Katie takes on a new religious challenge

Those who took part at the reception with the Bishop in his garden – Katie is second on his left.

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Katie Smith, daughter of George and Mairi Christie of Kildonan, has just started her new vocation.

Katie, a former police officer and then full time mum, has a talent for art and craft work and used this to good effect while her children were growing up.

During this period in her life, Katie had a strong calling to become a vicar in the Church of England, which she attended in Herefordshire.

She is following in the footsteps of her grandfather and great grandfather both of whom were Church of Scotland ministers, the latter a missionary based in Aleppo where he founded the first Presbyterian Church.

They would probably have been horrified by this in their lifetimes as both lived in times when women were regarded as ‘helpers’, not leaders, and the Church of England would be a strange choice viewed from their strict Scottish Presbyterian backgrounds.

Undaunted by the four-year training, Katie, a graduate of Reading University, found her previous experience with the police, and work with profoundly disabled young people, very useful.

She took a teaching qualification while in the police and went into schools to represent the police on subjects such as safety on roads with primary school children, cycling and drugs work with the older ones.

During her training Katie learned British Sign Language as she was aware that there were people in the area who used it.  She has already found this useful when taking certain services.

The big event at the end of her training was, of course, her ordination at Herefordshire Cathedral.

This was postponed because of the pandemic and planned for the end of the year when it was thought all would be back to normal.  Her whole family, two sisters and brother (from Canada) with their families and parents George and Mairi planned to come together in Herefordshire for a few days and then some of them to Arran, which they all love – the rest is history.

They were able to watch the ceremony on Herefordshire Cathedral’s website.  It was beautiful, but bitter sweet for those who should have been there.  The Christie Clan meets regularly on Zoom but has not been able to meet each other since last Christmas.  No-one wants to risk bringing a virus to Arran, all are very proud of their sister and daughter and look forward to a big celebration sometime in the future.

                                                                                                                            Mairi Christie

Two of the congregation with Katie.  Her husband and two children were at the service and that made up the maximum allowed to gather in the huge cathedral.