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Assembly 2019

Thomas Baldwin previews some of the reports to this year’s General Assembly, which takes place from May 18 to 24.


The Ministries Council states that its report ‘bears witness to a… Council which is changing, seeking to change more, wanting to implement changes it first conceived of decades ago, struggling to find the right resources for change, wishing that change would happen more quickly, determined not to lose the reason for change’. The number of applicants for all types of ministry in 2018 was 49, down from 78 in 2017 but more typical for the two years before that. However the number accepted for full-time ministry of word and sacrament (FTMWS) was up, from 13 to 16; and there was also an increase in applications accepted for Ordained Local Ministry (OLM), from five to 10.

The Council has commissioned a review of its discernment and assessment processes, which produced ‘a number of recommendations’ to ‘alleviate any barriers or delays in the process’. A key recommendation is removing compulsory attendance at a Vocations Information Day as a first step, to be replaced by ‘an individual Discernment Conversation’. There have also been changes to the Probationer Conference programme, which the council says have resulted in ‘very positive’ feedback from probationers. The report expresses concern about financial hardship among candidates and probationers, some of whom it says are living below the poverty line. Three candidates this year were unable to start training because of the lack of financial support. The Council seeks the support of the Assembly to work with others, especially the Council of Assembly, to provide adequate financial support to trainee ministers.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE THE PARLIAMENT AND THE CHURCH The 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament ASSEMBLY 2019 'Meet the Moderator Designate' Timetables and reports to this year's gathering 'LEAVING NOBODY BEHIND' Christian Aid Week 2019 plus much more....