New roadshows to discuss future of Kirk

The Rev Dr Grant Barclay

Regional roadshows are to be held across Scotland to give congregations the opportunity to voice their opinions about the future direction of the Church of Scotland.

General Assembly commissioners approved the plans today which are aimed at ensuring as many people as possible have a say on issues such as ministry and discipleship.

The Rev Dr Grant Barclay, outgoing convener of the Council of Assembly which brought forward the idea, questioned whether it was wise to provide ministry under current structures which make increasing demands on reducing numbers of people.

"We judge this is unsustainable and therefore seek some clarity, in conversation with presbyteries and congregations, about the future," he added.

"This is less about resource allocation and more to do with function.

"The Council wants to work collaboratively to gain insight.

"It intends to hold roadshows in partnership with other major Councils to engage as widely as possible with presbyteries and congregations, focusing on vital issues of ministry and discipleship."

Allocation of resources

Dr Barclay said the Council aimed to work with the Principal Clerk to the General Assembly the Very Rev John Chalmers to make joint working amongst presbyteries a "positive reality".

"It wants to review the Strategic Framework to present to next year's Assembly a more focused range of major themes and priorities to allow more sensible and effective allocation of resources," he added.

"This is demanding and will require the patient and enthusiastic involvement of the whole Church.

"It has the potential, though, to help us gain much-needed clarity on the road God is calling us to travel, that we may walk together."

Clear expression

Dr Sally Bonnar, the new convener of the Council of Assembly, said it was focused on listening to congregations to try and understand what people mean when they say the Church has to change.

"We are committed to working together across the whole Church," she added.

"So we want to hear from people on how they think the Church's national support and administration can really help them to fulfil their vision.

"We believe that the 'Church' is expressed most clearly locally, in congregations and groups all across Scotland and beyond.

"We are especially keen to hear about what good things are happening and what's working well, what challenges are people facing and what their aspirations are."