A FORMER Edinburgh minister has been chosen to take over the most senior permanent post in the Church of Scotland next year.
The Rev John Chalmers, who was minister of Palmerston Place Church at the West End for nine years, will become principal clerk when the Very Rev Dr Finlay Macdonald retires next summer.
He will ensure the smooth running of the Kirk's annual General Assembly; give advice throughout the year to local presbyteries on how to handle difficult cases; draft new church legislation; and support moderators.
Mr Chalmers, 57, who is currently pastoral adviser in the ministry department at Kirk headquarters at 121 George Street, said: "I'm excited by the challenge and approach it with quite some fear and trepidation."
His appointment coincides with the creation of another senior post – the secretary to the Council of Assembly will take over some of the principal clerk's previous responsibility for co-ordinating the church's work across departments.
Mr Chalmers's post will be confirmed at the General Assembly in May and he will take over formally when Dr Macdonald steps down after 13 years in the role.