News & Events
New HMB convener to tour congregations
May 28, 2012
The new convener of the Home Missions Board (HMB) is taking a three-month sabbatical from his pulpit to give him a better understanding of issues affecting Free Church of Scotland ministry.
Reverend Derek Lamont, minister at Edinburgh St Columba’s, took over from Smithton’s Reverend David Meredith at this year’s General Assembly. The Board is responsible for the oversight of national mission in the Free Church, including church planting and redevelopment, ministry and youth work.
But from June to August the new convener will not be conducting services at his own church, allowing him to spend time researching his role, thinking about future strategy and visiting some congregations - especially those that the HMB has direct involvement in through their redevelopment status.
The Edinburgh minister explained: “During a recent five-yearly review by Edinburgh and Perth Presbytery one of the recommendations was for me to take a Sabbatical before taking on the convenership – it’s something I’ve never done in over 20 years of ministry.
“I’m hoping the time will be good for me, for the congregation, and for the denomination and I will return refreshed after the summer.
“I know some ministers like to study during Sabbaticals, but my goal is to visit different congregations and have worship and fellowship with many people in the church. It will most certainly be an education for me.
“The Home Missions Board has some very important decisions to make to the shape of future Free Church ministry, and I felt this Sabbatical would give me a good grounding and first-hand experience.
“I want to do the role as prayerfully, humbly and as well as I can.”
Mr Lamont’s own congregation has undergone something of a transformation under his leadership.
He arrived in 2001, with a dwindling and ageing congregation, but just over a decade on St Columba’s is now a vibrant Free Church, planning an exciting future.
Mr Lamont said: “We have seen lots of new people coming into the church – and it’s such a joy to welcome them, integrate them and see their gifts being used among us.
“We are grateful to God for the gifts of the congregation, the unity and loyal support of the membership and the on-going vision to reach out with the Gospel.”
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