Act 24, 2003 (XXIV) – Act anent Pastoral Committees in Presbyteries and Related Matters. 22nd May 2003. (As amended by Act 12, 2013 (XII) – Act anent Pastoral Committees in Presbyteries and Other Purposes)

The General Assembly, recognising the pressures under which the work of the ministry has to be carried out in today’s society and the problems faced by many ministers and their wives and families, appoint the following steps to be taken to relieve or avoid the consequences of stress as far as possible:

1.1 The General Assembly instruct each Presbytery to appoint a Committee with the responsibility for making suitable provision for guidance and counselling to ministers within the bounds of the presbytery or their wives and families whenever necessary. Such Committee may be known as the Pastoral Committee and shall have power to co-opt or consult suitable persons out-with the membership of the Presbytery to obtain their advice or assistance as may be required. Ministers and their families shall be encouraged to consult with this Committee in situations of personal need. This Committee should be advised of cases of sickness and domestic difficulties so as to permit them to take the initiative in offering and providing necessary support for the minister and his family. The Committee shall report at least once a year in general terms to the Presbytery.

1.2 The General Assembly instruct each Presbytery to appoint to their Pastoral Committees a minister of Presbytery with special responsibility to oversee mentoring arrangements of ministers within their bounds. Presbytery Clerks should inform the Clerk of the Personnel Committee of any changes to Mentoring Coordinator appointments. Such a member shall be known as the Presbytery Mentoring Co-ordinator and he shall have responsibilities in the following areas:

1.2.1 Establishing Mentoring Partnerships It shall be the Mentoring Co-ordinator’s role to liaise with new ministers and recommend to Presbytery an individual who might best suit the needs of mentoring new ministers in the Presbytery.

1.2.2 Support for Mentors Mentoring Co-ordinators will be offered more specialised training under the supervision of the Personnel Committee and Board of Ministry, to enable them to more adequately carry out their remit of supporting those involved in mentoring in their own Presbytery.

1.2.3 Support for Line Managers Mentoring Co-ordinators will make the same training and support available to those involved in supervising Presbytery Workers, or to congregational auxiliary workers if such support is desired.

1.2.4 Supervision Mentoring Co-ordinators will supervise mentoring relationships, to identify weaknesses or failings in the mentoring process.

1.2.5 Post-mentoring Evaluation Mentoring Co-ordinators shall liaise with mentors around the end of mentoring relationships, and take time to evaluate the overall experience from both mentor’s and mentee’s perspectives.

1.2.6 Reporting The Mentoring Co-ordinator shall, from time to time, report to the Presbytery on general state of mentoring relationships, and propose any changes should they be required.

2. The Presbytery, before the ordination and induction of a minister to his first pastoral charge, shall appoint a senior minister of considerable pastoral experience to be his mentor. The new minister will meet regularly with the Mentor during the first three years of his ministry to discuss difficulties and problems. During the first year these visits should be very frequent, e.g. monthly: thereafter they may be less frequent. The Mentor shall report to the presbytery in general terms from time to time and in the event of a Quinquennial Visitation falling within the period, the Quinquennial Visitation Committee may discuss with him any matters of relevance to their enquiries. The Mentor may be changed at any time during the three-year period at the request of either party.

3. Presbyteries shall not normally appoint ministers in the first three years of their ministry to be moderator of presbytery or to hold interim moderatorships. In the event of exceptional circumstances making it necessary to appoint such a minister to an interim moderatorship, such appointment shall be for a year only with the opportunity for renewal at the end of the year if the same circumstances obtain: in such cases the Presbytery, when making or renewing such an appointment, shall record in their minutes the reasons for their doing so.

4. Ministers of Church Extension and Redevelopment Charges and in Church Planting appointments shall not be appointed to interim moderatorships during the first five years of their appointments except in special circumstances; and when such circumstances are deemed to exist, the details should be recorded as in § 4 above and reported to the supervising Assembly Committee.

5. A minister shall not normally be appointed a member of an Assembly committee during the first three years of his ministry. Where under exceptional circumstances a minister is nominated for such an appointment during the first three years of his ministry, the Nominations Committee shall record the reasons in their minutes, and the circumstances shall be reported to the General Assembly.


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The General Assembly, noting that annual statutory meetings of Provincial Synods have been suspended since 2009 General Assembly, and that the reduced number of Presbyteries in the Church has resulted in this tier of Church government becoming largely redundant, and desiring therefore that Provincial Synods be dissolved and removed …
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