Church recruitment crisis to be tackled

Can recruitment campaigns bring the vacancy gap
Can recruitment campaigns bring the vacancy gap

A dire shortage in the number of priests and ministers in Scotland’s church has led to religious recruitment drives.

Both the Catholic Church and The Church of Scotland have issued fresh online and video campaigns in an attempt to attract more people to train for vocations in the church.

Both faiths say that, in just a few years, there will not be enough new clergymen and women to replace those who will be retiring.

However, local religious figures have welcomed the move to recruit more into ministry.

Rev. Robert Allan, Falkirk Presbytery Clerk said: “It’s a very timely campaign.

“Over the next five or 10 years, there will be a lot of people retiring and there is not the number of people coming through to fill those vacancies.

“We definitely are stretched at the moment.

“By the end of the year in Falkirk, we will have 12 vacancies out of 32 charges.

“We are lucky in that we have retired ministers who are willing to help out, but this recruitment drive is definitely a positive move.”

In 2013, the Church of Scotland received just 11 applications for the ministry, a record low. In the Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, which covers Falkirk, said it believe the number of priests in active ministry will fall from 50 to 33 by 2020.

A spokesman said: “Archbishop Leo Cushley is clear that the only answer to a shortage of priests is more priests. It’s that simple.

“He’s confident the general upturn in priestly vocations in many parts of the Western world will be reflected in Scotland.”