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Act 7, 2022 – Categories and Rolls of Ministers

The General Assembly, seeking to revise the arrangements regarding categories and records of ministers, enact and ordain that the following rolls and related stipulations shall apply to all ordained ministers and probationers of the Free Church of Scotland.   

A, ROLLS OF MINISTERS

1.Roll A – Ministers with Charges. The Roll of Ministers in Charges shall comprise all ordained Ministers in pastoral charges, congregations, and church plants. The Roll will also include ordained Ministers in other ministerial appointments in the Church who are granted a seat in the Presbytery by the General Assembly as integral to their appointment.  

2. Roll B – Ministers without Charge. The Roll of Ministers without Charge shall comprise all ordained Ministers of the Free Church of Scotland who are not presently in a pastoral charge or congregation of the Church and who are eligible for a Call. 

2.1Ministerial Appointments. The Roll of Ministers without Charge will include ordained Ministers whose fixed-term ministerial appointment has been terminated by the General Assembly.

2.2Missionaries. The Roll of Ministers without Charge will include ordained Ministers of the Free Church working under the oversight of Missionary Organisations with which the Church has entered a partnership.

2.3 Miscellaneous. The Roll of Ministers without Charge will include Ministers who have resigned from their congregation or charge to take up a ministerial appointment external to the Free Church, such as chaplaincy to the Armed Forces.

2.4 Term on the Roll. The names of Ministers on the Roll of Ministers without Charge will be retained on the Roll for an initial period of three years, before the end of which the Minister may petition the Presbytery within whose bounds he resides to have his name retained on the Roll for a second three-year term.

2.4.1 Should a Minister desire to have his name retained on the Roll beyond the six years, he must petition the General Assembly through the Presbytery within whose bounds he resides for his name to be retained on the Roll for a further three-year term, renewable for a second three-year term as set out in Paragraph 2.4 above. 

 2.4.2 The process set out in Paragraph 2.4.1 above will be followed at the end of each subsequent six-term on the Roll.

 2.4.3 Ministers who are engaged in work with Missionary Organisations or Ministers who are working with external organisations as Ministers of the Free Church of Scotland, will be exempt from the need to apply to keep his name on the Roll. This exemption will continue until the termination of the appointment.

3. Roll C – Probationers. The Roll of Probationers comprises all Probationers in good standing licensed by the Free Church of Scotland and who are available for Call and Probationers who have been admitted from another denomination.

1.1 Definition. A Probationer is a Candidate for the Ministry who has completed the course of studies required by the Board of Ministry and has been licensed to preach by a Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland but has not yet been ordained.

3.1.1 For the purpose of this Act, a Candidate for the Ministry who has been licensed to preach the gospel by another Presbyterian denomination and admitted to the Free Church by the General Assembly shall also be included as a Probationer.

3.1.2 A Probationer is not eligible to conduct Marriage Services or dispense the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

1.2 Term on the Roll. A Probationer’s name shall remain on the Roll of Probationers for six years, before the end of which he may petition the General Assembly, through the Presbytery within whose bounds he resides, to have his name retained on the Roll for a further three years. A Probationer must use the same process of application to the General Assembly, through the Presbytery, every three years, in order to have his name retained on the Roll.

1.3 Removal from Roll. Probationers who no longer wish to be available for Call shall inform their Presbytery specifying the reasons. If their request to be removed from the Roll of Probationers is granted, the Presbytery shall inform the Principal Clerk of Assembly by extract minute authorising him to remove their name from this list. 

1.4 Disjunction Certificate. A Kirk Session shall not issue a Disjunction Certificate to a Probationer awaiting a Call without prior reference to the Presbytery.

3.4.1 Where a Disjunction Certificate is granted to a Probationer, the Presbytery Clerk shall forthwith inform the Principal Clerk of Assembly; and likewise, when the Probationer subsequently comes under the pastoral oversight of another Presbytery, the Presbytery Clerk shall inform the Principal Clerk so that the Probationer’s name be continued on the Roll of Probationers.  

