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Digital Subscriptions > Life and Work > July 2018 > General Assembly 2018

General Assembly 2018

Thomas Baldwin reports on this week’s gathering on the Mound in Edinburgh.

ASSEMBLY

STRATEGIC PLAN

“GENERAL Assembly can be a bit brutal,” observed the Rev Dr Doug Gay, the Principal of Trinity College, Glasgow, on Twitter after the key debate of the week, in which the Council of Assembly’s proposed 10-year strategic plan for the Church was rejected.

Instead, the Assembly voted heavily in favour of a counter-motion from the Rev Robert Allan which instructed the Council to return next year ‘with a radical action plan for 2019-2022’.

Mr Allan told the Assembly: “To agree to this plan would be to put another nail in the coffin of the institutional church. It’s to our shame in the church that we change slowly… What we need is urgent, radical action. We have had 60 years of decline and it wfill be worse in 10 years.”

He was forcefully backed by most speakers, including the former Moderator the Very Rev Dr Derek Browning, who said of the strategic plan: “I have rarely read a report from any Council of this Assembly that has caused me so much disappointment. (It) is very thick on gloss and very thin on substance.”

Returning to the subject two days later to put flesh on the bones of Mr Allan’s motion, the General Assembly agreed to:

• Instruct the Council to work collaboratively with other Councils, Committees and Presbyteries to bring proposals to the General Assembly of 2019 for structural change, consulting with the Rev Dr Doug Gay about the ideas contained in the recent Chalmers lectures and with other appropriate persons with expertise in the reform of institutions and structures, to enable a Church structure that is lean and fit for purpose to lead reform.

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About Life and Work

Inside this month's issue CARING FOR THE WHOLE PERSON - Celebrating 70 years of the NHS ‘SPIRITUAL CARE SPEAKS A LANGUAGE OF MEANING AND PURPOSE’ - The Church of Scotland chaplain at the heart of Scotland’s health care ASSEMBLY 2018 - Ten page focus on this year’s annual gathering plus much more....