Church annual report published and available online

The Church of Scotland’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2016 is now available for anyone seeking a comprehensive overview of the current state of our Church. The document, which is available online as well as in print, reflects on a year of achievement and impact but also highlights some of the pressing challenges ahead.

Word of Life image

In her introduction, Convener of the Council of Assembly, Dr Sally Bonnar, says:

“This Report is about the work enabled and undertaken by hundreds of thousands of church members and those who are associated with them.

"Some of this work is traditional, some contemporary, but it all demonstrates the love and care of the God we worship, the creative Word of Life.”

For the third year, the report is presented in an engaging way with images and graphs to accompany the statutory requirement to publish our accounts. It features many images looking back on 2016, including some of the near 1,000 people who participated in the ‘On The Road’ roadshows across the country, contributing to the future direction of the Church.

Annual report open on desk

The ‘Year In Brief’ section recognises the prominence the inspirational story of church missionary Jane Haining achieved, with renewed interest across the world in the personal sacrifice which led to her death in Auschwitz.

It also include the approval of the historical ecumenical partnership with the Church of England, which was marked with the Archbishop of Canterbury addressing the General Assembly and the signing of the Columba Declaration.

Church income last year increased to more than £113.5m, up from £110.2m in 2015 as a result of a small number of one-off items. Income from congregations, which makes up more than 40% of this total, has remained remarkably resilient in recent years thanks to the continued generous giving at congregational level.

However, we are aware that reductions in Church membership numbers are beginning to have an effect on offerings, presenting the Church with the challenge of maintaining this income and the wide range of work it funds.

Overall church finances broke even for the year, although some councils drew on reserves to fund deficits and this is likely to happen again in 2017 and 2018. With this sharply in focus, the Council of Assembly continues to work on examining budgetary priorities and will report on this to the 2018 General Assembly.

Despite these challenges the report gives us many reasons for optimism including the growth of new areas of ministry, the impact of church activities and the high level of commitment shown by church members, volunteers and staff.

Download and read the Annual Report for 2016: Word of Life (pdf file)