The Vacancy

As we have now had a little time to contemplate Dr Whitley’s imminent retirement, we must also contemplate the process by which we will find a new Minister for the Cathedral.

Thankfully this is a process, which has been well defined by the Kirk, and so if we understand and follow the procedures that have been put in place, it should not be so daunting a task as might first be imagined. The way that we will go about the search for a new Minister is set down in the Law of the Church, in the form of: The Vacancy Procedure Act (Act VIII 2003).

Although now almost 15 years old, Act VIII has been amended many times over the years to keep abreast with changes within the fabric of Church life, such as Act I 2015 Ministers and Deacons in Civil Partnerships and Same Sex Marriages. If you wish to consider the act in its entirety it is available via the Church of Scotland Website (

One might think that those who drafted the legislation were somewhat conversant with the old proverb: Marry in haste, repent at leisure. The process by which we will search for a new Minister has many steps, and the potential to take up to two years to complete. It should be stressed however that this timing is a maximum, and we should expect to complete the process considerably before. However, please do not expect a new incumbent by the end of the summer, or even by Christmas.

The first steps are not up to us to initiate. Once the Presbytery Clerk is aware that a vacancy has arisen, (and he has) in consultation with the Moderator of the Glasgow Presbytery, a Vacancy Procedure Committee, consisting of five persons will be appointed. There are specific rules about who may serve on this committee, but basically (as far as we are concerned) none of the members may have any connection with the Cathedral. This committee has been formed and has met, and they have appointed an Interim Moderator, The Reverend David Easton.

The Interim Moderator has a dual role to discharge. On the one hand, being the Presbytery’s appointee, the Interim Moderator is expected to help in representing the views of the Presbytery to us. On the other hand, as our minister after the 9th of July, the Interim Moderator may be called on to help in representing our views to Presbytery. The Interim Moderator acts with all the powers and authority of an inducted minister, even where the regular preaching and pastoral aspects of ministry are delivered by a Locum.

On the subject of a Locum, we are fortunate to have with us Rev Edmund Jones who is willing to take the regular worship in the Cathedral for the summer. We are very appreciative of his offer. In terms of correct procedure, it is the responsibility of the Kirk Session to source and appoint a Locum. As those appointed as Interim Moderators often have charges of their own, it would not be expected that they will fulfil all of the duties of the minister of the Cathedral. The Session, together with the Interim Moderator will meet to consider possible candidates for a Locum Minister over the summer.

If during this period you are in need of pastoral care, please contact your Elder who will have been given instructions as to the correct person to contact. If an emergency arises, then any of the Session Clerks or the Cathedral office should be contacted.