Church selects Principal Clerk Designate

The Church of Scotland is pleased to announce the selection of the Principal Clerk Designate following a recruitment process which was completed earlier this week.

The successful candidate is Rev Dr George Whyte, who is the current clerk to the Presbytery of Edinburgh. Dr Whyte has also been assisting as Depute to the current Principal Clerk since 2011.

George Whyte stairs
Rev Dr George Whyte with Prince Edward at the 2014 Heart and Soul Festival.

He will now be presented to commissioners at the General Assembly in May as the preferred candidate, when they will be invited to confirm his appointment.

Reacting to his selection, Dr Whyte said he was delighted to be offered the position. “I am honoured to have been chosen by the selection panel. If the Assembly approves my appointment, I will seek to work collaboratively with colleagues across the Church as together we face up to the challenges of our day.”

Dr Whyte trained at the University of Glasgow, before his ordination in 1981 as minister of Kilchrenan and Dalvich with Muckairn Argyll. He has also been minister at Langside in Glasgow and Colinton in Edinburgh, before taking on the role as Presbytery Clerk in Edinburgh in 2008.

He was Convener of the Board of Ministry between 1996 and 2000, and received his doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2004.

The role of the Principal Clerk is to act as the Clerk to the General Assembly, which includes advising the Assembly and the Moderator on church law, practice and procedure.

The Principal Clerk also supports the Moderator throughout the year as well as providing training courses and advice on church law and procedures to Kirk Sessions, Presbyteries, ministers and other church bodies.

The current Principal Clerk, Very Rev Dr John Chalmers, will retire from the post this summer.

He said: “I wish George well in this role - he is a man of considerable acumen and vision who will make a valuable contribution to the future life of the Church in these challenging and changing times."

Rev Dr Martin Scott, Secretary to the Council of Assembly, also offered his congratulations to Dr Whyte.

He said “This is an exciting time to be involved in steering a course for the future of our Church, and I am very much looking forward to working with Dr Whyte in the coming months.”

It is anticipated Dr Whyte will take up his post at the start of the General Assembly.