News & Events
2012 Assembly - Wednesday afternoon summary
May 23, 2012
The afternoon session began with the Board of Trustees report following on from the morning discussion.
Chairman James Fraser stressed that the Board would be visiting Presbyteries and seeking more ways of engaging with the wider Free Church about spending priorities as the Church matches its expenditure to its income.
Professor John McIntosh (pictured above) said that finance was “a spiritual issue” and that for years the Church had been “reprehensible” for failing to properly address and foster tithing within its congregations.
Mr Fraser refuted claims that simply highlighting the issue to members would solve the problem: “We need to cut our costs, we have talked and talked and talked about ways of increasing our income, and the talk hasn’t done us any good because income has flattened.”
The chairman went onto assert the glass was “half full”, and that through imaginative and visionary thinking from its talented people the Free Church would become “a transforming force in Scotland”.
Mr Fraser (pictured above) said that the Board will come back to the 2013 General Assembly with more concrete proposals following extensive consultation. The Assembly also approved the recommendation that all budgets for 2013 be trimmed by 10 per cent.
Reverend James MacIver presented the report of the Committee on Church Practice and Procedures, and the Assembly approved plans to simplify and have an earlier date for the election of Assembly commissioners. Mr MacIver said late bookings for travel and accommodation could sometimes prove costly, and that this would save the Church money as well as helping commissioners.
Following a short interval, the Assembly granted the crave of three petitions from the Presbytery of Glasgow and Argyll. These were regarding assessors, a strategy for ministry in Argyll and team ministry in the north-east of Glasgow.
Four guest speakers then addressed commissioners, including Hugh MacKenzie from the Associated Presbyterian Churches and Elaine Duncan from the Scottish Bible Society.
Ms Duncan said that “Biblical literacy” was a huge problem for Scottish churches, and that the SBS was keen to build on its successful People’s Bible campaign.
The Moderator thanked the speakers, and the Assembly reconvenes at 6.30pm.