The General Assembly, recognising that Presbyteries and Congregations may wish to employ suitable persons to supplement the Church’s gospel ministry at a local level, and seeking to regulate such ministry in the Church, enact and ordain as follows:
The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Act:
1.Ministry Support Workers. A ministry support worker is an employee of the Church appointed by a Presbytery or a Congregation to carry out duties which are focussed primarily on the ministry of the Word of God and assisting in the fulfilment of local pastoral ministry.
1.1 Inclusions. The following persons appointed to supplement the ministry of the Word of God by the Congregation or the Presbytery shall also come under the terms of this Act:
1.1.1.Resident Supply. Persons appointed by Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions to carry out resident supply within their designated area will come under the terms of this Act. The Presbytery will liaise with the Board of Ministry before approving the appointment of a person who is not an ordained person or a minister of the Free Church of Scotland as resident supply.
1.1.2 Probationers. Probationers appointed to support the regular preaching and pastoral ministry in congregations will also come under the term of this Act. This includes Probationers who have been licensed to preach the gospel in another denomination.
1.1.3. Minister of Other Denominations. An ordained Minister of another denomination, appointed by a Kirk Session to support the regular preaching and pastoral ministry in the congregation, will come under the terms of this Act.
1.2 Exclusions. For the avoidance of doubt, this Act does not apply to workers who are employed by a Congregation or Presbytery to carry out work which is primarily practical, social, or administrative in nature.
2. Congregational Workers. A Congregational Worker is a Ministry Support Worker appointed by a Kirk Session to assist the Minister in the work of the congregation. This work may involve support of the pastoral ministry, engaging in youth work, assisting with discipleship, and complementing the regular preaching ministry.
3. Presbytery Workers. A Presbytery Worker is a Ministry Support Worker appointed by a Presbytery to assist with ministry across the Presbytery. The work may involve developing youth work within the designated area, assisting with preaching and pastoral ministry in congregations, and areas of the Presbytery which are not able to support a full-time pastoral ministry, or any other activity designed to complement the regular ministry across the Presbytery.
4. Presbytery Oversight. The Presbytery has responsibility for the oversight of ministry within its boundaries. The Kirk Session will seek the support and approval of the Presbytery before a Ministry Support Worker is appointed who is participate in the regular preaching and pastoral ministry in the congregation.
B DOCTRINAL SUBSCRIPTION
1.Ministry Support Workers will subscribe to uphold the doctrinal position of the Church.
2. Preaching Ministry. Ministry Support Workers whose role description includes regular preaching will answer the Questions and sign the Formula.
2.1 Ruling Elders. Ministry Support Workers who are communicant members of the Free Church of Scotland, but who are not ordained to office within the Church, will answer the Questions and sign the Formula, and be ordained as a Ruling Elder, before being formally appointed to the post.
2.2 Ministers and Probationers. Ministers and Probationers from other denominations appointed as Ministry Support Workers will answer the Questions and sign the Formula at a constituted meeting of the Presbytery before being formally appointed to the post. They shall be under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery for the duration of their appointment.
3. Non-preaching Ministry. Ministry Support Workers appointed to a post that does not include regular preaching of the Word of God, such as youth workers, discipleship workers, etc., will subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith through their contract of employment.
C. THE APPOINTMENT
1. The Term. The appointment of the Ministry Support Worker will be for an initial term of up to two years.
2. A Project Plan. The Presbytery or the Kirk Session will ensure that a project plan for the employment of the Ministry Support Worker has been agreed.
2.1 Role Description. The project plan shall include a role description giving details of the duties involved and accompanied by a person specification. The role description will show clear details of aims and objectives of the job, duties and responsibilities, qualifications, and line-management functions.
3. A Financial Plan. The Financial Plan will show good financial governance and due regard to risk management for the duration of the appointment
3.1 Budget. The project plan will include a detailed financial plan showing budgeted income and expenditure, and confirmed sources of income, for the term of the appointment.
3.2 Approval. The Financial Plan will be approved by the Central Office Finance Manager before proceeding to the appointment.
3.3 Project Costs. The costs of the project and the employment of the Ministry Support Worker will be met locally by the Deacons’ Court or the Presbytery, whichever is appropriate in each case. Small start-up grants may be available from the Mission Board or other sources.
