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Councils to be Merged in Church Reorganisation Proposals

Thursday November 7 2019

The Church of Scotland offices in Edinburgh

The four central councils administering the work of the Church of Scotland at national level will be replaced by two much smaller groups, under proposals to be decided upon later this month.

The proposed new bodies have the working titles Faith Nurture Forum (combining the work of the Ministries and Mission and Discipleship Councils) and the Faith Impact Forum (the Church and Society and World Mission Councils).

The plans are set out in a report of the Assembly Trustees and will be discussed and voted on by a Commission of the General Assembly (a body consisting of around a tenth of the membership of this year’s General Assembly) on Thursday November 21. If approved, they will take effect on January 1.

Initially, the staff of the four councils will be transferred into the new bodies. Detailed discussions about the remits of the Forums will be held in the spring and will include assessments of which work should continue, which should be devolved to presbyteries and which can be discontinued.

The Councils themselves (the voluntary groups overseeing the work) will be discharged. The two Forums will be much smaller groups, of 15 each, and individual areas of work will be looked after by small implementation groups.

The report states that the new structure will make way ‘for a new way of working’: “The strength of the proposed new structure is to move away from an emphasis on the individual tasks of a grouping towards core purposes and the constant inter-linking of the nurturing of faith and the demonstration of faith and action.”

The proposals come in the context of the Radical Action Plan and Structural Change proposals approved by the General Assembly in May, which include devolving responsibilities to presbyteries (which will be merged into fewer, larger groups) and a need to reduce the expenditure of the Church’s central structure by 20-30%.

Read the full report on the Church of Scotland website.


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