Church of Scotland will be ‘very different’ in the future, General Assembly said
The Kirk is also planning a major reorganization, with fewer ministers and a reduced number of parsonages.
The Right Reverend Dr John Chalmers, organizer of the Assembly’s Mighty Trustees, told the Assembly’s opening session on Saturday that there would be a “very different kind of church” in the future.
He said, “Building on the remarkable imagination and adaptability shown during the pandemic, each of us must now focus our energies on reshaping every aspect of our church life.
Church of Scotland General Assembly opens with most connections from home
“We have streamlined the central administration, but it will be for nothing if we do not complete the work of reforming our parsonages as mission planners and implementing a radical overhaul of the local Church. around a realistic and affordable number of ministries.
“We have cut central costs by 30 percent and will be using £ 11million from our reserves this year and at least another £ 5million in the coming year to reduce pressure on congregations and help recover of the pandemic. “
But the Assembly agreed to suspend for two years a review of Kirk’s seat at 121 George Street, which could lead to a recommendation to sell the building.
Dr Chalmers said nothing bothered him more than having to suggest the delay.
“This is a problem that has been around for too long, but we have to accept that there will be new ways of working beyond this pandemic and we have to know what kind of premises we will need when we adopt a method of mixed work. “
Property values were also ‘up in the air’.
He said no more than £ 100,000 would be spent on essential repairs before the end of 2022. “By then we should have a clear indication of our future plans to stay or go or grow – paradise for the defense – 121 George Street. “
Reverend Michael Goss of Carnoustie expressed “deep disappointment” at the delay. “If we manage to spend no more than £ 100,000, I’ll be surprised. Old buildings are used to having to spend money on them.”
He suggested the church could have decided to rent office space while still working on what would be needed in the long run – “not finalizing the space we will have, but getting rid of the old space in the meantime.”
The Assembly voted 254 to 221 to approve the decision of the Assembly Trustees to suspend the review and implement a basic maintenance program.
Lanark’s Reverend Bryan Kerr took issue with the amount of money paid to outside consultants, which he said was £ 570,000 in 2018, although now reduced.
“We know the church is facing tough financial times, we know there was a voluntary exit program where we lost a number of key staff.
“Please can we try to make sure that we have less reliance on outside contractors and more confidence on the skills and talents of the people within our staff, ministry and alumni and members? wider from the church?
Dr Chalmers said there would always be a need for outside expertise, but said the church’s running costs were well below those expected of any charity.