Church of Scotland refuse to reveal reason for sacking of minister

The Kirk have refused to reveal the reason for Stephen Emery's dismissal
The Kirk have refused to reveal the reason for Stephen Emery's dismissal
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A CHURCH of Scotland minister has been sacked from his post following a Kirk investigation into his conduct.

• Rev Stephen Emery has admitted breaking disciplinary rules

• Reverend has opted not to appeal against his dismissal

The Rev Stephen Emery, 45, who is minister of Ellon Parish Church in Aberdeenshire, was placed on temporary suspension in June after allegations were made to his local Presbytery in Gordon.

Kirk authorities have repeatedly refused to disclose the nature of the allegations made against the minister, claiming that they are concerned with a “private internal matter.”

The 45 year-old minister, who was also a chaplain to the Boys’ Brigade and the Air Training Corps, has now been dismissed after admitting that he breached disciplinary rules. Members of his congregation were told of his departure at yesterday’s Sunday service.

A spokesman for the Church of Scotland said: “The Rev Stephen Emery of Ellon Parish Church has been the subject of a disciplinary investigation by Gordon Presbytery for the past few months. We are not going to disclose the nature of the allegations against him as we consider this to be a private internal matter.

“Mr Emery has admitted fault and a Presbyterial Commission meeting in October concluded that he merited censure. It was determined that a suitable sanction was his suspension from all ministry for a period of a year, commencing 9 October 2012. Mr Emery has not taken up the option to appeal the sentence imposed within the necessary timescales so his suspension will stand. Mr Emery will have to apply for a practicing certificate upon expiry of his period of suspension.”

The spokesman continued: “In view of this, the Presbytery is dissolving the pastoral tie between Mr Emery and Ellon Parish. The Presbytery is declaring the parish vacant, and so the congregation will now be able to call another minister. Mr Emery’s National Chaplaincy of the Boys Brigade and his Chaplaincy of the ATC will also cease. His role as Chaplain to the schools in Ellon will naturally come to an end with the decision to declare the Ellon charge vacant.

“The congregation have been informed. The next step will be the appointment of a Vacancy Procedures Committee. In the meantime, the Rev Douglas McNab from Newmachar has been appointed Interim Moderator, and the Rev Eleanor Macalister as locum minister.”