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Act 21, 2020 – Appointing the Commission of Assembly

The General Assembly hereby appoint a Commission consisting of all the members of this General Assembly along with Rev. Iver Martin named by the Moderator to be their Commission.

  1. Meetings. This Commission is appointed to meet at Edinburgh on Wednesday 3rd March 2021 at 7 o’clock in the evening, and at other times and places as may be required with power to choose their own Moderator.

1.1. Exceptional Circumstances. The General Assembly declare that it shall be competent for the Commission to meet virtually under the provisions of Act 4, Class 2, 2020 should the current COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings still be in force at the time.

1.2. Quorum. The quorum shall be any twelve or more of their number, of whom four at least are always to be ministers.

1.3. Business. Items of business to be included in the Note of Business of the Commission shall be submitted to the Assembly Clerks’ Office at least ten days before the Commission is due to meet.

1.4. Church Courts. The General Assembly declare that no other Court of the Church may meet on the dates on which the Assembly has appointed its Commission to meet.

1.5. Continuance. This Commission shall remain in being until another Commission is appointed. All members are required to attend the diets of the Commission.

  1. General Powers. The General Assembly empower this Commission, or their quorum, to take up and dispose of any matter referred to them by the General Assembly or arising out of any Act or finding of the Assembly in accordance with the instructions given by the Assembly.

2.1 Interests of the Church. The Commission shall give attention to the interests of the Church in every respect to ensure that the Church does not suffer or incur any prejudice which it is possible for their powers to prevent, as they will be answerable.

2.2 Public Questions. The Commission shall give such a lead as they are able on moral issues and provide advice and assistance to Presbyteries, Board and Committees of the General Assembly, upon their making application.

2.3 Exclusions. The powers granted above shall not apply to particular affairs or processes before Presbyteries which have only a local relevance and have no reference to the whole Church.

  1. Review. The General Assembly empower this Commission, or their quorum, to receive appeals, complaints, petitions and references from individuals and from the lower courts of the Church, and all such matters as were previously directed to Provincial Synods.

3.1 Procedure. The General Assembly declare that the procedure for the submission of papers, etc., regarding references, appeals, complaints, and petitions be such that these be forwarded to the Principal Clerk of Assembly for inclusion in the business of the Commission as this is set out in the 2020 Act on the Dissolution of Synods.

  1. Admissions. The General Assembly empower this Commission, or their quorum, to receive applications for admission to the Free Church as follows.

4.1 Applications from Ministers. The said Commission is hereby authorised to receive and dispose of applications duly submitted through Presbyteries and the Board of Ministry from ministers of other denominations seeking admission to the Free Church ministry

4.2 Applications from Congregations. The said Commission is authorised to receive and dispose of applications through Presbyteries from any congregation wishing to join the Free Church of Scotland submitted in accordance with the procedures laid down by the General Assembly.

4.3 Ministerial Rolls. The said Commission is authorised to receive and dispose of petitions received from Presbyteries regarding the transference of the name of a minister from the Roll of Resigned Ministers to the Roll of Ministers Without Charge Eligible for Call.

  1. Mission Board. The General Assembly empower this Commission, or their quorum, to receive applications from the Mission Board as follows.

4.1 Church Development. The said Commission is empowered to receive and dispose of applications from preaching stations and church plants to be raised to fully sanctioned charges submitted through the Mission Board.

4.2 Consolidation. The said Commission is empowered to receive and dispose of applications from the Mission Board to link or unite two or more congregations following upon a Report from Board.

4.3 Global Mission. The said Commission is empowered to receive and dispose of applications from the Mission Board to appoint Ministers and workers in fulfilling the Church’s commitment to global mission following a report from the Board.

  1. Limited Powers. The General Assembly declare that it is not competent for the Commission to become involved in matters other than those committed and referred to them as above. All their proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the Acts and Constitution of the Church, avoiding anything which is contrary or prejudicial to such Acts and Constitution.

5.1 Accountability. The General Assembly further declare that in all their proceedings they shall be accountable to and censurable by next General Assembly as they may find reason arising from the above introduction to Paragraph 6.

5.2 Appeals. The General Assembly affirm that in general terms the findings of the Commission of Assembly are final and not subject to appeal. However, they declare that, in the case of Complaints, Appeals, Petitions, and References, it shall be competent for parties in the review process to appeal to the General Assembly.