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A Glasgow Reverend in Newcastle has been named the Church of Scotland’s first dedicated pastor for veterinary medicine.
Rev Allan Wright is a vet himself and has been running a practice in Birtley, County Durham with his wife Sharon for 18 months.
The 33-year-old was born on Saturday in the parish church of St.
In addition to his plan to visit all veterinary practices within 30 minutes of Newcastle, Rev Wright will also be providing pastoral support duties to the Kirk north of the border – while keeping his own job as a veterinarian.
He said, “I am excited and discouraged to take on this new role, a calling that will allow me to combine my two passions.
“The job needs an open ear, pastoral support, a holistic approach for the well-being of the employees and a real anchor in someone.
“I understand the struggles and the pressure because I am a veterinarian and will be there for everyone who works in practices without a judgment or agenda.
“Veterinary medicine is a stressful, time-consuming and psychologically stressful profession and is often overlooked in society.
“The Bible says so much about caring for creation, which we do every day – veterinarians obey God’s command to look after nature.”
Rev Wright grew up in Jordanhill Parish Church, studied at the University of Glasgow and has been a veterinarian for 10 years and has two children.
Rev. Wright remains a veterinarian while he carries out his pastoral duties (Church of Scotland / PA)
He added, “It’s a disjointed network of people and each practice operates independently with very little collaboration, communication and support between companies.
“With increased expectations of working on Sundays, veterinarians who have attended church are finding it difficult to become part of a new worship community.
“This results in the veterinary community becoming a very isolated, disparate group of people.
“Mental health is a major problem made worse by Covid-19 and veterinarians are four times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
“It can be an emotional roller coaster ride as you make life and death decisions against a backdrop of increased customer expectations and increased risk of litigation.
“Many feel isolated and undervalued because they are often underpaid compared to their medical colleagues.”
Rev Wright grew up in Jordanhill Parish Church and studied at the University of Glasgow (Church of Scotland / PA)
Rev Alistair Cumming, the secretary of the Kirk in the Presbytery of England, said members appreciated that veterinarians face different pressures than other professions, which is why Rev Wright’s role was created.
He said, “The presbytery felt that it would take a ministry to stand beside this community, to listen, to listen, and to provide spiritual support if they wanted to.
“The pioneering appointment is very ecumenical and works with veterinarians from many different denominations.
“We hope that through this service we will reach the community in the north east of England and further develop the mission of the Church of Scotland.”