3.4.2 If when granted a Disjunction Certificate, a Probationer does not lodge it within six weeks with another Free Church congregation he shall be deemed to have removed his name from the Roll of Probationers.

4. Roll D – Resigned Ministers. The Roll of Resigned Ministers shall comprise all ordained Ministers of the Free Church in good standing who have resigned their charge or other ministerial appointment and have not become Ministers of another denomination with the exception of Ministers in Paragraph 2.2 and 2.3 above.

4.1 General Assembly. The Roll will also include Ministers who by order of the General Assembly are to be held on the Roll of Resigned Ministers.

4.2 Transfer. A Minister whose name is on the Roll of Resigned Ministers and who desires to have his name transferred to the Roll of Ministers without Charge shall petition the General Assembly, or its Commission, through the Presbytery within whose bounds he is resident at the time. The Petition shall give positive reasons for transference to it, otherwise it shall not be deemed competent.

4.3 Ill-health. The names of Ministers whose pastoral tie is severed under the Church’s arrangements for managing Minister’s absence from work due to ill-health will also be included in this Roll.

4.4 Exclusions. For the avoidance of doubt, the Roll of Resigned Ministers will not include Ministers who have resigned from their congregation, charge, or appointment, and have become Ministers in another denomination.

 4.4.1 Such Ministers will follow the application process for re-admission to the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland before being added to this Roll or the Roll of Ministers without Charge.

5. Roll E – Retired ministers The Roll of Retired Ministers shall comprise all ordained ministers of the Free Church in good standing who have retired, including those Ministers who have been admitted to the ministry of the Free Church received from other denominations since retiring.

5.1 Retirement in this sense, whether by a Minister in a pastoral charge or otherwise, will be in accordance with the Church’s arrangements for retirement as such may be amended by the General Assembly at any time. 

5.2 Ill-health The names of Ministers who retire on the grounds of ill-health will also be included in this Roll.

6. Roll G – Ministers under Discipline. The Roll of Ministers under Discipline will include the names of all Ministers who have been censored by a Presbytery of the Church or by the General Assembly and suspended judicially.

6.1 The Roll will show the date of the censure, the Court of the Church applying the censure, and the duration of the censure.

6.2 For the avoidance of doubt, this Roll will not include Ministers who may be under administrative suspension.

6.3 The name of Ministers who have been deposed from the ministry will not be include on this Roll.

7. Eligibility for Call. Only those whose names are placed on Rolls A, B and C shall be eligible for a call to fill a vacancy in a congregation.

8. Change of Denomination. If a Minister whose name has been placed on any of the above Rolls is admitted as a Minister of another Church other than by secondment, his name shall be removed from the relevant Roll.  

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The General Assembly direct as follows regarding the maintenance of the Rolls of Ministers and roles and responsibilities.

1.Presbyteries. Presbyteries shall inform the Principal Clerk if changes regarding ministerial personnel and probationers as follows:

1.1 Roll of Presbytery. The Presbytery shall complete the Roll of Presbytery by 31st July annually. They shall forward the up-to-date Roll to the Principal Clerk immediately on completion.

1.2 Licensing and Ordination. Clerks of Presbyteries shall send the names and addresses of all who have been licensed to preach the gospel by Presbytery, with dates of licence, within one week thereafter, to the Principal Clerk of Assembly with a copy to the Clerk to the Board of Ministry.

1.3 Ministerial Changes. The Presbytery shall complete the Ministerial Changes Form at the end of each calendar year. The Form will include notification of licensing of students, ordinations and inductions, the retirement and resignation of Ministers, the death of Ministers, and Ministers who may be under suspension.

1.4 Resignations. When a Minister’s resignation of his charge has been accepted by his Presbytery, the Clerk of Presbytery shall inform the Principal Clerk of Assembly by extract minute. The extract minute shall include the resolution of the Presbytery to place the name of the Minister on the Roll of Resigned Ministers.

