Sheilagh Kesting

The Very Reverend
Sheilagh Kesting
Moderator of the General Assembly
Church Church of Scotland
In office May 2007 to May 2008
Ordination January 1980
Personal details
Born (1953-06-10) 10 June 1953
Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Education Nicolson Institute
Alma mater University of Edinburgh

Sheilagh Kesting (born 10 June 1953) is a Scottish minister of the Church of Scotland. She served as Moderator of the General Assembly from May 2007 to May 2008. She was the first female minister to be elected Moderator; she was the second woman as a female elder, Alison Elliot, had been elected for the 2004/2005 session. Since 1993, she has been based at the Church of Scotland Offices in Edinburgh as the full-time Secretary of the Church of Scotland Committee on Ecumenical Relations. She retired in September 2016 and was created a Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope Francis in November 2016 in recognition of her exceptional service to the Holy See and as a result of her commitment to ecumenism in Scotland.

Early life and education

Born in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Kesting was educated at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway and at the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated with a BA and a BD.

Ordained ministry

She was probationer for the ministry at St. John's Renfield Church, Glasgow. She then worked for a few months at the Tom Allan Centre, Glasgow, working mainly with homeless women. Her first charge as a Church of Scotland minister was Overtown Parish Church, near Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, from 1980 until 1986. She was then minister at St Andrew’s High Church, Musselburgh, East Lothian until 1993.[1]

She has long held a keen interest and concern for ecumenical relations, leading to her appointment as Secretary to the Committee on Ecumenical Relations in 1993. She was also Secretary to the ecumenical conversations, the Scottish Churches Initiative for Union, the talks with the United Free Church of Scotland which led to the recent signing of a Covenant, the continuing talks with the Free Church of Scotland and is joint secretary of the Joint Commission on Doctrine (of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church).

Her formal style (following the end of her moderatorial year) is the Very Reverend Dr Sheilagh Kesting. She was succeeded as Moderator in May 2008 by the Rev David Lunan.

See also

External links


  1. Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ, Volume XI (pages 36, 184 and 447), T&T Clark Ltd, Edinburgh, 2000, ISBN 0 567 08750 6
Religious titles
Preceded by
Alan McDonald
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Succeeded by
David Lunan
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