Cumbernauld and Kilsyth congregations face wait for new ministers

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Congregations in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth could wait up to six months before new ministers are appointed, the Church of Scotland admitted.

Last year saw two ministers leave their charges in the town and their churches are having to rely on locum cover to compensate.

This was sparked by the departure of the Rev Elinor Gordon from Kildrum Parish Church and the Rev Catriona Ogilvie from Cumbernauld Old Parish Church.

In addition, St Mungo’s has been without a full-time minister of its own for several years, in what is viewed by the Kirk as an extreme example of this shortfall.

And Falkirk Presbytery which is responsible for finding replacements admits that no new appointments are in sight.

The Presbytery’s Ivar Struthers said: “I am afraid there is nothing to report.

“We hope that the situation at St Mungo’s won’t be the case with Catriona and Elinor’s appointments.

“Any progress, at least any we can go public about, is likely to be realised in the longer, rather than shorter term.

“That’s just the nature of things in terms of how the Church of Scotland works and is not peculiar to Cumbernauld.”

Meanwhile, over at Burns and Old Parish Church, Reverend James Patrick, is currently in Australia after a temporary return from South Africa, where he lived for three decades.

Locum cover has had to be arranged as Mr Patrick admits he is undecided as to whether he’ll be back.

He added: “The Church of Scotland needs to get its act together and streamline its procedures so churches are not let in the lurch like a sheep without a shepherd.”