A popular Johnstone minister is set to retire after 35 years of helping people.

Reverend Ann McCool, who has been the minister at Johnstone High Parish Church for more than 23 years, is set to retire after a "blessed" career.

Reverend McCool first started her path in the church in 1989 at High Kirk of Stevenson where she served from her ordination in May of that year until February 2001.

She then joined Johnstone High in 2001 where has served since and has also been a Chaplin to Thorn Primary.


Glasgow Times:

Speaking to the Glasgow Times, Reverend McCool said: "It has been a true honour to have been a minister in the area.

"The congregation has always been so good to me and they are very committed.

"Alongside my 23 years at Johnstone High, I have loved being the Chaplin to Thorn Primary too.

"It was a calling from God for me to get into this line of work.

"The most challenging time was during the pandemic, which I would say changed people.

"Every week we put on a recording so that people could still feel that they were attending, along with a group of us going round and checking on people.

"But now I just felt that it was time for me to retire."

Glasgow Times:

The 75-year-old says that although it is harder now for people to commit to attending church for a variety of reasons when they do so, they are all in.

But when retirement comes, the former Glasgow speech and drama teacher, admits that it will allow her to get back to doing things that she used to do such as knitting and going to the theatre.

However, the minister says that she can't see herself being pulled away completely as she recalled a recent memorable moment.

She said: "I am looking forward to getting back to things that I used to do before I became a minister.

"Sometimes it was all go and these things got put to the side but getting back to knitting and the theatre are some of the things I am looking forward to.

"It was a real highlight to be able to baptise seven children a few weeks ago, a real privilege for me.

"Some people don't get that in a year so it was an honour for me to do that.

"However, after a while, I can see myself still being about helping the church in some way, whether that be through a charity event or a food bank appeal."

Lynne Hollywood, Johnstone High School headteacher, says that although Reverend McCool has not been affiliated with the school for several years, her help to many of the students has been appreciated.

She said: "Johnstone High School wishes Reverend McCool well in her retirement.

"She has been helpful to many of the students here who have attended Johnstone High Parish Church and they always speak of her fondly."