The Vacancy – What Happens Next

We are now at the stage in the process where the Vacancy Nominating Committee has received applications, interviewed candidates, visited other churches to hear candidates preach, and come to an decision on a Sole Nominee. As intimated in the letter from the Interim Moderator, Rev David Easton, the Sole Nominee is the Rev Mark E Johnstone. All of the steps taken to date, and those, which remain, are laid down in the Church’s Vacancy Procedure Act (ACT VIII 2003). If you wish to consult the act it can be found on the Church of Scotland Website.

Currently we are at the step in the procedure where it falls upon the Kirk Session to revise the Electoral Roll. The roll is largely based on the Communion Roll, but also includes those who are Adherents to the Cathedral. Adherents are defined as individuals who regularly attend services in the Cathedral but are not members of any other Church. In order to vote on whether to accept the Sole Nominee your name must appear on the Electoral Roll.

The Electoral Roll was created last year prior to the election of the Vacancy Nominating Committee, and under the regulations as more than six months have elapsed it must be brought up to date. If you are a Member of the Cathedral you are on the Electoral Roll. Similarly if you are an Adherent and applied to be included last year, your name will be on the Electoral roll. If you are unsure of your inclusion you have the opportunity to ask the Session Clerk to check on your behalf. This can be done in person following the morning service on the 13th of January and on the 20th of January. You may also use the contact form to check. If you are not on the roll, and feel you should be, the Session Clerk will assist you to apply to be included.

The next step in the procedure, and perhaps from the Congregation’s point of view the most important, will take place on the 3rd of February at 11:00. This is when Rev Mark Johnstone will conduct public worship in Glasgow Cathedral.

It is vitally important that all members and adherents attend, first to hear Rev Johnstone preach, and then, following the service, to vote on whether to accept him as our Minister. The ballot will take place immediately following this service and you must attend personally to be able to vote. The vote will be done by secret ballot, where the choice presented will be whether you are for or against electing Rev Mark Johnstone as the minister.

Once everyone present whose name appears on the Electoral Roll has had the opportunity to cast his or her ballot, the Interim Moderator will constitute a meeting of the Kirk Session. It is expected that this will happen immediately, however it must happen within 24 hours of the close of voting. At this meeting, and in the presence of the Kirk Session, the Interim Moderator will count the ballots. Based on the results of the ballot, the Interim Moderator will then either declare the Sole Nominee to be elected, or declare that there has been a failure to elect. A failure to elect will occur if the number of votes cast against is equal to or greater than the number cast for.

In the event of an election:

Working on the assumption that Rev Johnstone will continue to agree to be our Minister if elected, the next step in the process is to Subscribe the Call.

The Call is a document, which is signed by as many of those who are Members and Adherents of the Cathedral as possible. It is our opportunity to communicate our individual support for the choice we’ve made.  This document will be made available for you to sign over a period of eight days following the election. It is expected as many as possible will sign the Call immediately following the election, however it will be available for signing by those who were not able to attend on the day.

If you are unable to attend the Cathedral to sign in person, you may ask any Elder to add your name to the call. There is a document called a “Mandate to add to the Call” which you can download here. You can either post it to the Cathedral Office, or email it back to mandate (at) Elders will have copies of this document and you may ask for assistance from any member of the Session, or call the Cathedral Office on 0141 552 8198.

If you are neither a member, nor adherent, but you wish to add your support to the Call, there is one additional document called the Paper of Concurrence that is available along with The Call and to which you can add your name.

One final word on the process:

Please to not think that adding your name to The Call is just a formality that does not really matter. The Call will be considered by Presbytery and if they feel the number of signatures on The Call is not representative of the overall size of the Cathedral Congregation, they have the power to either send it back to us to obtain additional names, take the decision that we are not serious about our choice and have to start all over again, or appoint a Minister of their choice. Please take the opportunity to add your name.