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Digital Subscriptions > Life and Work > June 2019 > General Assembly 2019

General Assembly 2019

Thomas Baldwin considers some of the key reports to this year’s General Assembly.
photo credits: Derek Fett Photography

COUNCIL OF ASSEMBLY / RADICAL ACTION PLAN

The centrepiece of the Council of Assembly’s report is of course the Radical Action Plan for reform of the Church, as instructed by last year’s General Assembly.

The plan (which can be seen in full on the Church website, along with all the reports to the Assembly) envisages reforms at national, presbytery and parish level, a major investment in ‘new ways of doing church’, collaborative working with other churches and organisations, improved training and support for all leadership roles in the Church and a particular focus on engaging with people aged under 40.

The first of 16 tasks is the establishment of a growth fund of £20-25m, to be spent from 2020-2026 on ‘initiatives to develop mission through new ecclesial communities and church planting’. It is, says the report, ‘about supporting the whole Church… to do the new things which we believe God is calling us to’. The money is to be spent in all areas where the church is active, and will be focused on engaging with young people, on building on the Church’s work addressing loneliness, poverty and injustice at local levels, and on encouraging people to develop and exercise their ministries.

The second task is wholesale reform of the regional structure, which is to see the present 45 presbyteries reduced to around 12 ‘units’ (either united presbyteries or presbyteries closely co-operating) by 2025.

At local level, the plan envisages ‘new forms of church structures’, to include Presbytery Mission Initiatives and Hub-Style ministries. This, it says, will allow the church to keep a presence and exercise mission in communities even where numbers are very low, but releasing such congregations from the traditional requirements of church and civil law, which might otherwise make it impossible for them to continue. The same structures could also be used for fresh expressions.

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