Minister says farewell to Grangemouth church

The long serving minister at a Grangemouth church led his last service on Sunday as he prepares to take up a new position.

By James Trimble
Monday, 27th December 2021, 2:33 pm
Updated Monday, 27th December 2021, 3:49 pm

Reverend Aftab Gohar has been the minister at Abbotsgrange Parish Church for over a decade, taking up the role 2008.

Sunday, December 26 marked his last service at the church before he leaves the area to take up his new position in Peebles.

A church spokesperson said: “He will be very much missed as he has been the minister in Abbotsgrange since arriving from Pakistan with his family. The congregation sent him off with their best wishes and a standing ovation.”

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Reverend Gohar - joined by session clerk John Russell - leads his last service at Abbotsgrange Parish Church after 13 years there as the minister

Reverend Gohar said he felt the time was right to move on.

He added: “I will miss it – the Abbotsgrange family was like our Scottish family and Grangemouth will always be our Scottish home town.

He is due to take the service at Peebles Old Church this coming Sunday.

Only a few years into his role as minister at Abbotsgrange, Reverend Gohar lost his 79-year-old mother along with other relatives and friends when terrorists blew up a Christian church in Pakistan in 2013.

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Back then the man of God found the strength in his heart to forgive the people who carried out this horrific act and then last year he preached a similar message of peace to MSP gathered at the Scottish Parliament, urging people to forget their differences and to their best to live together in peace.

At the time Reverend Gohar said: “Personally, I have experienced the loss of my mum, nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts and friends in a double suicide attack at my home church in Peshawar, Pakistan in 2013.

“We can see a lot of mass killings throughout the world even today, especially in countries like Myanmar, Sudan, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, USA, Israel and Palestine, all on the basis of religion, colour, race and language.

“Have we ever thought about the cause of this hatred, fighting and killing? For me the main reason for this is lack of tolerance. The problem is many people judge others on their religion, race, colour, language, ability or disability.

“If we all learn tolerance, then we can see a real peace and harmony around us. We need to accept others as they are and live with them peacefully.”

In June last year the Rev. Gohar became the first person born and raised in South Asia to be installed as a Presbytery Moderator.

At that time, Rev Aftab Gohar said he was "honoured and humbled" to have been chosen.

The 53-year-old minister lived in Grangemouth with his wife Samina and their two sons, Shahan, 25, and Zeeshan, 23, are now British citizens.

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