THE number of people accepted to train as a minister is at a nine-year high, the Church of Scotland has revealed.
A total of 31 people have been welcomed by the Kirk this year - the largest intake since 2007.
Of that number, 14 men and seven women are training for full-time ministry and five men and four women are training to be Ordained Local Ministers (OLM), and one man is training to be a Deacon.
Since the Kirk launched its Tomorrow’s Calling campaign at May’s General Assembly, a series of promotional films about parish ministry have been viewed more than 100,000 times on social media.
Reverend Neil Glover, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Ministries Council, said he was “thrilled” by the level of interest.
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The minister at Flemington-Hallside Parish Church in Glasgow said: “Ministers and the churches they lead are at the heart of communities all over Scotland.
“And with so many retiring in the next ten years, the Church needs people to lead the next generation of churches that will be different because of the changing nature of modern Scotland.
“The relationship between the Church and Scotland has changed radically over the last few decades.
“People are connecting less with the kinds of Church service that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. However, they do still want to explore what it means to be spiritual, to find out more about the Christian faith, and the message of Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.”
Mr Glover said ministers played a key role in many communities across Scotland and further afield.
“They are trusted confidants, social activists and people who lead meaningful worship Sunday after Sunday,” he added.
“What we have discovered through Tomorrow’s Calling is that there are still many people, including many young people, who sense that this may be their calling in life, and we are delighted to explore that calling with them.”