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General Assembly 2018

Thomas Baldwin rounds up the reports to this year’s General Assembly.


photo credits: Derek Fett Photography


THE Ministries Council report reveals that the statistics for people applying for the various ministries of the church (Full-time Ministry of Word and Sacrament, Ordained Local Ministry (OLM), the Diaconate, the Readership) show increased numbers entering the discernment process in 2017 (78 across all four ministries, up by 19 compared to 2016) but that the number of people taking that forward to application was actually down on the previous year (37 compared to 48).

There were 13 applications accepted for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, which is a similar number to the previous three years.

As of August 2017, there were 39 candidates in training for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, 12 for OLM, two for the diaconate and 26 for the Readership. This year, 13 people will complete training for full-time Ministry of Word and Sacrament, and five for OLM.

The report notes ‘that there is an increasing challenge to find a broad geographical spread of placements for candidates and probationers’ and that ‘the current IME (Initial Ministerial Education) programme places a high level of commitment on all those ministers who support the delivery of the programme…

These challenges form a part of the major review of IME’.

In 2017, there were also seven admissions, two readmissions and two conditional certificates issued to ministers ‘transferring in’ from other denominations.

The Council states that it is developing a recruitment strategy for ministry, but that the details will be dependent on the strategic plan for the whole church currently being developed by the Council of Assembly (see last month’s Life and Work). The full strategy is due to be presented in 2020, with hopes of ‘significantly greater numbers of ministers entering ministry from 2025 onwards’.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE ABSTINENCE AND ADDICTION - The history of abstinence in the Church of Scotland SOMEBODY'S CHILD - Encountering rough sleepers 'I LOVE WHAT I DO' - Meet Ann Lyall DCS