A Dutch Church of Scotland minister has been appointed to one of Britain’s most prominent chaplaincy posts.
The Reverend Martin Grashoff, minister at Kilcalmonell, Killean and Kilchenzie churches in Kintyre, will take over as chaplain to the UK Oil and Gas Industry on the 1st March 2011.
His predecessor, the Reverend Andrew Jolly MBE, passed away aged 54 last year after losing his battle with cancer.
Mr Grashoff said he was fulfilling a long-held ambition by entering the chaplaincy field: “When I first came into the Church of Scotland I considered this kind of chaplaincy, but then there were no posts available that I would prefer.”
“It will be painful to leave the people in Kintyre, but I’m pretty sure this is where I can serve God's kingdom best.”
His new role will entail being a pastor to workers on the British oil and gas rigs and installations, as well as to their families, and also connecting with the industry onshore and with the churches.
The Dutchman was relishing the new challenge: “Instead of waiting till people come into my church I will have to go out and meet them where they work and live. For me it is a strong and positive challenge to find God out in the world and be lead from there.
“It may seem odd to enjoy going to a “parish” with over 32,000 people, stretching from the Shetlands to the South of England, but I really do enjoy the prospect. I'll be kind of a Flying Dutchman.”
Mr Grashoff’s post will be fully funded by the UK oil and gas industry, through the Aberdeen Oil Industry Chaplaincy Trust.
Reverend Iain McFadzean, director of Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland, congratulated both parties on the appointment: “I look forward to working with Martin and the Aberdeen Oil Industry Chaplaincy Trust
“The oil and gas industry has long recognised the value of chaplaincy in the work place and lead the field of a rapidly growing number of businesses seeking to provide this valuable service to their employees.
“Martin will have a challenging but very rewarding ministry ahead of him. He will have a foundation of respect and openness to chaplaincy built by his predecessors but, I am sure, will bring his own particular style and talents to the post.”
Mr Grashoff will build on the solid base of what his predecessors have achieved in establishing the oil and gas chaplaincy as a highly valued part of the industry. He also feels humbled to take over from the late Reverend Andrew Jolly.
The 54-year-old, originally from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, close to Flanders’ Fields, in the Netherlands, had been a minister with the country’s Protestant Church (PKN) before serving for three years with the Iona Community between 2004 and 2007.
Mr Grashoff spent 18 months with two churches in Glasgow, before receiving a call to Kintyre in 2009.
He is married to Nelleke, 54, and they have three grown-up children in the Netherlands, and also a grandchild.
Prior to entering the ministry, Mr Grashoff worked in education and healthcare in his country of origin – but he now considers Scotland to be his “homeland”.