Church appoints its first Gap year students

Five gap year students are set to become the first people to take part in a ground-breaking volunteer programme run by the Church of Scotland.

The aim of the Volunteering Vocations programme is to encourage young people taking a gap to consider serving the Church as a career, and even to look at Ministry as an option. The volunteers will participate for 10 months and during their 'gap year with God,' get an idea of what it is to be involved in the life of the church and its congregation.

Aged from 17 to 23 years old, the three female and two male applicants, will be placed in groups of two or three with churches in the Presbytery of Angus and the Presbytery of Glasgow, from the beginning of September. During their ten month voluntary work they will be living in the community they are serving, which will include some of the most deprived areas in the country.

Three of them will be based at St Andrew's Church in Arbroath. The other two will be sent to Glasgow as volunteers and will work alongside four young adult volunteers from the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America.

Reverend Martin Fair, who's minister at St Andrews's Church in Arbroath, said it would help the volunteers decide what to do with their lives and hopefully lead them to think about whether or not they are called to serve the church.

Mr Fair said "We are looking forward to welcoming these bright young people into the congregations and the communities they will be coming to. We are looking forward to what they will bring with them and it is also about what we can offer them as well. There is no other way than by tasting and seeing in helping you decide whether your vocation is calling you and our volunteering programme will help them all to hopefully realise their calling."

Volunteers will work with children and young people, getting involved in community and outreach projects helping those with addiction and alcohol problems and mental health issues, as well as the more generalised pastoral work of the church, during their ten months.

The Volunteers Programme has been funded by the Sir Duncan Carmichael Trust.