Atop the Mound in Edinburgh for seven days in May the Kirk more formally known as the Church of Scotland meets for its annual meeting known as the General Assembly to plan the way ahead for the Church and indeed act on   occasions as a court to deal with problems or problem ministers in the Kirk.   

Saturday 20th of May 2017: General Assembly of the Church of Scotland:

photo courtesy Church of Scotland.

     This year 2017 the Kirk is probably facing its most critical problem for the future since its establishment nearly 500 years ago.  It is worth wondering what John Knox its founder  would have though said and more likely done in the current climate.  The country he lived in and founded the reformed church became in time the land of the Book.  The book in question being the Bible. frequently it is said by commissioners they feel the Kirk is in a land that no longer is a Christian country.  With the growing  population increasing from differing ethnic and religious backgrounds it is little surprise that the members and ministers feel under much pressure.   In the past decade many Churches have closed and been sold often turned into apartments and houses.   It is not what some feel the biblical words In my father’s house are many mansions! is about.  Some 700 plus commissioners comte to debate the issues facing the Kirk.  They are from the Highland to the Lowland and everyplace in between.   They are a wide range of theological views to from evangelicals conservative to the much more open liberal views who see need for change and adaptation to modern1491729702559

photo courtesy sninternational


     This year the agenda included a celebration of the Balfour declaration Centenary,  The need for allowing older people to train for the ministry or in other words a U-turn from when they shut the door on anyone over 55 being trained for the ministry.  The development of new types of ministry too has taken place but with reservations among some in the congregations.

princess in gallery

photo courtesy Church of Scotland.

        Some fear the diminution of the value of the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in such changes.   The idea of Hub ministries is gaining ground as is closer ecumenical ties the lack of funds in all denominations seems to encourage best use of  resources and the ability to share with each other.  Those in the Ecumenical area seem to feel this is changing the tide towards more ecumenical work over Scotland and the wider world.

During General Assembly there used to be much erudite speeches some key arguments put well and some memorable lines and quotes for the press who covered the issues closely indeed until devolution and a Scottish Parliament in 1999 the Kirk was the voice of the Scottish People.   It is perhaps fitting that the first Parliament meetings pushed the Church of Scotland General Assembly aside they held it not in the Assembly Hall but in the Conference centre in Edinburgh while the Parliament met in the newly refurbished Assembly Hall.!  since that time the Kirk’s assembly has seen a marked diminution of its import to the Scottish Society.

    The Kirk always invites delegates to attend from all over the world from Church partners around the Globe.  Among those this year was Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan.  He was invited to address the General Assembly by the new Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Rt. Rev. Derek Brownning of Edinburgh. Prince Ghazi’s speech proved to be  words of warning to .  the kKirk AND THE WORLD. He painted a bleak picture and one of violence and tragedy in the wake of the MANCHESTER BOMBING many may feel he is right to be concerned about the future and about the rift between the west Christianity and Islam.


photo courtesy Church of Scotland.

    However, it was not doom and gloom and much waas there to be clelbrated including the work of the Guild, the Youth General Assembly and many other projects including one to tackle the pay day loans companies who charged astronomic rates to the poorest in society.


general Assembly Hall

There is one thing for sure over the week long Assembly the Kirk is not pessimistic but full of faith and ideas which the next General Assembly will undoubtedly discuss, argue debate and discard as well as wholeheartedly embrace to ensure a future of faith for the faithful few though they are at present.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: