Kirk minister trainees on the up

More people are training to be Kirk ministers

The number of people training to be Church of Scotland ministers has more than doubled over the past four years, the Kirk has said.

Concern over poor levels of recruitment prompted the church to make changes to its assessment procedures in 2000.

The following year 17 candidates were accepted for training in the ministry, rising to 25 in 2002 and 33 last year.

This year, 37 candidates for training have been accepted, which represents the high point of recent years.

'Exceptional calibre'

Rev. Douglas Cranston, convener of the Board of Ministry, said: "With levels of recruitment running at this level, it is certainly not true to say that the Church of Scotland has insufficient ministers.

"Indeed, not only do I welcome the growing numbers of new entrants into the ministry, but also the exceptional calibre of those candidates who have been accepted for training.

"Many of these individuals have given up very successful careers in order to heed God's call."

The Kirk said that one of the most important changes to recruitment was the introduction of twice-yearly enquirers' conferences.

This is where people who feel drawn to serve as ministers of the Gospel can take the first step in exploring and testing their sense of 'call'.

Ministry within the Church of Scotland involves about 1,400 ministers serving in parishes and various forms of chaplaincy.