New Member, Rev Ian Stirling
Ian, originally from Dumfries, first attended New College at the University of Edinburgh in 1986, where he focussed on the New Testament gaining a degree in 1989. After a probationary year in Edinburgh at St Andrew’s and St George’s church where he had the privilege of meeting many inspirational people including, Lord George MacLeod, founder of the Iona Community, and Lady Mary Davidson, organiser of the largest booksale in Scotland in aid of Christian Aid. Ian’s first church was Cowie linked with Plean just on the outskirts of Stirling, where he served from 1990-1994, and when he wasn’t preaching on a Sunday would enjoy kicking a football about with the local amateur team.
Thereafter Ian moved to Castlehill church in Ayr where he served for 8 years, chaplain to various schools in Ayr and particularly enjoyed his engagement with World Mission department which gave him the opportunity to travel to various places around the world on behalf of the church, including to Leprosy hospitals in Nepal, and to refugee camps on the Israel / Lebanon border. After eight years Ian shifted into hospice chaplaincy with the Ayrshire Hospice. There, for over a decade he was privileged to meet people at a time when they face some of the deepest challenges of life and often are exploring what really matters in life. During his time with the hospice he enjoyed developing spiritual care, gained an MSC in Health Science, and locally advocated for the creation of a Garden Room, a spiritual space for all patients, families, staff and volunteers. Ian also helped develop the bereavement care service and been involved in national and European initiatives in spiritual care.
After fourteen years in the hospice Ian was looking to new horizons and is discovering a renewed energy and enthusiasm for life and spiritual wellbeing since recently taken up the job of minster at the beautiful churches of Fisherton and Kirkoswald and hopes to encourage a vision of building compassionate communities, and enhancing the health and wellbeing of everyone in the church and in the community.
Ian had his spell playing competitive sport, amateur football, rugby most recently with Millbrae RFC, and running numerous 10kms but age has now taken its toll. Most of his relaxation is spent in the garden, or cycling round the quieter roads of South Ayrshire and he is now looking to get out on a golf course and lower his handicap as time allows. He really enjoys being in his garden pottering away at creating a wildlife zone, or digging a new pond and watching the dragonflies and frogs make their homes there. Keen to support the development of Ecocongregations, Ian is following in his father’s footsteps into the outdoors, having studied Ecological Science at the Darwin Building in Edinburgh. This has instilled a deep appreciation of the wonderful world and a desire always to care for creation.
In addition, Ian is currently studying for a Professional Doctorate at the University of Glasgow looking at ‘shaping silences’ in pastoral and palliative care.
Ian met his wife Mandy as a student in Edinburgh and they have been together almost thirty years. They enjoy spending time together, following the Glasgow Warriors rugby team, walking the shore at Culzean, or the St Cuthbert Way, and have three children, Nicola, now a doctor herself, in Edinburgh, James just graduating this week from Edinburgh and now setting out to become a primary school teacher, and Benjamin, who is pursuing his studies in Business at Heriot Watt University.
For many years Ian has been aware of the great work that the Rotary undertakes, including the Coastal Path, Shelter Boxes etc and all the quality people connected with Rotary, so at this crossroads in his life he is keen to make time to commit to the Rotary Club of Ayr and hopes to discover deep and lasting friendship.