Retired ministers could be called back into action to help meet the Church of Scotland’s projected shortfall.
The General Assembly of the Kirk, holding its annual gathering in Edinburgh, heard figures from a new report which revealed that between 2002 and 2006 there was an average of 29 new ministers completing training, set against an average of 40 between 1997 and 2001.
The report by the Church’s ministries council said that the situation has reached the stage where in 10 years pastoral care is expected to be provided not by fully ordained ministers but a range of parish workers.
This would include deacons, who can carry out many services, but not sacraments such as communion and baptism. Parish assistants hold a similar role and can offer certain pastoral services but again their remit is limited.
Helensburgh minister the Rev David Clark, of the parish appraisal committee, part of the ministries council, said: “Our best efforts lead us to conclude that in 2017 the Church will have 1228 ministers of word and sacrament, (fully ordained) deacons, parish assistants available to work in parish and presbytery positions.
“This is not much different in total from the present time but the breakdown does indicate a shift in balance between ministers in charges, which will reduce, and other parish staff, which will increase.”
Full story at The Herald.