The Church of Scotland will take steps to pay trainee ministers. The General Assembly voted in favour of the plan as part of a discussion of the Ministries Council report.
The council had urged that more support for trainees is needed to attract new candidates to the ministry. Speakers expressed concern that education debt and lack of income during training would deter young people from pursuing their vocations.
Rev Professor David Fergusson of Edinburgh University said a concrete plan for a stipend would help in recruiting new ministers, by removing those barriers.
He said it is “simply unfair” to expect candidates to fund themselves for 3-4 years when many have already acquired debts funding themselves through their first degree.
Calling for urgent action he added that the Church has “a duty of care” to those who are effectively trainee ministers and suggested they receive bursaries amounting to 35-40% of a minister’s stipend plus ideally other central funds.
The Church has launched the Tomorrow’s Calling campaign to highlight the work of the ministry and to show the variety of people that Church of Scotland ministers serve.