News & Events
2012 Assembly - Tuesday afternoon summary
May 22, 2012
The Home Missions Board will take immediate steps to procure and appoint a successor to Reverend Finlay Mackenzie for international student outreach after this afternoon’s Assembly session.
Mr Mackenzie and his wife Christine are stepping down after 15 years service, and were thanked by the Moderator and the Assembly for their earnest and faithful work. During this time the Glasgow City Free Church congregation saw 27 adult baptisms from international students.
It was feared that unless Evan Macdonald’s amendment had been brought, a successor would not have been appointed until January – meaning that the replacement would miss the vital “settling in” period for students at the start of university term in September.
In his speech to the Assembly, Mr Macdonald also suggested a delay could jeopardise the weekly services and Bible class slots which have been established across the three Glasgow universities.
Outgoing Home Mission Board convener Reverend David Meredith suggested the theme of the Assembly week would be finance, highlighting several times that “there is no more money”.
He said it would be a “challenging year”, and that congregations remitting less than £26,000 “will have to be looked at” over the coming years as vacancies occur.
But Mr Meredith also stressed that there was still a significant pot of £4 million for the Free Church to do its ministry, and that tough financial times presented a window of opportunity.
Mr Meredith also pointed to areas of “joy and growth”, such as the church in St Andrews which now has a regular congregation of over 100, as well as evident blessing in the work at Portree, Kilmallie, Point, Dingwall and Ullapool.
Earlier in the afternoon Reverend Derek Lamont, the incoming convener of the Home Missions Board, and Reverend Neil MacMillan, development officer, led a discussion session on church planting.
Although overall congregational attendance in the Free Church has increased since 2004, Mr MacMillan (pictured below) voiced his concern that there were only 19 adult baptisms and less than 100 infant baptisms last year.
Although there were no concrete ways forward, it was acknowledged that church plants had a better track record in reaching out to the “un-churched” and that the Free Church has a responsibility to take the Gospel to where the people are.
At the end of the session Reverend Angus Howat was also thanked for his clerking services to the varied work of the Home Missions Board, receiving hearty applause from the Assembly.