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Culture change needed in church

Thomas Baldwin reports on the latest stage of a major structural overhaul of the Church of Scotland.

THE convener of the Church of Scotland’s Assembly Trustees has warned that organisational reforms ‘may all be for nothing’ unless they are accompanied by culture change.

The Very Rev Dr John Chalmers made the comments in November, as a Commission of Assembly met in Edinburgh and approved the first stage in reforms to the Church’s central administration, which will see four councils replaced by two smaller groups from January 1.

Dr Chalmers, told the Commission of Assembly that behind the reforms was the desire to build “A new way of working… one which leaves managers to manage, one which empowers staffto do what they are good at without having to hold a meeting every time they want to sneeze. And one that encourages the development of cross-departmental teams where no-one belongs to an independent silo, where everyone belongs in a unified workforce supporting one another in delivering the work they have been invited to deliver by the General Assembly.”

Under the proposals, the Ministries, Mission and Discipleship, World Mission and Church and Society Councils are all discharged.

The replacement bodies have the working titles Faith Nurture Forum (combining the work of Ministries and Mission and Discipleship) and the Faith Impact Forum (Church and Society and World Mission) – although Dr Chalmers said the names may change, and were in any case the least important element of the reforms.

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