Layman to moderate Inverness Presbytery

C of S logoMr. 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.

For discussion:
Is the clergy/laity divide biblical?

Mike (Guest) 13/09/2007 19:12
Whilst there is a clear (and biblical) requirement for servant leadership in the church of Jesus Christ, the clergy/laity distinction is not only unbiblical, but has served from the time of the 3rd century to impede and cripple the work of the Gospel and the Kingdom. The arch enemy of God's people must be laughing his head off at the sight of so many "side-lined" saints consigned to the trainer's bench by ecclesiastical elitism and a heirarchical system.
Peter Carr 13/09/2007 20:29
So true, it is sad when Christians do the devils work for him!
Douglas Somerset (Guest) 31/05/2011 17:36
The office of the ministry is biblical. It does not
date from the third century. Christ has ordained
that 'those who preach the gospel should live of the
gospel' (1 Cor. 9:14). In other words, there is to be
an order of men who are paid for the work of preaching.
It is generally considered appropriate, for obvious reasons, that it is these people who should moderate in the courts of Christ's Church.
Fred Maclennan (Guest) 31/05/2011 19:13
"The office of the ministry is biblical."

There is no such thing as THE ministry. Everyone should have A ministry.

Those who 'preach the Gospel' might better describe full-time evangelists and NOT pastors.

There is no 'minister' that I know whose full-time work is preaching. And additionally Paul (on occasions) worked to support himeself.

"It is generally considered appropriate"
It may be but what we are talking about is what is 'bibllical'

"that those people shold moderate in the courts of Christ's church"
Could you say what the 'courts of Christ's church are'?
Surely you are not referring to synods and all the other paraphernalia of current religious structures?

Plural male leadership is the biblical model.

I'm sorry Douglas you are describing the present sene which is unbiblical and is collapsing.
Martin Lisemore 31/05/2011 22:50
Fred, you are right in saying the present model of the church is collapsing. I would go much further, and that after many years of study, and say the Roman model of a sacrificing priesthood - one endowed by the church with all the offices and gifts (?) - has never worked and cannot work. It is not one instituted by, and guaranteed by, Christ. Therefore it is not a valid New Testament Assembly.

All churches, except Pentecostals, are daughters, or at best, cousins of Rome and therefore infected with the same priest centred religion, where the Apostolic church was, and should be, Christ centred.

Let me say, I am no longer a Pentecostal, and haven't been for more than twenty years, but they are the only ones who have come to Christ through a direct and distinct move of the Holy Spirit.

The present model of church relies upon superstition, cultism and witch craft for it's survival, and always has. In the more secular time in which we now live, people question so much more, and it is healthy that they do. The fact church attendance is greatly diminishing is largely down to this fact.

I pray those who have rejected the institutional church, as I have, will come to meet Christ, as I did, and that without the baggage the churches put upon them - legalisms, denominational biases etc.

Jesus said, the truth shall set you free, and denominations load us up with baggage to enslave us.

Peter, I apologise to you because you are an excellent man in a denomination, a man I admire. But my opinions, after forty years of religion, stand.

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