Shamed minister returns to the fold after suspension

Career resumes for trainee

THE trainee minister dumped by church leaders after being caught in a brothel has been allowed to resume his career in the ministry.

The Rev. Alex Shuttleworth will return to the pulpit next month as assistant minister at Tulliallan and Kincardine Parish Church.

The former DJ was disgraced three years ago when the seedy sauna in Kirkcaldy was raided by detectives from the vice squad.

Minutes earlier he had paid a woman 60, but no sexual act had taken place. He was only spared the ordeal of a court appearance when the sauna owner later admitted living on the earnings of prostitutes.

The scandal rocked members of Zetland Parish Church in Grange-mouth where he regularly preached and Falkirk Presbytery suspended him "without limit of time".

But now the married dad-of-three from Airth has been given a second chance by the Kirk which has cleared the way for him to complete his training in Kincardine under the supervision of husband and wife ministers Jock and Margaret Stein.

Mr Stein admitted he had known nothing about his new trainee's background before he met him for the first time in the summer, but that he was "looking forward very much" to working with him.

He said: "The Gospel is about forgiveness. Alex will be treated like any other probationer in our charge.

''The kirk session has discussed the situation with me and is 100 per cent behind his coming here. I'm satisfied I should have no concerns and that he will be welcomed by our congregation."

Falkirk Presbytery clerk the Rev. Ian Black said the suspension had been lifted in March.

He added: "Mr Shuttleworth and his family had remained under our pastoral care and it was as a result of that process that the suspension was reviewed and then lifted. We advised the Church of Scotland Board of our decision and it was agreed by them that he should be allowed to complete his training."

This week Mr Shuttleworth said he had no comment to make.