Kirk's Recruitment Drive For Ministers

The Church of Scotland is hoping to inspire a new generation of leaders as it launches a recruitment campaign for ministers during its annual gathering.

The Kirk will unveil a new video as part of its Tomorrow's Calling drive to reach out to people to replace the large number of ministers expected to retire over the next decade.

Church leaders are aiming to recruit 30 new ministers every year for the next ten years.

The video will be played for the first time in front of 3,000 church members during a festival in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens on Sunday following the opening of the Church of Scotland General Assembly the previous day.

It will feature interviews with recently-ordained ministers, including Reverend Michael Mair - who at 26 is the Church of Scotland's youngest minister.

Rev Mair has been at St David's Broomhouse in Edinburgh for more than a year and started training to be a minister when he was 17.

He said: "When I went to careers guidance they didn't know what to do with me.

"I think for a long time the message was to go and get more life experience but now we are beginning to say, 'actually we need you'.

"We need people who feel they have a call to ministry, people who have gifts and talents who want to serve, to come in and serve in this way, in this role.

"Being a minister is a phenomenal role to play in the community. You get to journey with people through the highs and lows of life. There's nothing else like it.''

The video will feature work being done by some of the Kirk's 800 ministers in their work in communities across Scotland and will be shared on social media from Sunday.

The Church of Scotland's acting principal clerk George Whyte said: "We recruited a good number of ministers 30 or 40 years ago and they are now coming into their 60s and are retiring.

"We need to replace them and we need to find a range of people who can lead a church in its local setting.

"We are looking for people who are able to lead the church in ways that are appropriate to Scotland today and the particularities of the places where they serve.

"So, we are looking for that skill-set that they have a sense of how the community is and draw that church out into the community.

"It's very much part of renewing the life of the church, which is renewing its leadership.''

The General Assembly meets for a week every year in May. It has the authority to make laws determining how the Church operates and can also act as the Kirk's highest court.

Incoming moderator Rev Dr Angus Morrison added: "We need leaders who will champion our work.

"Our 400,000 members are the backbone of their communities, providing millions of hours of voluntary service in social clubs for young and old, helping run food banks and innovative projects such as supporting those suffering dementia.''

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