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Act 15, 1979 (XV) – Act anent Regulations governing appointment and employment of Resident Lay Preachers. 23rd May 1979.

The General Assembly repeal Act XIV 1972, and approve the following Regulations governing the appointment and employment of Resident Lay Preachers, and the Procedures in Applications for the services of Resident Lay Preachers:-



1. A Resident, Lay Preacher is appointed by the Committee to preach and exercise pastoral care under the direction of the Minister (or Interim Moderator) and Kirk Session of the Congregation, and oversight of the Presbytery.

2. Application for recognition as a Lay Preacher shall be made on a prescribed form through the Kirk Session and Presbytery to the Committee who shall interview each applicant before authorising that his name be added to the roll of recognised Lay Preachers.

3. All appointments to congregations, which shall be provisional for the first year, shall be made in consultation with the Kirk Sessions.

4. Resident Lay Preachers are entitled to the statutory notice of termination of contract. Termination can only be determined by the Committee. Resident Lay Preachers must give statutory notice of termination of contract.

5. The Congregation shall provide the Lay Preacher with a house free of charge which shall always be included in the certified Triennial Return on the condition of congregational property; and before a new appointment is made a report on the house, certifying that all needed repairs or replacements have been carried out or arranged for, shall be transmitted to the Committee through the Presbytery of the bounds.

6. When a Lay Preacher’s duties involve travel and other expenses, the Congregation shall make such contributions towards his expenses as may seem reasonable and possible.

7. The Congregation shall pay such assessment in respect of the Lay Preacher’s salary as may be approved by the General Assembly.

8. A Lay Preacher appointed to a vacant congregation, or settled charge, shall only be permitted to engage in other employment provided, and as long as, the Presbytery and Kirk Session are satisfied that such employment will in no way hinder or conflict with the discharge of the duties he is expected to undertake in his capacity as a Lay Preacher.

9. A Lay Preacher may be transferred from one sphere of work to another at the Committee’s discretion, after due intimation to the Kirk Session and Presbyteries concerned. He is required to take his Disjunction Certificate with him in order that his name be added to the Roll of the Congregation.

10. Removal expenses from one sphere to another shall be met by the Committee.

11. A Resident Lay Preacher shall receive a salary equivalent to three quarters of the Equal Dividend in any one year. Should he take up other employment, as permitted by paragraph 8, he must immediately inform the Committee, and, if necessary, an appropriate adjustment in salary will be made.

12. Congregations having the services of a Resident Lay Preacher shall meet the expenses incurred for Supply when he is on holiday, up to a maximum of four weeks. Holiday entitlement accrues from month to month.

13. If a Lay Preacher be unfit for duty through illness, he shall forthwith:

(a) Take action as prescribed by Law for securing (i) benefit in respect of National Health Insurance, and (ii) any pension or other benefit provided by Law. After deduction of out-of pocket expenses directly related to the illness, the balance of National Health Insurance must be forwarded to the General Treasurer, together with intimation of the gross amount received.

(b) Give intimation of his illness to the Committee and the Clerk of Presbytery.

14. If a Lay Preacher’s absence from duty shall extend beyond four successive Sabbaths, the Committee may require him to submit himself to examination by a Medical Officer selected and paid by the Committee, in order to a report being furnished to the Committee as to the prospect of the Preacher’s return to duty.

15. If a Lay Preacher shall continue unfit for duty by reason of illness for more than twelve months, it shall be competent in their discretion for the Committee to allocate such grant to the Preacher, on compassionate grounds, as the Committee may think fit.

16. The Committee shall be responsible for the Lay Preacher’s salary.

17. The Pension Scheme for Ministers, Professors and Lay Preachers as detailed in Act XX, 1978, and subsequent amending Acts applies.

18. The above Regulations shall take effect from the close of the 1979 Assembly with respect to all Resident Lay Preachers on the Roll of Lay Preachers, as well as those who may be placed upon it in future.


1. An application by a Kirk Session for a Resident Lay Preacher will be considered, provided a suitable house free of charge is available, and the congregation is prepared to meet the assessment in respect of the Preacher’s salary approved by the General Assembly, in the case of (a) a vacant congregation unable to have a settled minister, or to link with a neighbouring charge, and (b) a settled charge where simultaneous services are held in widely separated districts within the congregational bounds. Each application shall be made on a prescribed schedule obtainable from the Free Church Offices.

2. In the event of a Lay Preacher being transferred from one congregation to another, the Kirk Session of the congregation from which he is transferred shall make fresh application, if a replacement is desired.

3. Exceptional cases may be considered on their merits with regard to the interests of the Church and the state of the Funds at the disposal of the Committee.

4. Every application must be made by the Kirk Session and transmitted to the Committee through the Presbytery.