A new thing
"... do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Isaiah 43. 18-19
Not surprisingly perhaps, the first day of the General Assembly is big on ceremony. There is the handing over of the moderatorial baton, welcoming the Lord High Commissioner as His Majesty's official representative and the presence of the First Minister of Scotland. The Lord Lyon King of Arms even got a walk-on part - literally!
There was substance as well as flummery. Iain Greenshields' parting address as out-going moderator was frank in his warning that the Church of Scotland needs to rediscover our purpose while refining our operation. Elaine Duncan presented an impassioned and, at times, emotional update on the work of the Scottish Bible Society, both at home with its audio-visual Gaelic resources and abroad through its translation of the scriptures into other languages.
For obvious reasons, our overture to launch Clèir Eilean Ì, the new Presbytery of the Highlands & Hebrides was my own highlight. While some quibble with the name and all are painfully conscious of the empty space at the table on account of the last-minute withdrawal of the Presbytery of Lewis, there was relief at getting across the line after years of planning and negotiation. And now the real work begins...