Congregational Church.