The current Moderator
Rt Rev Rev Sally Foster-Fulton is the current Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, succeeding the Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields.
She will take a year's sabbatical from her role as head of Christian Aid in Scotland to serve as the Kirk’s ambassador at home and abroad for the next 12 months.
The Moderator said she is looking forward to meeting and encouraging people involved in church work at local, national and international levels at a time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity.
“I’m excited about what the year will bring.
“I genuinely love and am inspired by the Church of Scotland and its people.”
“Over the past years of the pandemic in the face of a global climate emergency and now a cost-of-living crisis, people across the Church have been stepping up and doing their very best to make an extraordinary impact in communities, locally, across our nation and in the world.”
Serving the Church
Before joining Christian Aid in 2016, Mrs Foster-Fulton convened the Church and Society Council and helped advance the Church’s work on human rights, climate justice and support for people struggling to overcome poverty in Scotland as well as overseas. In 2007, she was appointed associate minister at Dunblane Cathedral.
She campaigned on behalf of detainees at Dungavel House immigration removal centre near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire and led the Church’s work with ecumenical and interfaith partners to create networks of support for asylum seekers and refugees.
In the run up to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, she helped create space for respectful dialogue between campaigners on both sides of the debate.
She also served as a chaplain at Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary and The Royal National Scottish Hospital in Larbert before being accepted as a candidate for ministry in the Church of Scotland. After she was ordained in 1999, Mrs Foster-Fulton spent four years as parish minister at Camelon Irving Parish Church in Falkirk.
From South Carolina to Scotland
Born in the United States, Mrs Foster-Fulton’s faith journey began in the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA) in South Carolina.
“My family was the church and before I understood what that meant, I felt welcomed, loved and part of something” she said.
She earned her university degree at Presbyterian College, focusing on English Literature and Religion, and later attended Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, where she met her future husband, Stuart Fulton. She completed her Divinity training at Glasgow's University Trinity College.
After serving with her husband as co-pastor for the PCUSA congregation in Seneca, South Carolina in the early 2000s, the couple chose to make Scotland their permanent home.
Mrs Foster-Fulton's husband, Rev Stuart Fulton, is a fellow Church of Scotland minister who serves the parish of Newlands South Church in Glasgow. The couple have two adult daughters, Alex and Gracie, and recently welcomed their first grandchild. Becoming a grandmother, Mrs Foster-Fulton said, has “shifted her perspective and given new meaning” to her commitment to try and make the world a better place.
Hope for the future
The Moderator will serve at a time when presbyteries are making radical reforms against a backdrop of falling income, declining membership and fewer ministers, to ensure that the Church operates more effectively and efficiently to meet 21st century mission needs.
Mrs Foster-Fulton said: “It is painful but at the same time there is a deep desire to get this done and move forward.”
“It is difficult and necessary, but a critical piece of work for today, and there will be more work when we begin to live out the new plan.”
“So, we need to lift our gaze, remember who we are and why we’re here – to love God and each other.”
“The message of Jesus Christ is not just hope for the future but is lifegiving right here and right now.”