Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Home  >  Features  >  General Assembly 2015


Picture by Derek Fett
Picture by Derek Fett

General Assembly 2015

Monday May 11 2015

Welcome to Life and Work's coverage of the 2015 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which opens on Saturday May 16.

We will be providing daily updates from the Assembly hall, as well as giving you a flavour of some of the fringe events. Feel free to get involved in the debates by contacting us through Facebook, Twitter or email. A webcast of the proceedings, along with full reports and key speeches, will be available through the General Assembly area of the Church of Scotland website.

Here are our summaries of the reports to the Assembly.

And here's the Assembly business timetable and fringe timetable.

Read our interview with the Moderator-Designate, the Rev Dr Angus Morrison.

If you're a General Assembly newbie, you may want to check out our Beginner's Guide.

And finally, here's what happened last year.

Friday May 22

The Moderator and Lord High Commissioner are 'clapped out' at the end of the 2015 General Assembly

The traditional 'clapping out' of the Moderator and the Lord High Commissioner at the close of the General Assembly.

In his closing speech, the Moderator, the Rt Rev Angus Morrison, told the Assembly that it had been an ‘extraordinary and unforgettable week’, one which he thought he had lost the chance of when he had to withdraw due to illness last year. “But with God’s good providence here we are, and I wish again to thank the Assembly for so graciously enabling me to be here this week.”

He restated his wish for the Church to stay united during its current difficulties: “We are one family and we all know the best of families have disagreements and arguments. But the strength of family is we talk these things through, we stick with one another.

“The notion that deep disagreements are best dealt with by separating ourselves off from those we disagree with is deeply flawed. I sincerely hope and pray that, whatever the pain being felt on all sides, we will all hang in there together, we will continue to pray for and listen to one another, and wait for God to lead us forward in His way.”

And he told the Commissioners to leave the Assembly in a spirit of hope: “We are not complacent but neither should we be cowed or despondent in any way.”

The Lord High Commissioner, Baron Hope of Craighead, told the Assembly of his visits around Scotland during the week, saying that he had talked in his opening speech of ‘the goodness we see and feel around us in our country… and, by goodness, we have seen and felt so much of it in the last few days’.

Report of today's business: call for congregations not to hold on to old buildings which are not fit for purpose.

Thursday May 21

Church takes step towards allowing ministers in same-sex marriage. Plus: Mission and Discipleship, Youth Assembly, Military Chaplains.

The Moderator and the military chaplains in the Signet Libary in Edinburgh

The Moderator, the Rev Dr Angus Morrison, with the heads of chaplaincy for the three armed forces and Major General James Cowan (2nd from right), who spoke to the General Assembly this morning, and the military chaplains of the Church of Scotland. Pictured in the Signet Library following the presentation of the Report of the Committee  of Chaplains to HM Forces.


Douglas Galbraith on the organ at the General Assembly

Douglas Galbraith, who this week steps down as Precentor of the General Assembly after many years, at the organ this morning.

Wednesday May 20


A sign language interpreter at the General Assembly.

One of the sign language interpreters working at this year's General Assembly. Picture by Derek Fett.

The Decade for Ministry - Ministry to Deaf People - CrossReach and the Living Wage - an action plan for the Church of Scotland Guild

Tuesday May 19

Assembly restates opposition to nuclear weapons, calls for recognition of State of Palestine.

See the winning entries for the Moderator's Medal here.

Monday May 18

Powerful testimony from a visitor from Nepal.

Sunday May 17

Around 5000 people gathered in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens for Heart and Soul, the celebration of the life of the Church of Scotland. See a picture gallery here.

Saturday May 16

Church approves ministers in civil partnerships.

Report of the debate and today's other business.