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Principle and Principal

Where are our principles as a Church? What are our standards? Do we get them from the business world or do we get them from Jesus? He had disciples, his followers with various gifts, and he called some of them to leadership roles. Two of them asked if they could have seats on the right and left of Jesus in his Kingdom. That’s not the way it is to be with you, said Jesus, and it all ended up with the first being last. You sense there was to be something of equality in the Church that lay ahead, at least in the Presbyterian one!

Jump some years forward to clergy in the Church of Scotland. Some in “big important” charges were paid more than “less experienced, less busy” charges. Then one day we reached an amicable compromise, a short sliding scale and then all ministers from five years onwards were paid the same. You could say we were relative equals, regardless of size of charge or workload. Yet in true Animal Farm style, it seems that some are more equal than others, still.

The Church of Scotland is looking for a new Principal Clerk of the General Assembly, with salary rising to £69,639 (yes, that’s nearly seventy grand!). The Church is looking for an experienced Church of Scotland minister for this role – one, it seems, who is worth two of the rest of us!

Look at the qualities required for this Principal…

o Experienced in leading change

o Able to deal with sensitive and challenging work, including conflict

o Strong intellect, wisdom, experience, and sound judgment

o Bring insights and foster good relationships

o Know the law of the Kirk and be knowledgeable of the Kirk

o A credible and visible leader

o Command respect, approachable, calm and sympathetic

o Excellent presentation skills to share vision

Tell me, are these not qualities expected of every minister?

The Principal Clerk is such an “important role” yet there are many ministers who have left “important roles” elsewhere to serve the Church as ordained ministers, none of whom (within my earshot) have ever thought they should be paid double because of the experience they bring to the role.

All of this happens whilst in the distant background my congregation has received its M&M for 2022 of some £95,000 – that’s almost enough for me and the Principal Clerk! But our income has been hit extremely hard for two years running and a third in prospect, with NO financial help centrally. Then this advert appears. It is an affront to hard-pushed congregations and to hard-working clergy – it would be at any time, but even more so at these challenging times.

This Reform website and blog has for years advocated a cap for salaries and will continue to press for a solid PRINCIPLE rather than an overpaid PRINCIPAL.

If you think you deserve double what the rest of us get then good luck in your application!

And the best part of all this? You only have to work 35 hours a week! Smashing, let’s all apply!

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Unknown member
Nov 28, 2021

So, that's 30 hours a week more than you do.

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