Church of Scotland Basic Assembly: Kirk’s first hybrid gathering in Edinburgh

Around 400 commissioners from throughout Scotland and past will collect within the Assembly Hall on The Mound whereas one other 200 will participate on-line.

But a lot of the same old pageantry related to the opening will likely be lacking this yr as a result of Lord Hodge, the Lord High Commissioner, the Queen’s consultant on the Assembly, just isn’t going to be attending in individual for well being causes. There will likely be no procession by means of the courtyard, no trumpet gamers, and the First Minister, who’s often there as a visitor of the Lord High Commissioner, won’t be in attendance.

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Lord Hodge, Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court, is because of handle the Assembly remotely. During the week, he hopes to have the ability to make the customary visits to initiatives related to the Church to indicate his help and provide encouragement. And he additionally hopes to look within the Assembly Hall in individual for the closing session on Thursday to handle commissioners.

The first enterprise right this moment will see outgoing Moderator, former Scottish Liberal Democrat chief and Deputy First Minister Lord Wallace of Tankerness, hand over to his successor, the Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, minister of St Margaret’s Community Church in Dunfermline for the previous 15 years.

Dr Greenshields stated he aimed to characterize the Church in a approach that was “positive, instructive and hopeful”. He stated: “There are a great many challenges facing our society today including poverty, mental health, social isolation, addiction and climate change and the Church is active in supporting those in genuine need. Ultimately the greatest need in our society is the spiritual vacuum that exists in the lives of so many.”

Monday’s enterprise additionally consists of approving a Declaration of Friendship with the Catholic Church in Scotland, which has already been accepted by the Scottish Catholics’ Bishops Conference. It recognises the “hurt and the harm that our forebears did to each other” and whereas acknowledging there are points that also divide the 2 church buildings, “we reaffirm that what we hold in common is often greater than what divides us”.

Outgoing Moderator Lord Wallace greets his successor, the Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, on the Assembly Hall.

All kinds of social and political questions will get an airing on the Assembly on Tuesday, together with a proposal from the Church’s Faith Impact Forum to induce the Scottish Government to ban conversion remedy, which makes an attempt to alter folks’s sexual orientation or gender. The warfare in Ukraine can be anticipated to be mentioned, in addition to help for asylum seekers and refugees and progress on work in direction of a Net Zero Church by 2030.

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