Social Media

After communion at the start of the morning, the World Mission Council report was given on the theme of Inter-Faith relations.  In the comments at the start of the Debate, there were some excellent contributions from overseas delegates.  Kien Seng Lee from Taiwan spoke about the importance of the Great Commission and the need to remain in Christ and in His Word, with grace and love to clearly convey the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Assembly was reminded that “conversion is the province of God, but our conversation must be seasoned with salt.” Palestinian Christians reminded us of the struggle to continue their 2000-year witness to Jesus in the Holy Land.

Louis Kinsey raised the issue of Asia Bibi, condemned to death for blasphemy after imprisonment in 2010 for sharing water with Moslems.  Highlighting the way that senior government ministers who spoke out in her support had been assassinated, Louis successfully argued that the Assembly should instruct the Council to raise Asia’s case with Scottish and UK governments.

After breaking for lunch, we took up a special report on Lessons for Scotland from Christian Faith in Africa.  This was an excellent report highlighting the growth of the Church in sub-Saharan Africa, which is a great spring-board for congregations and Presbyteries to learn from their openness in evangelism, bible study, prayer, discipleship and testimony.  There were further excellent contributions from African delegates.

At this point, we returned to the Council of Assembly report to discuss the proposed Strategic Plan.  There were a number of substantial questions asked before a Counter-Motion was put by Robert Allan, instructing the Council to return to next year’s Assembly with a radical action plan for the next three years to achieve much-needed reform within our Church.

Speaking for the counter-motion, the immediate former Moderator was scathing in his attack on the published draft Strategic Plan.  Further trenchant criticisms were added, and after a contrite defence from the Convener, the counter-motion was approved by 439 votes to the Council’s 130 votes for the Strategic Plan.  There was clearly an appetite for substantial and urgent reform – the challenge will be getting the Assembly to agree its shape.

The debate on the future of the Church Offices was more muted after that, although there were some suggestions that perhaps moving to a fresh building might be the best way ahead.