We are entering the GA preparation season with moderator candidates being announced and overtures being endorsed. So here one of the early announcements…
A couple of weeks ago the Free Church of Scotland announced their selection of the Rev. Dr. John Nicholls as their Moderator Designate for the 2016 General Assembly. Rev. Nicholls currently serves, in semi-retirement, as an associate minister at the Smithton Free Church of Inverness, but may be best known as the former chief executive of the London City Mission, a position he left back in May of 2013 after more than 20 years with the organization. He began his ministry at Ardnamurchan, Lochaber in 1975 before returning to his home town of London to serve at the London City Church and then the City Mission.
He began his higher education, according to the press release, at the Universities of Bradford and then Leeds studying mathematics and education. He completed his theological training at what was then Free Church College (now Edinburgh Theological Seminary) and his doctorate is in practical theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
The Free Church press release says of him “Dr Nicholls, 66, is widely respected as one of the most gentle and gracious ministers in the denomination.”
The press release includes these words from Dr. Nicholls in response to the call:
“Although most of my years of ministry have been spent outside Scotland, the Free Church has been my spiritual home for over 40 years.
“It is a great honour to be asked to serve as moderator of the next General Assembly.
“Having seen much evidence of the vitality and growth of evangelical Presbyterian Churches around the world, it is exciting to see signs of similar growth and renewal in Scotland, with the Free Church growing in membership and in the number of its congregations.
“With record numbers of students enrolled at the Edinburgh Theological Seminary, these are days of renewed hope and expectation across the Free Church.
“In such a climate, the General Assembly becomes far more than a mere talking shop or business meeting.
“And yet, the work and witness of the Free Church will only truly prosper if there is a strong and healthy passion for prayer and for the Word of God, and a genuine love to Jesus Christ, among its ministers and members.
“That must be the most important concern of any Moderator and any Assembly.”
He and his wife Sarah have two children and four grandchildren.
Our congratulations to Dr. Nicholls and prayers and best wishes as he prepares for this new call. We look forward to his leadership as he moderates the Assembly and will continue to pray for him in the moderatorial year which will follow.