Changes in the Church of Scotland – a radical plan needs your prayers

Colin Sinclair

A plan that has been described as ‘radical’ has been developed to make significant changes to the way that the central Church – “121” – is structured. Congregations are being asked to pray for the people involved.

We have been asked to share this letter to the congregation. Our own minister, Norman, is heavily involved in the changes and would be happy to chat about them and how they will affect members.

Letter from Rt Revd Colin A M Sinclair, Moderator, General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

5 August 2019

Dear fellow members of the Church of Scotland,

In May, the General Assembly approved the work of the Special Commission and the Radical Action Plan. It was overwhelmingly agreed that we needed reform in many areas of our life and that we couldn’t postpone the decision to act any longer.  That change process has already begun and I am writing to ask for your prayers.

At the GA a new Trustee body of 12 people was elected, and they have been meeting regularly since they were appointed.  The Trustees are led by the Very Rev Dr John Chalmers and the Vice Convener is an elder and Session Clerk, Mrs Norma Rolls. To provide continuity from the Special Commission, James McNeill, an elder, serves as the Administrative Trustee.

When presenting the Radical Action Plan on behalf of the Council of Assembly, Dr Sally Bonnar, concluded her presentation in these words:

“Trust will be of foundational importance. We are not them and us …only us together.  Even together we don’t have all or even many of the solutions and that only by listening to God and trusting our brothers and sisters will we have any hope of success. And finally we need a total reliance on the living God… That is why within the plan we call once again for the church to pray, for a season of prayer which will be a time of reflection and preparation across the church”.

The General Assembly agreed to have a season of prayer for this process of change from September to December. Many have already been praying. Prayer resources and information will be provided but I am writing with a specific prayer request.

An advert has gone out and applications received for the new post of Chief Officer. The person appointed will work very closely with the new Trustee body to implement the decisions of the GA. Next Monday, 12 August, the first round of interviews will be held to fill this vacancy.

Pray for discernment and wisdom for the interview group, and pray for the candidates that they will be enabled to present a full and honest picture of their potential for undertaking such a task.

Pray for the skills and relationships that are needed by the Trustees and for a good and effective relationship with the new Chief Officer.

To help you in your prayers I have added a prayer.

Many thanks,

Rt Revd Colin A M Sinclair


General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

A Prayer for the new post of Chief Officer

Lord Jesus Christ, Head of the Church,

We pray for the Church of Scotland at this time.

As we begin a significant process of change

give to us wisdom to know what to do

courage to do what must be done

and compassion and understanding

for those for whom this will be hard.

We pray for the Trustee body

appointed to act on our behalf

for those who lead it

and those who serve on it.

Give them vision of what might be

and practical understanding of how to get there

Help them to listen carefully, speak graciously and decide clearly.

Especially at this time we pray

for the appointment of a Chief Officer

and for the first round of interviews on August 12th.

Bless those candidates who are invited to attend

and the interview group as they meet with each of them.

Grant discernment to know your will

Make it clear to them who is the person for this responsible job.

May we all support the Chief Officer

and the Trustees in the months ahead,

as, in dependence on your grace,

they work with us

for the renewal and reformation of our Church,

and for the glory of your name.