The Assembly Trustees released a report on the merger of four central Kirk councils into two new agencies which was then considered at the Commission of Assembly on Thursday 21 November 2019 in the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh.
- Read the Assembly Trustees chairman Very Rev John Chalmers' speech to the Commission
- View the deliverances to the Commission of Assembly 21 November 2019
- Read more about the criteria for nomination to the two new agencies of the Church of Scotland
Formed from around one tenth of the Commissioners who attended this year's General Assembly, the Commission of Assembly has most of the powers of the General Assembly, and will conduct their business with the same format and Standing Orders as the Assembly itself.
Serving our local congregations
During this first phase of changes, the Assembly Trustees have been under instruction by the General Assembly to bring forward proposals to merge the current four councils (Ministries, Mission and Discipleship, World Mission, and Church and Society) into two new agencies.
John Chalmers, Convener of the Assembly Trustees, said:
"The Assembly Trustees have been working successfully in partnership with the four conveners of the central councils to agree proposed names and structures for each of the two new agencies.
"In doing so, it is hoped that this lays the foundation for a new way of working in which the emphasis will be on supporting and resourcing the local Church."
"At this stage, the names of these new agencies are the least important part of the report – it is the focus on how we can work smarter, use our resources more effectively and revitalise the work Church across of Scotland that really matters.
"The two new agencies currently have working titles of ‘Faith Nurture Forum' and ‘Faith Impact Forum'.
"The ‘Faith Nurture Forum', consisting of the Ministries Council and the Mission and Discipleship Council, will be aimed at 'taking us into the heart of God'."
"On the other hand, the ‘Faith Impact Forum', consisting of the Church and Society Council and the World Mission Council, will be aimed at ‘taking us into the heart of the world'."
The Assembly Trustees' proposals
The key proposals put forward by the Assembly Trustees to the Commission of Assembly included:
- Approve the merger of the Ministries Council with the Mission and Discipleship Council under the working title of ‘Faith Nurture Forum' to take effect from 1 January 2020
- Approve the merger of the Church and Society Council and the World Mission Council under the working title of ‘Faith Impact Forum' to take effect from 1 January 2020
- Instruct the Assembly Trustees to work with the two new agencies to propose to the 2020 General Assembly detailed remits setting out: which parts of their existing work will be carried out by the two new agencies, which parts are no longer necessary to be carried out, and which parts should be carried out by presbyteries instead
- Instruct the Assembly Trustees to work with the two new agencies to propose to the 2020 General Assembly how the work of each Forum is to be prioritised from June 2020
- Approve that Ecumenical Relations and the Theological Forum sit within the management and departmental structure of the 'Faith Nurture Forum'
- Approve that Interfaith work sits within the management, departmental structure and policy framework of the 'Faith Impact Forum'
- Approve the remit of the Audit Committee, as set out within the report's Appendix II
The Trustees' report also covers suggested meeting patterns and the ways in which the two new agencies' ‘implementation groups' would work.
The Commission of Assembly was asked to approve the council mergers and agree broad remits.