Tomorrow evening we begin with concurrent General Assemblies as the Free Church of Scotland 2016 General Assembly convenes at Buccleuch Free Church in Edinburgh. The meeting will run until Thursday. It is always an interesting meeting so here is some info about following along.
- UPDATE: As anticipate there will be a live stream but only the audio. That will be enough. You can find the player within a news article. ORIGINAL: The Assembly is usually livestreamed but I have not found a link yet. Hopefully the location change to Buccleuch will not preclude the live streaming, and a tweet from Buccleuch is suggestive that there will be a stream. I will update here if the link is posted tomorrow.
- There is a draft programme for the week available online
- The advanced set of reports are available on the Reports page and Supplemental Reports may be released throughout the week.
- Daily updates are expected in the news stream.
- If you need the polity documents you can check the Acts of Assembly and Free Church Practice.
To follow along in social media you should be checking the official Free Church Facebook page as well as their Twitter feed @freechurchscot. The host church can be followed at @BuccleuchFC and the hashtag looks to be #fcga16, although keep an eye on #fcga as well. In addition, I would suggest also keeping an eye on the Twitter account for the official publication, The Free Church Record (@The_FC_Record). Also, the seminary, Edinburgh Theological Seminary (@ETS_Edinburgh) and its principal Iver Martin (@IverMartin) should be informative.
For extensive coverage of the Assembly I would encourage you to keep an eye on The Rev. David Robertson of St. Peter’s Free Church, Dundee, the outgoing Moderator of the General Assembly. He is a pastor who is well known within the Free Church as well as around the world through his writing, speaking and internet presence. While the Free Church has moved away from the nickname The Wee Frees, Rev. Robertson has embraced the title The Wee Flea and can be found by that title on both his blog as well as on Twitter (@theweeflea). I would expect Rev. Robertson to be writing about GA on his blog this coming week.
Other individuals to watch on Twitter are Iain D. Campbell (editor of the Record) at @revdridc, Martin MacLean at @shug_1980 and Robert Macleod at @macleod_robert. I will update as I see others commenting on the meeting. UPDATE: Several additional individuals on Twitter but let me first point out @jedirev, the moniker of Gordon Matheson.
The Free Church news feed has posted previews of several of the committee reports and recommendations they will bring. Edinburgh Theological Seminary Board will be discussing their expanding enrollment, new initiatives in distance learning and efforts to produce an annual theological journal. The Psalmody and Praise Committee will bring details of a new smartphone app to digitally access their Sing Psalms hymnal content as well as the interest in the hymnal itself from outside Scotland. The Board of Ministry will discuss an initiative where they hope to find funding for ministerial apprenticeship programs to give candidates and young ministers more mentoring as well helping assess their gifts for ministry. The Board will also be looking at consolidating portions of the Acts of Assembly into a single unit related to admission to the ministry. The Mission Board will be discussing their work around the world as well as emphasizing how even small increases in support, such as adding £50 or £100 per month, can have significant impact on their work. Finally the Trustees will give thanks for a relatively good budget situation helped by increased giving this past year, principally from new congregations within the church. The Trustees also hope to announce an new Principal Clerk for the Assembly who will begin in that position next year.
The Free Church Assembly is always interesting and I look forward to a stimulating week. And in the case you are trying to juggle both live streams, remember that in the evenings the Free Church usually has no competition.
So best wishes to the Free Church on their Assembly and we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your discernment throughout.