Deployment of ministers

The ministries committee brought two resolutions: resolution 28 asked Assembly to note the projection for numbers of stipendiary ministers of word and sacraments likely to be funded from the Ministry and Mission fund until 2025, while resolution 29 was concerned with the formula to be used to allocate ministers to synods.

The URC currently has 393 (stipendiary) ministers of word and statements, but, by 2025 this is predicted to fall by around 40% to 235.

The debate was lively with several speakers asking for more detail on the transitional arrangements mentioned in paragraph 13 of the supporting report. Reassurance was given that, if the resolution passed, the synods would work together on a planned and workable transition from the current ministerial numbers to those outlined in the forecast.

Assembly also asked if consideration could be given to ministers in rural posts and one member questioned the number of stipendiary minsters in Assembly appointed posts and asked if those posts would also be reduced in line with the reductions to ministers in pastoral charge.

Changes were made to the wording of paragraph (c) of resolution 29 thereby delaying any changes to the current formula, until the church had given further consideration to the way in which ministers are deployed, but both resolutions passed by consensus.