The 2015 Free Church of Scotland General Assembly began tonight with Rev David Robertson taking up his new role as Moderator.
The minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity succeeds Rev David Miller.
To mark the occasion, Mr Robertson was presented with a special Bible from Elaine Duncan from the Scottish Bible Society.
The new Moderator was greeted with warm applause by Assembly commissioners.
James Fraser CBE, chairman of the Board of Trustees and elder in Kiltarlity Free Church near Inverness, said: “My illustrious predecessor, as Chair of the Finance Law and Advisory Committee, the late John O Sutherland, convinced his colleagues that the Free Church should revitalize Robert Murray McCheyne’s old Church, St Peters, in Dundee.
“In 1992 David shifted from the beauty and tranquility of Brora to a derelict church building in Dundee with handful of mainly elderly people by way of a congregation.
“David believed that it could have a different future; the Free Church backed his belief and today he presides over a large and vibrant congregation, located in a refurbished St Peters, located in the heartland of Dundee University.”
Mr Fraser added: “We have in David a passionate and faithful exponent and communicator of the Gospel, a Christian writer and debater of national and international reputation and status, someone who has a lively interest in the contemporary world and who is a passionate believer in the truth and transforming power of the gospel.
“His spiritual and intellectual gifts combined with devotion to practical Christianity eminently fit him to lead us through this Assembly and to represent the Free Church in the year of our Lord 2015.”
Earlier in the evening outgoing Moderator Rev David Miller preached on Exodus 34:14 - The Lord’s name is Jealous.
Mr Miller emphasised that Christians have the Lord’s undivided attention, but contrasted that with the unfaithfulness of His people because their hearts often wander to false idols.
He concluded by encouraging those gathered to be zealous for God, to the One who loves us with an everlasting love.
Dingwall minister Rev Angus MacRae thanked Mr Miller for his “humility, gracious leadership and reverence shown” in his year as Moderator.
Tomorrow morning Mr Robertson will give his keynote address as Moderator, and commissioners will also consider reports from the Board of Trustees, the Psalmody and Praise Committee as well as the presentation of the Lyle Orr Awards in the evening.