 1.4.1 The Presbytery may request that the name of the resigned Minister be placed on the Roll of Ministers without Charge when resignation is due to secondment by a responsible Board or Committee of the Free Church to other pastoral or para-pastoral work. This request will also be made when resignation is due to taking up a commission to serve as a chaplain in the Armed Forces.

1.5 Annual Review. Presbyteries shall carry out an annual review of ministers listed in the Roll of Probationers, the Roll of Resigned Ministers, Roll of Ministers without Charge and the Roll of Retired Ministers.

1.5.1 This annual review shall include due investigation that each Minister wishes to continue on the relevant list, that they continue to associate with the Free Church of Scotland, and that they continue to reside within the bounds of the Presbytery.

 1.5.2 Should the Presbytery find that circumstances have changed in any instance and that a Minister no longer associates with the Free Church of Scotland, the Presbytery may declare that he is no longer a Minister of the Free Church of Scotland and, after due intimation to the individual concerned, may thus order his name to be removed from the Roll. The individual concerned shall have the right to appear at the Presbytery to be heard before a final decision is taken. He shall also have the right of appeal. The Presbytery shall inform the Principal Clerk of Assembly accordingly.

2. Ministers. Ministers who are not in a pastoral charge or in other full-time ministerial appointment shall keep the Presbytery under whose jurisdiction they are found informed of any change in circumstances or location.

2.1 Ministers without Charge. A Minister whose name is placed on the Roll of Ministers without Charge is also required to notify the Clerk of Presbytery of any change of address. If a minister takes up residence within the bounds of another Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland, he shall also inform the Clerk of that Presbytery of the new address.

2.2 Resigned Ministers. A Minister whose name is placed on the Roll of Resigned Ministers is required to notify the Clerk of Presbytery of any change of address. If a minister takes up residence within the bounds of another Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland, he shall also inform the Clerk of that Presbytery of the new address.

2.3 Retired Ministers. A Minister whose name is placed on the Roll of Retired Ministers is required to notify the Clerk of Presbytery of any change of address. If a Minister takes up residence within the bounds of another Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland, he shall also inform the Clerk of that Presbytery of the new address.

3. Principal Clerk. The Principal Clerk shall maintain an up-to-date record of the Roll of Ministers in the Free Church of Scotland.

3.1 Roll of Ministers in Charges. The Principal Clerk shall extract the relevant information from the Roll of each Presbytery to complete the Roll of Ministers in Charges. The Clerk will produce an up-to-date Roll on 31st July annually.

3.2 Roll of Probationers. The Principal Clerk shall prepare and maintain a Roll of all Probationers of the Free Church according to date of licence. He shall provide the Board of Ministry annually with a list of all the names and addresses on the Roll, and the Board shall incorporate the list into its report to the General Assembly.

3.3 Other Rolls. The Principal Clerk will produce an up-to-date record of all other Rolls of Ministers on 31st March annually.

3.4 Publication of the Roll. The Principal Clerk shall produce the complete list of Ministers annually in a way that is accessible to Ministers and Elders.

3.5 Board of Ministry. The Principal Clerk will pass the complete up to date record of the Roll of Ministers to the Board of Ministry with the exception of the Roll of Ministers in Charges and the Roll of Ministers Under Discipline. The Board of Ministry shall report appropriately on changes to the Roll to the General Assembly in their annual report.

  1. MISCELLANEOUS

The General Assembly declare as follows regarding Ministers without charge, resigned Ministers and retired Ministers:

1.Membership of Kirk Session. All Ministers not having a pastoral charge are eligible for election as Ruling Elders in the Congregations to which they attach themselves as communicant members. 

1.1 Last Charge. A Minister shall not be eligible for election as a Ruling Elder in a congregation which is his last charge until at least ten years have expired since retirement or resignation from the charge.

1.2 Representation. Ministers not having a pastoral charge and who have been elected as Ruling Elders in the local congregation may not represent the Kirk Session in the Presbytery nor may they be commissioned as Elders to the General Assembly.

2. A Seat in Presbytery. Ministers not having a pastoral charge may apply for a seat in the Presbytery within his boundaries they reside by way of petition subject to the following conditions.

