‘Flying Dutchman’ will minister to oil and gas industry

January 31, 2011

EDINBURGH, Scotland

A Dutch Church of Scotland minister has been appointed to one of Britain’s most prominent chaplaincy posts.

The Rev. Martin Grashoff, 54, minister at Kilcalmonell, Killean and Kilchenzie churches in Kintyre, will take over as chaplain to the oil and gas industry March 1, according to a news release from the Church of Scotland. His predecessor, the Rev. Andrew Jolly MBE, died last year at age 54 from cancer.

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.”

He will be a pastor to workers on the British oil and gas rigs and installations, as well as to their families, and also will connect with the industry onshore and with churches.

“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,” he said.

Grashoff’s post will be fully funded by the UK oil and gas industry, through the Aberdeen Oil Industry Chaplaincy Trust.

Originally from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, close to Flanders’ Fields, in the Netherlands, Grashoff had been a minister with the Protestant Church before serving with the Iona Community in Scotland from 2004 to 2007. Grashoff then served two churches in Glasgow and received a call to Kintyre in 2009. He is married to Nelleke, 54, and they have three grown children in the Netherlands and a grandchild.

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