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Act 29, 1983 (XXIX) – Act anent Agreement for Co-operation with Free Church in Southern Africa. 26th May 1983.

The General Assembly approve the Agreement for co-operation with the Free Church in Southern Africa set forth in Appendix B to the Board’s Report, and they authorise the Secretary of the Board to sign the Agreement on behalf of the Free Church of Scotland.

APPENDIX B.

AGREEMENT REGARDING CONTINUED CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND AND THE FREE CHURCH IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

Whereas by formal agreement approved by the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland in May 1976 and ratified by the Free Church in Southern Africa on 24th July 1976, the Free Church in Southern Africa was recognised as a Church in Association with the Free Church of Scotland accepting the Foreign Missions Board of the Free Church of Scotland “in loco Synodi “ and the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland as the final court ecclesiastical:

And whereas the Free Church in Southern Africa has now developed to the point where the terms of association may be properly relaxed and that Church set up its own Superior Courts to manage its own government and discipline without subjection to decisions of the Free Church of Scotland:

Wherefore:

The agreement entered into as specified above is hereby terminated and the relations between the two Churches shall continue as follows;

  1. Both Churches shall continue to own the Westminster Confession of Faith as their principal standard in subordination to the Word of God, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
  2. The Free Church of Scotland shall continue to send missionaries to labour within the bounds of the Free Church in Southern Africa. The form and sphere of service shall be agreed between the Foreign Missions Board of the Free Church of Scotland and the General Assembly of the Free Church in Southern Africa or its Commission.
  3. These missionaries, whilst remaining missionaries of the Free Church of Scotland, shall be seconded to the Free Church in Southern Africa, and shall be subject to the authority of the local Presbytery, always in their own interest with right of access to the Foreign Missions Board.
  4. If a situation should arise where the Presbytery deem that there is a prima facie charge of heresy or misconduct, in terms of the agreed Standards, against the missionary they may ask the General Assembly of the Free Church in Southern Africa or its Commission to relieve him of his duties and shall report the whole matter to the Foreign Missions Board of the Free Church of Scotland.
  5. The accommodation and maintenance of missionaries seconded by the Free Church of Scotland shall be the responsibility of the Free Church of Scotland. The Free Church of Scotland also undertakes so far as its resources allow, to aid the Central Fund of the Free Church in Southern Africa as shall seem necessary and expedient.
  6. The Free Church in Southern Africa will be informed of the policy of the Foreign Missions Board of the Free Church of Scotland with reference to the period of leave of their missionaries – at the present time for nine months at the end of four years.
  7. It is taken for granted that unless the missionary does not want to return, or the Free Church in Southern Africa does not want to receive him, or the Foreign Missions Board does not think it is convenient, the missionary will carry out his future period of service according to the present agreement in consultation with the General Assembly of the Free Church in Southern Africa or its Commission and the Foreign Missions Board of the Free Church of Scotland; his work and his place of work will be established before his home-leave.
  8. While the above paragraphs envisage personnel sent for long-term service with the Free Church in Southern Africa, the Free Church of Scotland will encourage others with various skills to go as volunteers to help in specific areas in response to requests from the African Church.
  9. The General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland will grant a seat in the General Assembly, with deliberative but not voting rights, to any duly certified elder or minister of the Free Church in Southern Africa who happens to be in Edinburgh at the time of the Assembly.
  10. The General Assembly of the Free Church in Southern Africa will grant a seat in the General Assembly, with deliberative but not voting rights, to any duly certified elder or minister of the Free Church of Scotland who happens to be in Africa at the time of the Assembly.