Report of Meeting of General Assembly on 18th May

Date: Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Author: Rev Graeme Craig

With the current health crisis making a normal meeting of the General Assembly impracticable, only a brief meeting was held on the day appointed, Monday 18th May 2020. Given that over the last number of weeks many have benefitted from the Zoom Prayer Meetings arranged by Rev. James Gracie, it was decided to have the opening devotions of the Assembly take the form of such a meeting, led by the retiring Moderator, Rev. William Macleod. During this time, during which a variety of brethren from both within and outwith the Church were asked to lead in prayer, Mr Macleod gave a brief address based on James 5:13, Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. He pointed out that affliction is one means by which God calls on men to pray and that in the light of the current pandemic, which is affecting all nations, everyone should be praying. The world may not be praying, but the Church can and should plead with the Lord that He would have mercy on us. The address can be listened to here.

After the Assembly was constituted there was the usual preliminary business. In the extraordinary circumstances, there was a recognition that this year’s Assembly would not be like a “normal” Assembly and bearing this in mind, it was agreed that Mr Macleod remain in the Chair. To this Mr Macleod reluctantly agreed, he having no wish to become a perpetual Moderator.

The only Report dealt with at this time was that of the Assembly Arrangements & Nominations Committee. In presenting the Committee’s Report, Mr Glenn Fraser, Convener, indicated that the Committee had arranged for the Assembly to meet in May by Zoom conference call and that it was hoped that after suspending their Sederunt that evening until October, the Assembly might be able to reconvene physically in Inverness for a somewhat abbreviated meeting around the usual time of the October Committee meetings.

The only other business conducted was a motion from the Convener of the Public Questions, Religion & Morals Committee, Rev. Greg MacDonald, seeking the agreement of the House to send a letter to her majesty the Queen in the light of the prevailing exceptional health crisis affecting the country. His motion was agreed unanimously. In this letter, the Assembly assured the Queen of the Church’s prayers for her and the Royal family, those in Government, those involved in maintaining essential services and all in the nation during the current health crisis, called on her assistance for the organising of a Day of Prayer, reminded her of the need for national repentance and asked for her assistance in the reopening of places of Public Worship. A copy of this letter to her majesty the Queen will be published in due course.

The Assembly then suspended their meeting, to meet again in Free Greyfriars Church, Inverness, on Tuesday 6th October at 2pm, failing which at the nearest practicable place and time appointed by the Moderator, whereof public intimation was given.

Graeme Craig
Assistant Clerk of Assembly