Central Church and General Assembly
When was the last time you went to Presbytery and came away saying, "That was a cracking meeting!"? In the old Presbyteries we were in grave danger of boring ourselves to death whilst the good ship sank! We sat through many pointless meetings that took up valuable time! We also centralised far too much in the Church of Scotland, creating a bureaucracy that was no longer in touch with the local Church. 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! Initial impressions seem to be that this is NOT happening, as some create a strange mix of a mini-General Assembly and an old-style Presbytery, so we need to truly REFORM! We were supposed to be traveling "light", not taking the old baggage with us!
The General Assembly is good at worship and the singing wonderful! When that stops it often all goes downhill! The reports that come to the annual bash are still too long and mainly serve the purpose of keeping central committees 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! Attempts at reform so far are pitiful.
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! As for the annual attestation, bureaucracy at its worst! 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, the Special Commission on Structural Reform reported in 2019 and its proposals accepted. 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, 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 finally arriving! Mon the reformers!
(This page was last updated in October 2023)