An Aberdeen minister has been selected as the first moderator of the Church of Scotland’s newest presbytery.
Reverend Jane Barron said she is “delighted” to be taking up the role at the Fife Presbytery’s inaugural meeting today, which is being held online due to current Covid-19 restrictions.
Her principal role is to chair meetings of the body which is a merger of the presbyteries of St Andrews, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
It is part of a wider reform effort underway across the Church of Scotland. The goal is to reduce the number of Scottish presbyteries, from more than 40 to around 12.
Ms Barron studied divinity at Aberdeen University and trained at Queen’s Cross Church under Reverend Bob Brown, the predecessor of the current minister, Reverend Scott Rennie.
She served as a minister at St Machar’s Cathedral in 2011.
Three years in the planning, Fife Presbytery is part of a wider reform programme to ensure that the church operates more effectively and efficiently.
Ms Barron said: “I’m delighted to be part of a new team commissioned to care, challenge, resource, trust and sustain one another across the three historic areas marked by monarchs, martyrs and economists, and follow Jesus in the 21st century.
“We are working to be freed of outlived ways, put the mission at our very heart – and pray Christ’s invitation ‘Come, follow me’, recovers anew its edgy, risky, exciting, compassionate love’s call.”
Ms Barron lives in Fife and is currently the locum minister at Ceres, Kemback and Springfield churches.
Across Scotland, the church is streamlining its presbytery structures to ensure it is lean and fit for growth.
The General Assembly of 2019 approved a plan which will see the number of presbyteries in Scotland reduced from 43 to around 12.
The Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland was formed on June 1, 2020, with around 300 people tuning in to the first service of the partnership of churches in June last year.
Due to social distancing restrictions and the Covid-19 pandemic, a celebratory service marking the merger of the two presbyteries could not be held in person.
Discussions are underway to form a new Presbytery of the north-east of Scotland, which would include Aberdeen and Shetland, part of Moray, Kincardine and Deeside, Gordon, Buchan and Orkney next year.
If it goes ahead, it would come to the 2022 General Assembly and be implemented from January 2023.