Shawbost Free Church minister Rev Callum Macleod (pictured above) is set to become Principal Clerk of the General Assembly after being appointed to the role by commissioners this afternoon.
Current Principal Clerk Rev James Maciver had announced his intention to step down at the conclusion of next year’s Assembly, giving plenty of notice for a replacement to be found.
Following consultation from Presbyteries, Rev Callum Macleod was proposed by commissioners and the Western Isles minister accepted on the spot.
Because Mr Macleod is Assistant Clerk, his successor will be appointed at next year’s Assembly with Presbyteries suggesting names in due course.
The rest of the afternoon included lively discussion on how best the Free Church can respond to public issues, and this will now be taken forward by the Board of Trustees.
Through an amendment from Rev David Robertson and Rev Andrew Longwe (pictured above), the Assembly also instructed the Trustees to organise and co-ordinate a national day of prayer and fasting for the nation and the church of Jesus Christ throughout the land.
This day will be organised in conjunction with the Boards of the Free Church and suitable information will be sent to all Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries.
An amendment instructing the Board of Trustees, in conjunction with the Mission Board, to sell two Peruvian properties and use the proceeds of the sale for international mission was also approved.
A petition from Richard Haffenden and others, regarding the finding of the October 2015 Commission of Assembly on Cobham Presbyterian Church, was discussed at length.
Following a vote, commissioners agreed that the October 2015 Commission of Assembly decision regarding Cobham was ultra vires (acting beyond the powers given to it).
It was decided that the Cobham congregation be united with London City Presbyterian Church, under the present ministry of Rev Andy Pearson.
The Kirk Session and Deacons’ Court of the united charge will now consult with the Board of Trustees about outstanding loans and other matters.
At the end of the afternoon session, commissioners welcomed five guest speakers, hearing from Elaine Duncan from the Scottish Bible Society, Mervyn Langtry from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ireland, Rev Alan Black from London City Mission, Rev Graham Nicholls from Affinity and Rev Teo Yew Tiong of the Presbyterian Church in Singapore (pictured below).
Tonight the General Assembly will hear the youth section of the Mission Board report, as well as the presentation of the Lyle Orr Awards.
The report of the Psalmody and Praise Committee will also be presented.
The evening session begins at 6.30pm, with a live audio feed available here.