Rev Dr Martin Richie

PhD at the School of Divinity. Now a Church of Scotland minister

How did you get your current job?

I was just ordained as a Church of Scotland minister after a training period of over 5 years, part of which included undertaking a PhD at New College. Becoming a minister is not like other jobs in that you and the church try to work out whether God is calling you to the role!


What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I love being part of peoples' faith journeys and helping to catalyse connection with God. I'm also passionate about parish ministry - it's about the church being at the heart of the wider community as well as the local congregation.


How are you using the skills and/or knowledge developed during your PhD in your career?

My PhD was about the experience of worship in the early reformed Church of Scotland from 1559-1617. Exploring the richness of the worship experience in those days is an inspiration for encouraging rich, vibrant and deep worship in the church today.


What experience do you feel helped you get you where you are now?

My time at New College was hugely formative, and I had the chance to go on study trips with other ministry students to Jerusalem, Rome, and to follow the trail of Luther in Germany. Those brought new dimensions to exploring the roots and development of Christianity.


Reflecting back on your learning path what decisions did you make and how?

The route to work as a ministry was already decided when I started at New College, but I was competitive for the particular parish job that I ended up in thanks to the experience of my PhD research. I hadn't intended to do a PhD when I started training, but the opportunity arose, so I pursued it. Stay open to the possibilities!


What advice would you offer to students who want to get into your area of work?

Discuss it with your church friends. Go to meet people who are working as ministers, and get as much experience of working in the parish as you can. Then you'll know that it's for you and make good contacts that will help you to explore it further. The Church of Scotland runs two conferences each year for "enquirers" - people wondering about whether becoming a minister is for them. Check out the Church of Scotland website for more information.


What general advice would you offer students making career decisions today?

Get yourself out there, take chances to experience as much as you can. Opportunities flow from being proactive.


What is your best memory of your time at New College?

Wild ceilidh dancing with my wife in the Rainy Hall during Welcome Week each year - we first set eyes on each other at a New College ceilidh in 2013.