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General Assembly 2017

Thomas Baldwin offers a summary of some of the reports to this year's General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.


The Council of Assembly has this year started to create a strategic plan to help the Church meet the challenges of falling Church membership, attendance and finances.

The Council report states that it will construct the plan around the biblical theme ‘Love God and love your neighbour’, and with three strategic objectives: nurturing congregational life and worship, making disciples, and engaging community.

The report emphasises that the plan, a full version of which is to be presented to the 2018 Assembly, will be produced from a ‘collaborative approach between the local church and national functions’. “Any attempt to implement a Strategic Plan will only have a chance of success if there is genuine ‘buy-in’ from those to whom it applies,” it warns.

The deliverance issues ‘a call to the Church of Scotland to pray that God will do a fresh work amongst us as God’s people’ and instructs ‘Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions to consider how best to respond to this call’; and instructs the Council to prepare resources ‘to support individuals, congregations and Presbyteries in prayer for the development of the Strategic Plan’.

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About Life and Work

The month of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will be almost upon us as this issue reaches our readers. Reports will be debated and pronouncements made on a wide range of issues. One thing will be evident: the wind of change will begin to blow over the shape of the Church. After a series of roadshows over the length and breadth of the land from London to Lerwick the feedback on the future of the Church is being carefully analysed and considered.