Interim minister takes Ellon services

Services at Ellon Parish Church are being taken by an interim moderator after a colleague was suspended pending an investigation into his conduct.

The Reverend Stephen Emery was told earlier this year to stay away from his duties after authorities received allegations about his behaviour.

Senior clergy from the Presbytery of Gordon began a probe into the claims during the summer.

Concerns were brought to the attention of church leaders before the congregation was informed of the minister’s suspension at a Sunday service in June.

Church of Scotland officials have declined to reveal the specifics of the investigation.

A Kirk spokesman said the probe into the allegations against Mr Emery was continuing and was now nearing completion.

He added that it was not clear at this stage when the local presbytery would hear a report on the circumstances.

In the meantime, the Reverend Iain Thomson, formerly of Skene Parish Church, has been asked to take over ministerial duties at Ellon.

He said in a letter to church members: “I write to you as interim moderator of Ellon Church, having been appointed to this position by the Presbytery of Gordon during the administrative suspension of your minister.

“I recognise that this is an upsetting time for Ellon Church and hope that events will move forward timeously.

“In the meantime I would encourage you to attend worship on a regular basis and pray for God’s blessing and guidance for all involved.

“I am grateful to the team who are helping me by taking the services Sunday by Sunday and by giving pastoral care and support to those in need.”

Mr Emery was ordained in November, 2006, and inducted into Ellon Parish Church the same month.

He studied at the Divinity Faculty of Aberdeen University for five years and was previously a youth worker at Elgin, Fraserburgh, Dufftown and Buckie.

According to the Ellon Parish Church website, he was a “horticulturalist to trade when called to the ministry.”​