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Act 19, 1983 (XIX) – Act anent District Minister. 25th May 1983. (As amended by Act 25, 1989 (XXV) – Act anent District Ministers and Act 13, 1993 (XIII) – Act anent Appointments to District Ministry Charges)

The General Assembly, recognising the claims on the Church of its loyal people in congregations too small to call a minister under current legislation, and concerned about their need of more sustained pastoral attention than is presently available to them, resolve to authorise the appointment of District Ministers in terms of the following Regulations:

(1) Those appointed will be Ministers or Probationers of the Free Church of Scotland. The appointment of a Probationer shall be conditioned upon his being ordained after due trials by the Presbytery within whose bounds the major part of his work shall be. The Committee on Sustentation and Supply shall request the Presbytery to arrange the ordination.

(2) A District Minister will be appointed by the Committee on Sustentation and Supply to minister to vacant congregations within a limited area agreed in consultation with the Presbytery, or Presbyteries, within whose bounds the need for such a ministry has been identified. Where the district crosses presbytery boundaries, there shall be agreement reached between the presbyteries concerned as to the presbytery of which the district minister shall be a member.

(3) The appointment must have the approval of the Presbytery, or Presbyteries, of the bounds, after consultation with the Congregations to be served.

(4) The appointment will be, in the first instance, for a period of five years and will be open to renewal, if there has been satisfactory improvement in the numerical and financial strength of the congregations served.

(5) The District Minister will have a seat in the Presbytery, or one of the Presbyteries, within whose bounds he serves, and will be Moderator of Kirk Sessions in the congregations he serves within the bounds. Should the area to which he is appointed cross Presbytery boundaries, he may be authorised to act as Interim-moderator in the congregations he serves in another Presbytery.

(6) The Stipend shall be paid at the rate of Equal Dividend each year, and shall be borne by the Committee on Sustentation and Supply. The appointment will be declared to be equivalent to a charge for the purposes of the Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund, and the Committee will be responsible for the payment of the appropriate premium.

(7) The Congregations served will pay a sum for travelling expenses, which will be fixed in agreement with the Committee on Sustentation and Supply and reviewed annually during the appointment.

(8) Before the appointment of a District Minister an agreement will be reached between the Committee, the Presbytery or Presbyteries, and the Congregations concerned regarding the provision of a suitable manse, and the sharing between the Congregations of such costs as rates, maintenance, re-decoration and repairs.

(9) The Congregations will make an annual contribution to Sustentation Fund, which shall be fixed for the first year of the appointment at a figure approved by the Sustentation and Supply Committee in the light of the Congregations’ income in the preceding year, and the sum should show a satisfactory increase over each year of the appointment.

(10) The District Minister shall not undertake other duties, or make himself available for gospel work elsewhere, which might be to the prejudice of the work to which he has been appointed, without consulting the Committee and the Presbytery, or Presbyteries of the bounds.

(11) The District Minister shall report, in writing, regularly to the Presbytery, or Presbyteries, of the bounds, and annually in March to the Committee, on progress in the spiritual, numerical and financial state of the Congregations serviced.

(12) During the five years of a minister’s initial appointment to a District Ministry Charge, no Presbytery shall sustain a call to him without the prior agreement of the Sustentation Committee. Thereafter, he may be reappointed for further periods of five years, during which he shall be eligible for call to another charge in the usual way. Alternatively, he shall be placed on the Register of Ministers without Charge and be paid at the rate of the Equal Dividend for a period of six months from the date of the expiry of his appointment, or until his induction to another Charge, whichever is sooner.