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'Keep Moving Forward' Urges Moderator

Thursday May 23 2024

The Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev Dr Shaw Paterson. Picture by Andrew O'Brien

The 2024 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland closed with the Moderator, the Rt Rev Dr Shaw Paterson, encouraging the Church to ‘keep moving forward’.

Dr Paterson told the Assembly that it had been ‘a wonderful experience’ being Moderator, and that the Assembly had worked together in facing up to the challenging issues the Church faces.

Becoming emotional as he remembered how his 'boss', the Very Rev Dr Hugh Wyllie (who died last year and whose name was listed in the report of deceased ministers and missionaries), had presented him to the Assembly as a young minister, he reminded this year’s crop of newly-ordained ministers that they would not be alone, and never to be afraid to ask for help.

And he told the Commissioners not to become despondent as they returned to their parishes, saying, in a sailing analogy, that Jesus was at the helm, steering the boat.

“Keep moving forward,” he said. “We don’t know where God’s spirit will lead us. But let’s step out in faith, following the example and commandment of our saviour Jesus Christ.”

In his closing remarks, the Lord High Commissioner, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, congratulated Dr Paterson on the ‘style and manner’ in which he had conducted the Assembly which, he said, had ‘made a huge difference to the atmosphere’ of the gathering.

The Duke said it had been 'a pleasure and a privilege' to be at the Assembly. With his wife, Sophie, he had visited projects around Scotland during the week, and he said they had 'tried to listen, to share and to encourage'.

With the skies opening above Edinburgh, the traditional ‘clapping-out’ of the Lord High Commissioner happened indoors, with the Moderator taking leave of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh in the Black and White Corridor.

Look out for Life and Work's free downloadable summary of the key points from the General Assembly, available from May 29.

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