Vet becomes church’s first veterinary minister
The Church of Scotland has appointed its first dedicated minister for the veterinary community.
Glasgow native, the Rev Allan Wright was ordained at the Parish Church of St Andrew in Newcastle and will serve all vet practices within 30 minutes of the north east city.
The 33-year-old is in a unique position to help build support networks because he is a working vet himself and runs a practice with his wife, Sharon.
The father-of-two said: “I am excited and daunted about taking up this new role, a calling which enables me to combine both my passions.
“The profession needs a supportive ear, pastoral support, a wholistic approach to the welfare of staff and a real anchor in someone.
“I understand the struggles and the pressure because I am a vet and I will be there for all those who work in practices without judgement and agenda.
“Establishing a safe space within the profession but outside the workplace is important to allow true emotional discussion about the difficulties faced.
“Veterinary medicine is a stressful, time consuming and mentally-draining occupation and is often an overlooked industry in society,” he explained.
“It is a disjointed network of people and every practice works independently with very little collaboration, communication and support between businesses.”
“Due to the increased expectation to work on Sundays those vets who previously attended church find it difficult to become part of a new worshipping community. Antisocial hours also make it difficult for people, of all faiths, within the profession to socialise with others.
“This results in the veterinary community becoming a very isolated, disparate, group of people.”
The Reverend Alistair Cumming, the Kirk’s clerk to the Presbytery of England, added: “The presbytery felt that there was a need for a ministry to get alongside that community, to offer an ear to listen and to provide spiritual support if they wanted it.
“The appointment of the pioneer ministry is very much an ecumenical one, working with vets from many different denominations.”
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