Time is running out to nominate the next Moderator

Very Rev Colin Sinclair, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Convener of the Nominations Committee, has called on church members to put forward their nominations for the next Moderator.

Rt Rev Martin Fair
Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair and his wife Elaine and Very Rev Colin Sinclair and his wife Ruth.

The important role, which can be taken on by any minister, elder or deacon, starts with chairing the annual General Assembly in May and ordinarily involves visiting Kirk congregations far and wide and partner churches around the world. However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic the role has more recently been carried out remotely.

It is a unique role that provides the Moderator of the General Assembly with an unparalleled glimpse into the breadth of society.

'Expect the unexpected'

Very Rev Colin Sinclair, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2019-20, calls on Kirk members to help appoint the right person for this important role.

“Time is running out for you to make a recommendation for consideration by the Nominations Committee for the next Moderator of the General Assembly,” Colin said.

“I am well aware that with COVID-19 the last thing on people’s minds has been the next Moderator. Rightly, you have been concerned with lives and health, with livelihoods and employment. More recently, people have been thinking about holidays as lockdown is relaxed, and many are thinking of when schools re-start. Congregations have been preoccupied exploring what it would mean to reopen their church buildings for prayer or services.

“We have therefore decided to extend the deadline by one week to Friday 14 August.

“It used to be that you could describe the role of the Moderator fairly clearly, but in this last year, both for myself and now for the current Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, perhaps the best description would be ‘Expect the unexpected!’

“You have to learn to be creative, to work with others and be prepared for plans to be set aside at a moment’s notice.

“Yet the fundamental role remains the same. You have to moderate the General Assembly, or the Commission of Assembly, whether in the Assembly Hall or – as is the case more recently – online on a virtual platform.

“For most of the year the Moderator acts as both an ambassador for the Church and an ambassador to the Church. As an ambassador for the Church, the Moderator has to relate to politicians, both local and national, and with the press through a variety of media. You will meet with senior Church leaders, throughout Scotland and the UK, and also with leaders of other faith communities.

“I would like to ask you to pray about this appointment and for the Committee charged to undertake this work. Can I ask you to think if you know anyone who might be suitable for this role, because of their experience, gifts and aptitude? If someone comes to mind, then would you consider approaching them as asking them if you could recommend them? If they agree, then together you can fill in the appropriate form and their names will be considered alongside others.

“We want to appoint the right person. We need your help and prayers and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Please do think if there is someone we should be considering for this important role in the life of our Church and let us know.”

Make your recommendation by Friday 14 August

Any member of the Church of Scotland can recommend a minister, elder or deacon (i.e. a member of the diaconate) for consideration by the Committee using the recommendation form.

Completed forms should be returned to Carron Lunt at clunt@churchofscotland.org.uk by Friday 14 August 2020. The consent of the person being recommended needs to be obtained before the form is submitted. The committee asks that there is only one form submitted for each recommendee.

The person elected will serve until the opening day of the 2022 General Assembly.

As well as chairing the General Assembly the Moderator acts as an ambassador for the Church of Scotland at home and abroad. Read more about the duties of the Moderator.

The Moderator of the General Assembly is a full-time role and he or she is provided with a flat in Edinburgh during their time of service. Every effort is made to ensure that they are not out of pocket by giving time to this task.

Please give this request your prayerful consideration. Do you know someone who would have the gifts and experience to fulfil this calling? If you do, download the form below and make a recommendation.