The Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council is departing to lead the Edinburgh Cyrenians charity.
Ewan Aitken, who has been with the Church and Society Council for six years, will take on the role of Chief Executive for the award-winning charity from May 2014.
Mr Aitken, who is also an active member of the Iona Community, said: “Leading the Cyrenians is a huge opportunity for me and one that I am very grateful to have been given, but I will miss my colleagues in the Church.
“I am very thankful for their support and willingness to take risks in trying new things such as the work on Credit Unions, Eco Congregations and Prison Visitor Centres amongst others, where I think we have made great progress and been a catalyst for change.
“There is, of course, a great deal of common ground in the commitment of the Cyrenians and the Church to some of the most excluded in our society and I see many opportunities for future collaborations and common tasks in the times to come.”
Convener of the Church and Society Council, the Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, said: “Ewan's vision, passion, intellect and commitment to social justice has been instrumental in helping the Church of Scotland continue to play its important part in living out the gospel in a modern context.
“It is with those same skills that he will help steer the Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust as it responds to the complex issues of homelessness and poverty in Scotland. The staff and all the members of the Council wish him well in this next chapter.”
Ewan Aitken was a parish minister for seven years in which time he also entered local politics as a councillor with the City of Edinburgh Council. In 2008 he was elected leader of the Scottish Labour Group within the capital’s local authority before leaving to become Council Secretary of the Church and Society Council.
Edinburgh Cyrenians is an independent Scottish Charity with a strong track record in pioneering "creative solutions to the contemporary problems faced by people on the margins of society, such as; homelessness, poverty, deep unemployment, recovery from addiction and recidivism."
The charity also has an environmental brief, seeing "the connection between valuing people and valuing our planet as part of the solution to a sustainable and happy future for society."
* Edinburgh Cyrenians: http://www.cyrenians.org.uk/