The Church of Scotland’s first Asian female minister has been nominated for a top award.
Rev Aquila Singh said she was “stunned” and “humbled” to be a finalist in the Woman of the Year category at the 12th Scottish Asian Business Awards. The minister, who was ordained and inducted into Fernhill and Cathkin Parish Church in Rutherglen last January, was shortlisted by public vote. The accolade recognises the achievements of an inspirational Asian woman who has made a positive impact on society.
Ms Singh, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Glasgow when she was two, said: “I am stunned and honoured to be nominated because I thought this was only for business people and I am no business woman.
“I suppose I still think of myself as the ‘wee lassie from Pollokshields’ and to be nominated for something like this is quite humbling.
“Especially, when I think that people actually cared enough to vote for me.”
Miss Singh said she felt very blessed to have been called to work for God and the Church.
“At the end of the day, I am but a servant to God and my community,” she added.
Miss Singh, a former secondary school computing teacher, said her nomination showed that Kirk ministers come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life.
“There are people that think the church is not relevant in today’s society but I would challenge that,” she added.
“CrossReach, which is the social arm of the church, is one of the biggest social care providers in Scotland.
“One of the projects of the Church of Scotland Guild is called Feed the Minds which is about raising awareness of Female Genital Mutilation.”
The award ceremony is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow on December 14.
Rev George Cowie, clerk to the Presbytery of Glasgow, said: “We were delighted to hear that Aquila Singh had been shortlisted for the Scottish Asian Business Awards.
“The Church doesn’t normally think of itself as a ‘business’, but it includes many hard working people who endeavour to make a difference in local situations.
“Aquila’s appointment as parish minister of Fernhill and Cathkin is a welcome sign of the diversity which exists within the modern Church.
“It also recognises the personal gifts and commitment that she is offering to the people in those communities.”
Miss Singh said the last 12 months had been challenging and a year of firsts.
“My first Baptism, wedding, Easter, Harvest, Remembrance and now moving into Advent and Christmas,” she added.
“It has been lovely getting to know my congregation and also connecting with the local community.
“I have especially enjoyed going into the primary schools and meeting the children and teachers.
“It really makes my day when I am out and about walking my wee dog and children come up and say hello because I was at their school assembly.”
Miss Singh said her first year has been a time for her to discern what her ministry should be.
“For me, it is about connecting with people and meeting them where they are at and walking with them on their journey,” she added.