THE Rev Jane Howitt has brought a new international flavour to the Borders on her appointment as Moderator of Melrose and Peebles Presbytery.

Jane, the minister of St John's Church, in Galashiels, took over from Peebles Old Parish elder, Tom Fairbairn, and has laid down the gauntlet to the parishioners from Lauderdale to Peeblesshire.

"Don't write Jesus off until you have taken time to get to know Him," she said.

The popular Glaswegian, who has ministered at St John's for six years, first 'got the call' in what she said was a 'little farmhouse' in Devon.

Since then, she has travelled the world before setting up roots in Galashiels in 2006, when she decided that it was time to come home.

It was in Devon that Jane 'made a promise', the consequences of which still continue to surprise even her.

"Having trusted in Jesus, I promised to serve Him where he wanted me to be and in whatever role that He would choose," she said.

"That promise has taken me to live and teach English in France. It led me into the ministry of the Church of Scotland.

"Serving Jesus has meant a 10-year spell living in Latvia and processing the work of the Scripture Union there, working with many different churches of all denominations.

"Following Jesus has led me into many adventures in the Baltic States, Russia, Siberia and even Israel.

"Surprisingly, I was the first woman to preach in both the Ukraine Baptist Church and the Latvian Baptist Church. It has been my privilege to be a pioneer in many respects."

Jane then decided that it was time to return to Scotland and get to know the Borders.

"I have enjoyed getting to know the area and, especially, enjoy the beauty of the hills, which encompass us here," she said.

"Mind you, it might take time for a Glaswegian like myself to truly become a Borderer."

Jane's role as Moderator will see her represent the Church at official events and services and, of course, the Presbytery at which she will chair the meetings where the local churches meet to conduct business affecting the many charges.

Jane cannot wait to get started with first Presbytery meeting in September.

The Rev Victoria Linford, of Stow and Heriot churches, has taken over as Presbytery Clerk from Jack Stewart.