Councils and General Assembly
When was the last time you went to a Presbytery meeting and came away saying, "That was a cracking night!"? We are in grave danger of boring ourselves to death whilst the good ship sinks! We must find ways of sparkling up these meetings! We are sitting, stamping our feet feebly at minor things, whilst major mission opportunities are passing us by because we don't have enough time, yet we sit through pointless meetings that take up valuable time!
We have centralised far too much in the Church of Scotland, creating a bureaucracy that is no longer in touch with the local Church. Time to devolve power to a smaller number of new-style Presbyteries - we are pleased to note that new larger regional Presbyteries are now emerging - BUT it is of the utmost importance that these new Presbyteries do NOT operate like their predecessors but meet with a new visionary mission agenda! And, by the way, this is not to discredit those who work at 121, many of whom work hard like the rest of us! It is simply a fact that the system needs to change!
The General Assembly is great at worship and the singing wonderful! When that stops it often all goes downhill! The reports that come to the annual bash are too long and mainly serve the purpose of keeping a central committee and its employees occupied the year round. It all sounds so grand and important when sitting in the hall, and then when you leave you realise that few in Scotland, and even within our local Churches, are listening to what is being said nor heeding what emanates from its debates! We need to find a new relevancy to this tradition-bound court of the Church!
We also need a small group of legally-minded folk, who do not love rules and regulations, who will sit down and start to unravel the things which hold us back from doing other valuable work! For example, the paperwork, edicts, etc. involved in a vacancy is time consuming and generally unnecessary. Give us a simple streamlined system! We need a light legal system that brings a sense of order and yet gives Churches the chance to flourish, not a system that weighs us down with unnecessary burdens!
The Chalmers Lectures of 2017 given by Rev Dr Doug Gay, in particular the third lecture which states suggestions for institutional change, can be downloaded below for information, however following the call for radical change in the Church of Scotland in 2018, we are pleased to note that the Special Commission on Structural Reform reported in 2019 and its proposals accepted. Also, a Radical Action Plan was accepted, though we find it not radical enough! Copies of these Reports and their accepted deliverances can be downloaded below.
In order to reform, we need to start electing leaders to our two new Forums, based on their manifesto for change! And we will elect such people in order to see that change come to fruition!
We watch this space with anticipation of radical reform within the next year or two! Mon the reformers!
(This page was last updated September 2020)