Latest reports on the General Assembly

The minister writes-

At the assembly on Monday, perhaps the most surprising occurrence was the Assembly’s enthusiastic backing for a series of reforms to the recruitment and training of ministers proposed, from the floor, by Dr Doug Gay, Principal of Trinity College, at Glasgow University, in spite of some opposition from the Ministries Council. This will see the church embark on a ‘Decade of Ministry’, with the aim of recruiting 30 candidate for ministry training, and 100 church members for training in mission.

Near the start of the day there was vociferous condemnation of discrimination against women, following retiring Moderator Lorna Hood’s speech on Saturday night in which she said she had been told she would be unwelcome in the pulpits of some churches in a Highland presbytery.

The Very Rev David Lacey asked, “What action can this Assembly take about this flagrant disobedience of its own Acts, or is there some conceivable reason that we should just let it pass?” The Acting Principal Clerk replied that church law allowed anyone who felt discriminated against to make a complaint.

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On Sunday, this congregation member enjoyed the service at St Giles’ with a sermon by the moderator which began with a story from American humourist Garrison Keillor. He then spent the afternoon manning a photo booth at Heart and Soul to publicize Imagining Scotland’s Future.

 

Elsewhere, the BBC reports that around 250 members of the Western Isles’ largest Church of Scotland are leaving for the Free Kirk over the issues of gay clergy. The issue will be debated here on Wednesday.

The main business tomorrow will be the report of the Mission and Discipleship Council and an informal debate on independence.

Douglas Aitken’s reports on Saturday and Monday at the General Assembly are now online. You can read or listen to them here.

There are also excellent reports from Life and Work here.

Monday at the General Assembly

The minister writes-
Monday at the General Assembly traditionally begins with Holy Communion.
The main business of the day is the report of the Ministries Council.
They report that the numbers entering parish ministry is at its lowest in a generation. 80% of current ministers are aged over 50, and only 2 younger than 30. Church of Scotland will be short of over 200 parish ministers by the early 2020s. Among other responses to these challenges are new initiatives to encourage members to consider calls to ministry.
More on the 2014, including the daily timetable, here