SEVERAL Inverclyde congregations will be affected after Church of Scotland leaders approved a reduction in the number of ministers and full-time workers such as deacons from 56 to 41.
Among the Part of the Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley plan will mean St. Margaret’s Church, Greenock, which has not had its own minister for two years, is expected to unite with St. Ninian’s, Larkfield, creating one church, but they have been given the right to call a minister until the union can be created.
The “New Charge Development” in the East End of Greenock will link or unite with the Mount Kirk in two years time.
Port Glasgow will see a union of St. Martin’s with Hamilton Bardrainney with the Rev. Archie Speirs of St. Martin’s as the minister. The Rev. James Munro of Hamilton Bardrainney, who retires early next year, spoke against the plan and Alexander Smith, his Session Clerk, who also expressed his opposition was the only person to register his dissent from the final decision to approve the plan
Inverkip and Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay have already been linked and are now looking for a minister and the three West End churches in Greenock have already united.
The Presbytery Plan was the culmination of two years of intensive consultation by a committee set up to map out how the presbytery would achieve the reduction in numbers was set by the General Assembly of the church. For many years the Kirk has been drawing on reserves to pay ministers and the church agreed in 2010 to reduce the numbers of full-time ministers from around 1,200 to 800 throughout Scotland. Every presbytery was then allocated their share of ministers based on population and had to draw up a plan indicating how they would, over a period of 10 years, be able to get down to their number.
Presbytery moderator, the Rev. Stuart Steell of Renfrew Trinity Church, paid warm tribute to the convenor of the committee, the Rev. Andrew MacLean of Port Glasgow for the hard work he had done. Mr. MacLean had himself been part of the adjustments, having taken on Langbank parish as well as his existing charge of St. Andrew’s.