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Act 8, 2017 (VIII) – Act re-constituting the Ecumenical Relations Committee. 23rd May 2017. (As amended by Act 13, 2019 (XIII) – Act Revising Act 8, Class 2, 2017 regarding the Ecumenical Relations Committee)

The General Assembly, seeking to revise and update its legislation regarding the Church’s ecumenical relations, re-constitute the Ecumenical Relations Committee and enact as follows:

  1. Remit: The Ecumenical Relations Committee will promote, foster and develop relations with other denominations and like-minded believers in seeking the propagation of the gospel and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in Scotland and beyond. The Committee will take steps to promote and protect the position of the Free Church of Scotland with respect to her place in the wider Church. The Committee will carry out its remit as defined by this Act and as the General Assembly may appoint.
  2. Membership: Seven members in total comprising the Mission Director, the Mission Board Chairman, the Principal Clerk, Assistant Clerk Representative, the Moderator, the Principal of Edinburgh Theological Seminary, and one Elder, appointed for a four-year term, with the Convener appointed by the General Assembly and the Principal Clerk appointed as Clerk to the Committee.
  3. Categories of Relationships. The Committee’s remit and activities as regards categories of relationship with other churches and organisations shall be exercised as follows:

3.1 Mutual eligibility – involving mutual exchange of ministers in the due process of calling ministers for the filling of ministerial and other vacancies in the respective denomination.

3.2 Ecclesiastical Fellowship (Fraternal Relations) – a relationship with churches which are Reformed in their Confessional standards, church order, worship and discipline but where there are such differences so as not to allow union or enable mutual eligibility at this time. This relationship involves mutual exhortation, cooperation and consultation on all matters of mutual concern and interest in promoting Christian unity and advancing the work of the Gospel. This relationship will also include exchange of delegates at major Assemblies from time to time.

3.3 Recognition – a relationship with churches and denominations with an unqualified subscription to the Reformed Faith. The relationship is based on confessional subscription but recognises that there needs to be a time of mutual contact and encouragement with a view to entering into ecclesiastical fellowship in the future. The relationship includes inter-communion, but not excluding suitable enquiries upon requested transfer of membership, as regulated by the Kirk Session.

3.4 Gospel Partnership – including partnerships with other denominations, Churches, and Christian organisations who are Reformed and evangelical but with whom we may disagree on secondary matters. There will be a particular focus on co-operation in the local context, at home and abroad, and meetings will take place, and updates received from time to time as required.

3.5 Ecumenical Contact – including contact with other denominations, Churches, and Christian organisations with which we have common ground regarding the Gospel and with whom regular conference or local contact is generally not possible due to distance and geographical location.

  1. Annual Review . The Committee will seek that balance between promoting biblical unity on the one hand and protecting the interests and ethos of the Free Church on the other in its ecumenical activities. The Committee will receive updates on developments, on an annual basis, from all the denominations and organisations with which it is engaged. This will assist the Committee in carrying out an annual review of its activities on which a report will be brought to the General Assembly.

The General Assembly amend Act 15, Class 2, 2004, Clause 2.4 accordingly.

The General Assembly hereby repeal Act 4, Class 2, 2005.