From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 12:54:52


                         by Robert Nowell 
                      Religion News Service 
LONDON--The Church of Scotland -- the Presbyterian church that historically 
has been the religious home of most Scots -- is facing a financial crisis 
so severe that in two or three years it may not be able to pay all its 
     The warning comes in the report of the church's Board of Ministry to 
the General Assembly, the church's highest governing body, which meets in 
Edinburgh May 20-26.   
     "The time is fast approaching" when the Board's Committee on the 
Maintenance of the Ministry "may no longer be able to meet the demands made 
upon it for stipend," the report states.   
     The stipend for 1995 has been fixed at $23,454 plus a manse, or 
minister's house.   
     The majority of the Church of Scotland's 1,300 congregational units 
are self-supporting, but some 300 require subsidies from more affluent 
churches. These represent slightly more than 400 congregations, since two 
or three small congregations are often linked to form a single unit, or 
charge, under one minister.   
     One option in dealing with the money crisis might be to refuse to 
appoint a minister to a vacant charge until a sufficient subsidy becomes 
available. But, the report said, "This could lead to a catastrophic 
situation which the committee believes must be avoided at all costs."   
     Another option could be for presbyteries -- the local groupings of 
charges -- to have the level of subsidy rationed.   
     "The only other alternative is to drastically reduce the number of 
charges with full-time ordained ministers and use new patterns of ministry, 
perhaps as yet unheard of, to meet the ministry needs of all the people of 
Scotland," the report concluded.   
     When the General Assembly meets in May, it will be asked to set up a 
committee to report to next year's Assembly with "definite proposals."  

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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