Minister in ‘bully’ claims quits church

Sandi McGill has quit following bullying allegations. Picture: Contributed
Sandi McGill has quit following bullying allegations. Picture: Contributed
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A FORMER minister who was suspended by the Church of Scotland amid bullying claims has resigned – after alleged delays in handling her case.

Sandi McGill, who previously led the conjoined parishes of Torphichen and Avonbridge, left the ministry in March.

The decision came after the Evening News revealed in May last year that Ms McGill had been removed from her post while Kirk chiefs probed accusations which, it is understood, related to bullying and harassment of churchgoers.

It has also been alleged that the Church did nothing to deal with the issues over the course of almost a year. Ms McGill said in a written statement: “I resigned from the ministry of the Church of Scotland in order to move beyond the circumstances presented and to start up in business with Araidh am Services as an Independent Celebrant and Events Manager so that I could continue to minister to people at the important moments of life.

“I have very little to say otherwise other than that this has always been the ‘work’/‘ministry’ that has been and continues to be important to me and in which my reputation as a professional and compassionate ‘minister’ precedes me so that I am gaining engagements and good feedback/reviews.

“What transpired in West Lothian Presbytery was a sad situation that left me not wanting to be a minister of the church. Most of what needed to be conveyed to anyone interested has been done so by others through the ‘Free The Torphichen One’ Facebook page.”

Prior to joining the Kirk, Ms McGill, who grew up in Paisley, spent nine years with the Women’s Royal Naval Service, travelling widely and developing expertise in the field of public relations.

After returning to Scotland and securing an honours degree in divinity from Glasgow University, she was installed as minister for the parishes of Uddingston Burnhead and St Nicholas’ Cardonald, before moving to Avonbridge and Torphichen.

Ms McGill is an associate member of the Iona Community and well known for her interest in justice and peace issues, as well as her support for nuclear disarmament.

Shortly after leaving Torphichen, she was invited back to receive the award of Joint Citizen of the Year. Church officials declined to comment on allegations of delays in handling her case.

A spokeswoman said: “On March 17, Ms Sandi McGill demitted both her charge of Avonbridge with Torphichen and her status as a minister of the Church of Scotland. She has decided to move away from the area and seek new opportunities in different types of work. The Church wishes her well for the future.”