It is hardly surprising the congregation of Flowerhill Church, Airdrie, sat in "stunned silence" on being told their minister, Rev Gary Caldwell, was being investigated for "dishonesty and bullying" when a source at the Kirk's headquarters in Edinburgh stated "no evidence" of the allegations of "bullying elderly people" had been made ("Church minister in bullying probe", The Herald, November 21).
At the Commission of Assembly, two members from the congregation spoke for about an hour-and-a-half, outlining their disaffection with the situation at Flowerhill. Some complaints were based on heresy and unsubstantiated reports. Hamilton Presbytery had on two previous occasions (on one occasion with assessors from other presbyteries) thoroughly investigated similar complaints and found there was no case to answer.
None of the people your report says will be investigated was allowed to give their version of events at the Commission of Assembly. Indeed the Commission was told no-one was under trial – though appointment of a mentor and assessor elders would seem to suggest some form of discipline was being applied pending the outcome of further investigation.
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The Church of Scotland is undergoing an urgent review of its judicial proceedings. It cannot come too soon. Ministers and elders cannot be assured of justice until the present system, which is biased in favour of complainers, is abolished.
Rev WF Wallace,
29 Station Road, Banchory.
As a fellow minister in Airdrie I have worked with the Rev Gary Caldwell for the past five years and served directly with him in a chaplaincy context for most of that time. I have found him to be a godly man who serves his God and his church with the utmost honesty and integrity. He is a man who is faithful to God and His Word. Far from being a bully, he has been the victim of merciless bullying for almost three years now and has survived only with the help of God and the support of the vast majority of his congregation.
Malcolm Ross, Session Clerk, and Rev Jim Munton are also godly men who are noted in the town as men of integrity who have served the Church of Scotland for several decades, each in an exemplary fashion.
The terrible treatment of these godly men has its roots firmly in the context of the wider political machinations of the Church of Scotland in relation to the acceptance and recognition of homosexual clergy.
Rev Alan McKnight,
Plains Evangelical Church,
9 Moorcroft Drive, Airdrie.
It seems strange the General Synod of the Church of England has rejected women bishops ("Church in turmoil as women bishops proposal fails", The Herald, November 21). Correct me if I am wrong, but the head of the Church of England, the Queen, is a women.
Askomel End, Low Askomil, Campbeltown.