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Act 26, 2004 (XXVI) – Act anent Admission of Ministers from Non-Presbyterian Churches. 20th May 2004. (As amended by Act 35, 2005 (XXXV) – Act anent Admission of Ministers and Probationers from other Churches)

The General Assembly, having regard to the need for clearly defined procedures with reference to the admission of Ministers or Probationers from other denominations, hereby ordain as follows:

1 Authority to grant any such application lies solely with the General Assembly.

2 All such applications must be made, in the first instance, to the Presbytery within whose bounds the applicant has his ordinary residence; or, if the applicant’s residence be not within a Presbytery of this Church, it shall be made to a Presbytery to whose members the applicant is well known.

3 All applications shall be made on an official Schedule of Application drafted by the Training of the Ministry and Admissions Committee and shall be accompanied by a certificate of good standing from the church or denomination with which the applicant is connected.

4 This Schedule shall be in two parts, one part to be completed by the Applicant and the other by the Presbytery, and attested by their Clerk. As well as containing requests for such information from the applicant and the Presbytery as the Admissions Committee deems appropriate, this schedule shall require (a) that the applicant indicate his willingness to subscribe to the questions put to licentiates, these questions being incorporated in full in the Schedule; and (b) that the Presbytery state that they are satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person to hold a ministerial charge in the Free Church of Scotland.

5 The Presbytery shall transmit the completed Schedule of Application to the Training of the Ministry and Admissions Committee; and the Clerk of the Committee, on receipt of the application, shall inform all Presbytery Clerks, stating the name and denominational affiliation of the minister concerned and advising them that the application will be disposed of by the General Assembly.

6 Before considering an application for admission to the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland, the Admissions Committee shall (a) obtain a report from one of the Committee’s panel of medical examiners on the applicant’s state of health and medical fitness for the ministry and (b) satisfy itself that the applicant has made appropriate disclosure in terms of the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003 and Police Act 1997 or any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof for the time being in force.

7 The Committee shall arrange to interview the applicant. Through this interview the Committee shall:

7.1 Assure itself that the minister is prepared to give an unqualified subscription to the Formula; and to do so in accordance with the explanation as to ‘Purity of Worship’ required by Act V, 1932.

7.2 Satisfy itself that the minister’s educational qualifications and professional training are comparable to those required of applicants for Licence by the Free Church of Scotland.

7.3 Ensure that the minister has such a knowledge of the Practice of the Free Church of Scotland as to render him a competent person to act as Moderator of a Kirk Session and to assume the responsibilities which normally fall upon Free Church ministers in the courts of the Church.

7.4 Ascertain that the minister is fully committed to maintaining the peace and unity of this Church and does not hold opinions or follow practices likely to be divisive.

8 The Committee, having interviewed the applicant and considered all aspects of the application (including the medical report) shall forward the Application Schedule to the Assembly Clerk together with an Extract Minute detailing the Committee’s recommendation in relation to the application.