4.Restriction. Kirk Sessions may not appoint Ministry Support Workers unless the Congregation has met the requirements of the Church’s remittances scheme in each of the previous two years, and on the understanding that such appointments will not adversely affect ongoing remittances to central funds.
5. Employment. The process of employing a Ministry Support Worker will be undertaken ensuring compliance with employment law and will include the following.
5.1 Contract of Employment. A template contract of employment will be provided by the Central Office for use by Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries for workers appointed under the terms of this Act.
5.1.1 The contract of employment will be approved by the Central Office prior to the appointment of the worker.
5.1.2 The contract of employment should be set out as being between the employee and either the Presbytery or the Congregation, as appropriate, and not as between the employee and the Free Church of Scotland.
5.1.3The contract of employment will include a statement regarding subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith in the case of all Ministry Support Workers who do not answer the Questions and sign the Formula.
5.2 Line Management. The contract of employment shall show clear line management functions including oversight and reporting procedures. Presbytery and Kirk Sessions will ensure that a line manager is appointed in each case with roles and responsibilities for the line manager clearly defined and clear guidelines for regular reporting and grievance procedures in place.
6. Remuneration. The remuneration / salary of the Ministry Support Worker will be covered by the Presbytery or the Kirk Session, whichever applies in each case. The rate will be fixed by the Presbytery or the Kirk Session and will set at a rate above the National Living Wage.
7. Review. The Presbytery or Kirk Session will initiate a review of the appointment not less than six months before the first or subsequent term of the post is due to expire.
7.1 Project Plan. The review will consider the Project Plan and evaluate whether the major deliverables and aims and objectives of the Project have been achieved. If the Kirk Session or Presbytery agree to continue the appointment for a further term, they will consider what changes to the Project Plan may be required in order to achieve the overall purpose of the post.
7.2 Finance. The review will also consider the funding arrangements of the post going, noting variances in actual costs against budgeted costs. If the Kirk Session or Presbytery agree to continue the appointment for a further term, they will ensure that any necessary adjustments are made to the financial plan to ensure the viability of the post for the duration of the term.
7.3 Restriction. Kirk Sessions may not re-appoint a Ministry Support Worker for a further term unless the congregation has met the requirements of the Church’s remittances scheme in each year of the previous term.
7.3.1 If a congregation fails to meet the requirements of the Church’s remittances scheme in any single year of the term, and they can demonstrate that this is due to exceptional circumstances to the satisfaction of the Presbytery and the Board of Trustees, they may proceed with a re-appointment if this is the recommendation of the review process.
D. TERMS & CONDITIONS
1. Conditions of Employment
1.1 Ministry Support Workers shall be entitled to recover approved expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. In the case of mileage expenses, these shall be reimbursed in line with current rates approved by the General Assembly.
1.2 Accommodation shall not normally be provided but Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions may make arrangements for accommodation as local circumstances demand and permit.
1.3 Ministry Support Workers shall be entitled to annual leave as agreed in the contract of employment.
1.4 Ministry Support Workers appointed under this Act shall be entitled to the statutory notice of termination of appointment. Termination of employment shall be determined by the Presbytery, or the Kirk Session in the case of congregational workers, subject to appeal in accordance with procedures set out in the contract of employment.
2. Training. The Presbytery and the Kirk Session shall be satisfied with the theological and professional competence of the applicant. Workers will be required to attend training as directed by the Presbytery or the Kirk Session.
2.1 Youth Workers. Ministry Support Workers employed as youth workers shall undertake a suitable training course as necessary, prior to or as soon as possible after taking up their appointment. This may include training courses such as the Diploma in Christian Youth Worker available at Edinburgh Theological Seminary.
2.2 Preaching Supply Workers. Ministry Support Workers employed where the duties include preaching supply shall undertake training corresponding to their duties. This may include attendance at the ETS Saturday Course and other suitable courses available at Edinburgh Theological Seminary.
1.The General Assembly declare that all new appointments of Ministry Support Workers will come under the terms of this Act.
2.The General Assembly declare that existing appointments under the provisions of Act 10, Class 2, 2006, and of Act 5, Class 2, 2007, will terminate at the end of the current term of the appointment, and that their re-appointment will be under the provisions of this Act.
1.The General Assembly repeal Act 10, Class 2, 2006, and Act 5, Class 2, 2007, when existing appointments are terminated.