NENI Presbytery Begins

First Meeting of New Presbytery

The Presbytery of the North East and the Northern Isles held its opening meeting on Tuesday 10 January 2023. This new Presbytery is a union between the former Presbyteries of Aberdeen and Shetland, Buchan, Gordon, Kincardine and Deeside, Moray, and Orkney.

Covering a huge geographical area and comprising around 120 congregations, the Presbytery is the new regional body of the Church of Scotland.

At the opening meeting, Rev Stella Campbell, minister of Skene Parish Church, was nominated and duly accepted to be the first moderator of the new Presbytery, and was welcomed as such through prayer led by Rev Kenneth Petrie, a former moderator of the Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland.

In her opening worship, Stella, drawing on the story of Abraham from Genesis, commented: "God calls Abraham to leave his settled life and become nomadic. God has plans for him and his family: to bless him and through him to bless all the peoples on earth. Abraham gives up a lot in exchange for a promise. He doesn't know the destination or the details of how God is going to bless other peoples through him. He has to take it all on trust...

"In many ways as we step out tonight as a new Presbytery we are all leaving behind something that is familiar to us. For some of us the comfort of a Presbytery that we have known really well and that has helped shape us in our ministry and service. For some of us the roles we have served. And for all of us a routine and way of doing things that is recognisable.

"There will be those among us who look forward to a new structure and there will be those whose stomachs churn at the thought of starting something new. In this moment we do not fully know what the new Presbytery will be like. We thank those who have worked in advance to develop the structure and set out the parameters to enable us to meet tonight, to fill the committees and to determine our first steps.

"But our new Presbytery will only start to breathe when we start to engage with it and play our part in shaping its success in the months ahead. Today we step out in faith."

The first meeting of Presbytery was primarily held via Zoom with more than 230 people attending the meeting online, coordinated from Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen. The meeting was also streamed live online at

Also at the meeting Rev Sheila Kirk was appointed as the Presbytery Clerk pro tem during the absence by illness of the Rev Elspeth McKay. Prayers were offered for the speedy return to health of the the Presbytery Clerk.

Rev Hugh Conkey, minister of Newtonhill Parish Church, was appointed as Clerk Depute, in addition to being Convener of the Business Committee.

James Buckingham-Hyman was also welcomed as the Administration Officer for the Presbytery.

The new website for the Presbytery is


Image (from left to right): Rev Hugh Conkey (Clerk Depute of Presbytery, Business Committee Convener, minister of Newtonhill Parish Church), Rev Sheila Kirk (Presbytery Clerk pro tem, minister of Deer Parish Church), Rev Stella Campbell (Moderator of Presbytery, minister of Skene Parish Church), and Mr James Buckingham-Hyman (Administration Officer of the Presbytery).

For further information please contact:

Rev Peter Johnston
0783 428 1176


James Buckingham-Hyman
Administration Officer
01224 662560