A BARRHEAD woman who previously worked as a dentist in the town has been ordained as a Church of Scotland minister.

The Reverend Gillean Richmond, whose home church is Neilston Parish Church, has been appointed to provide spiritual guidance at two churches in South Ayrshire.

The 47-year-old, who was born and raised in Barrhead, will be the locum minister at Troon Old Parish Church and Portland Parish Church, which is also in the town.

The mum-of-three was ordained at a service at the latter church earlier this month in front of family, friends, colleagues and members of the two congregations, as well as people who attend nearby St Meddans Parish Church.

The Rev Richmond, who will divide her time between the two congregations equally, said: “It was a tremendous evening and the buzz in the very full halls was absolutely amazing and very uplifting.”

The newly ordained minister is married to Pete and has three young sons.

Prior to entering the ministry, she worked as a dentist and latterly as a children’s and youth worker at St Nicholas Parish Church in Prestwick.

Her probation was undertaken at St Columba Parish Church in Ayr.

Like all Church of Scotland presbyteries, Ayr Presbytery is in the process of developing a mission plan which will determine how limited resources are allocated to congregations over a five-year period.

Under the proposals, the three churches in Troon will unite to form a new single congregation which will be served by a team ministry of two.

The Rev Richmond has admitted that the Church’s national programme of reforms has meant that her first post is not what she expected it to be when she first sensed her calling but says she is optimistic about the future of the church in the Ayrshire town.

“I hope it is able to find a way forward and see that the future is quite bright despite the uncertainty,” she added.

“Members have a tremendous opportunity to come together and work in collaboration to create something quite special and be the church in new ways.

“It is very positive for them even though it might not feel like that at the moment.”