Layman to moderate Inverness Presbytery
Mr. Willie Weatherspoon is making history in the ecclesiastical circles of Inverness Church of Scotland Presbytery. The Kirk elder and former headteacher of Millburn Academy has been installed as Moderator of the Inverness Presbytery.
A presbytery is the geographical grouping of churches in a local area, and the role of moderator can be described as that of "chairman". All ministers (active and retired) and a representative elder from each local church sit on the presbytery; and these meetings are generally open to the public. A new moderator is appointed each year.
Tongue-in-cheek, Mr. Weatherspoon himself has cited one dictionary definition of a moderator as being: "a regulator of hot air". But it is probably safe to say that the former rector's personal qualities, abilities and diplomatic skills will have stood him in good stead both in being selected for the job and also in its persuance.
In the appointment of Mr. Weatherspoon, a "glass ceiling " has been breached. The position of Moderator has, historically, been filled by a minister (clergyman).
Whilst commending Mr. Weatherspoon, Rev. Ian Hamilton (Nairn Old High Church) contextualised his comment by observing: "whether one agrees with laymen being appointed to this office or not."
Though in no way being a symptom of it, the appointment of Mr. Weatherspoon takes place amongst the general and growing crisis concerning lack of clergy. In the Church of Scotland (and not just the Church of Scotland) there is evidence of the clergy/laity divide being threatened on many fronts.
Is the clergy/laity divide biblical?