2.1 Roll of Presbytery. The names of Ministers granted a seat in Presbytery will be added to the Roll of Presbytery and the Clerk of Presbytery shall inform the Principal Clerk of Assembly accordingly.

2.2 Eligibility Boards and Committees. Ministers on the Roll of Retired Ministers, the Roll of Resigned Ministers and the Roll of Ministers without Charge shall be eligible for nomination to serve on Boards and Committee of the Church. Presbyteries should record positive reasons for nominating ministers on these Rolls.

2.3 Termination. For the purposes of this Act, the Minister’s right to hold a seat in Presbytery will be subject to the following conditions.

2.3.1 A minister’s right to a seat in Presbytery shall be for a fixed term of five year after which the minister may apply for a further five-year term.

2.3.2 The right to hold a seat in Presbytery shall be terminated on re-location outside of the boundaries of that Presbytery.

2.3.3  A Minister who relocates to take up residence within the boundaries of another Presbytery may apply for a seat in that Presbytery according to the due process of application.

2.3.4 The right of a Minister on the Roll of Ministers without Charge to a seat in the Presbytery within whose boundaries he resides will also terminate on being inducted to a pastoral charge or other ministerial work.

3. Parity. The Presbytery and the General Assembly have historically been constituted observing the rules of parity – the membership is comprised of an equal number of ordained Ministers and ruling elders. The General Assembly re-affirm this practice and declare as follows regarding retired Ministers, resigned Ministers, and Ministers without charge.

3.1 Corresponding Ruling Elder. A corresponding Ruling Elder shall be elected for each additional seat in Presbytery granted according to the terms of Paragraph 5 above. Such corresponding elders shall retain their seats in Presbytery only for such time as seats are retained by the said Ministers. Presbyteries shall make suitable arrangements for Kirk Sessions within their boundaries to elect an additional Presbytery Elder on a rotation basis to ensure fairness in the allocation of additional seats in the Presbytery over a period of time.  

4 Jurisdiction. The Presbytery has jurisdiction over an individual who has a seat on the Presbytery or who resides within the bounds of the Presbytery.

4.1 Retired Ministers. Ministers on the Roll of Retired Ministers who do not have a seat on the Presbytery is under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery within whose boundaries he resides.

4.2 Resigned Ministers. Ministers on the Roll of Resigned Ministers shall be under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery within whose boundaries they are resident. If a Minister takes up residence beyond the boundaries of any Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland, he shall remain under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery within whose bounds he last resided.

 4.2.1 Ministers who resign their charge and become Ministers in another denomination cannot remain under the jurisdiction and discipline of two denominations, so their names must be removed from Free Church listings.

4.2.2 Should such Ministers wish to re-enter the Free Church they must petition the General Assembly or its Commission through the Presbytery.

4.3 Probationers. Probationers are subject to the oversight of the Presbytery within whose bounds they reside, though the Presbytery may choose to exercise pastoral care through the Kirk Session of the congregation of which he is a member. The Presbytery has a responsibility to meet with Probationers under their oversight regularly and shall meet in private for this purpose.

4. 4 Ministers without Charge. Ministers on the Roll of Ministers without Charge who do not have a seat on the Presbytery shall be under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery within whose bounds they are resident. Presbyteries shall inform the Assembly Clerk of any change in location regarding Ministers whose names are recorded on this Roll.

D. IMPLEMENTATION

1. Transition. For the avoidance of doubt, the General Assembly declares as follows regarding the implementation of the terms of this Act: 

1.1 Term on a Roll. The regulations of this Act regarding the fixed term on different Rolls shall become effective from the rising of this Assembly to the extent that the first year of the first term commences at the rising of this Assembly.

1.2 Seat in Presbytery. The regulations of this Act regarding the five-year term for a seat in the Presbytery of shall apply from the rising of this Assembly to the extent that the first five-year term commences at the rising of this Assembly.

E. REPEAL

1.The General Assembly hereby repeal Act 8, Class 2, 2019 regarding Categories and Rolls of Ministers.