A minister who is to leave his post after 14 years at an Aberdeen church says it has been a “great privilege” to serve the community.
Woodside Parish Church stalwart, Reverend Markus Auffermann, has been a minister in the community for 14 years, and said the decision to leave was made “with a heavy heart”.
He will return to his homeland in Germany next month, where he will take up a new role of minister at the Lutheran Church in Wolfsburg.
He said: “One of the major reasons we are moving back is that my eldest daughter lives and works in Germany.
“Our parents are also getting older and my wife and I have no siblings, so there are no brothers or sisters who could look after them.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we have made the decision to leave. The people in Woodside have become very dear to me, both the congregation and the people of the community.
“It has been a great privilege, honour and pleasure to serve the Woodside congregation, community, the city of Aberdeen and the country of Scotland.”
Rev Auffermann said one of his highlights has been putting on “pub ministry” sessions.
He said: “I noticed that the pubs were usually full on Sunday mornings, before Covid-19, and my church wasn’t.
“I went regularly to the pubs and talked to the people there and befriended a good number of them.
“Some people were disengaged with the church but others were keen to learn about God and the Bible but were hesitant for different reasons to come to the church.
“So I did my best to go to them where they feel comfortable. I really wanted to be an approachable minister but also a friend to everyone in the community.”
Rev Auffermann has been a regular on Aberdeen-based community broadcaster SHMU.
He added: “We have been very heavily involved in Shmu radio. When it started years ago we were able to host our own Christian radio show called ‘Take a Moment with Woodside Parish Church’ on Sunday mornings.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to do radio ministry and I greatly benefitted from it.”
Rev Auffermann said that although Woodside has made the most of improvements over the years, there are still challenges.
He said: “Another thing which I feel strongly about is the elderly and vulnerable in the community.
“Woodside has changed and many people have come and settled here, but there is still a pocket of elderly people here and a good number live on their own so we’ve tried to reach out to them.
“We’ve also put on social events or services in the common rooms of high rises.
“There have been some positive improvements in Woodside but there are also still challenges.
“It is certainly a poorer area but many Woodsiders have really come together from different background and have worked very hard to improve the community.”