March 2017 Synod Meeting

Summary of March 2017 Synod Weekend

View Photographs from the Weekend

Friday Evening

Synod Moderator Revd Dr David Pickering

National Synod of Scotland spring meeting was constituted by the Moderator who led us in worship. This included welcoming new members to Synod Meeting, new ministers and elders, marking ministers with significant anniversaries and welcoming ecumenical guests.


Our new Synod Clerk – Mr Bill Robson – was commissioned.

Part of music group for worship

Resolutions referred to Synod by General Assembly

These resolutions (Resolution 3 and 42) were notified at September Synod Meeting.

Synod approved these resolutions as they stand.

Feasts and Festivals

Francis Brienen

Francis Brienen: Deputy General Secretary – Mission led an interesting introductory session on Feasts and Festivals – Walking the Way – Living the Life

Synod meeting closed for the evening with worship led by East Link

At our welcome and social gathering Dr Jim Merrilees received a presentation to give thanks for his service as Interim Synod Clerk.

Dr Jim Merrilees

Saturday First Session

Business this morning included receiving committee reports from:

  • Policy Planning and Strategy

This report was received.

  •  Finance and Property

This report was received.

The following resolution was passed:

The National Synod of Scotland meeting in Tulliallan aspires to raise through church contributions to the work of the Synod the sum of £33,000 as outlined in the Budget for 2017. This equates to £12.50 per member.

  • Pastoral

This report was received.

Saturday Second Session

After coffee break Synod Meeting moved into workshops. Four workshops were available, repeated once to allow representatives from Churches to attend each one between them.


  • Holy Habits – everyday wear for regular disciples. Led by Francis Brienen
  • Interfaith – Building Interfaith Relations and Safer Communities in Scotland. Led by Chief Inspector Shaheen Baber
  • Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Human Trafficking – Led by Church and Society Committee
  • Our Reformation 2017 – Led by Church Life Committee

Saturday Third Session

Synod Meeting reconvened after lunch

Women’s Union

  • Synod Meeting was updated on the work of the Women’s Union

Synod Meeting then closed at 2:15pm and convened as the Scottish United Reformed & Congregational College Annual Meeting where the annual report and accounts were received.

Revd Dr Principal Jack Dyce

The chair informed meeting of the pending retirement of the college principal and gave a short thanks for his contribution over the years. A more formal recognition will be made at a later date.

Synod Meeting reconvened at 2:45pm

PPS Reports

  • The nominations Group updated the meeting on the current nominations matrix

Synod Meeting confirmed proposed committee appointments

  • Communications Advisory Group – The Synod Clerk updated the meeting on progress and the revised Synod Website was presented to Synod

Saturday Fourth Session

After tea and coffee a meeting of the ministers (Active, Retired, Interim Moderators’) present was held

The future of the Synod Team

The Meeting was updated on the work being carried out in this area (Appendix 1 PPS Report) including within the areas of Children and Young People and Education and Learning


Stewart Cutler, in his last Synod Meeting as Synod Children and Youth Development Officer, before his ordination and induction to St Ninians Stonehouse, addressed Synod reflecting on his 10.5 years’ service.

Stewart Cutler

It was with much pleasure that Stewart Cutler was presented with a gift from members of Youth Synod along with words of thanks.

Saturday Fifth Session

After dinner the Link Gatherings were held, giving an opportunity for links groups to discuss topics relevant to links.

This was followed by closing reflections led by Francis Brienen on the Road to Emmaus


A celebration of Holy Communion was led by the Moderator.

Presentation to Leslie Morrison

Revd Leslie Morrison

On behalf of the Synod the Moderator give thanks to Revd Leslie Morrison and a gift to mark Leslie’s retirement as a Minister of Word and Sacrament. Leslie continues as convenor of Finance and Property Committee.

Youth and Young Adults Forum

After tea and coffee the Youth and Young Adults Forum informed Synod of their activities over the weekend which has been based on sex and relationships.

The Youth and Young People Committee reported back on their meeting and how they would see membership of a proposed Youth Executive (see resolution below) and future activities.

Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees

Bungie updated Synod on this and a message from a member of the committee from Calais. The offering from the communion service was for Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees.

Reports from Synod Committees

Synod received committee reports from:

  • Children and Young People

Proposed National Synod of Scotland Youth Executive

Katie Henderson updated Synod Meeting on the proposal to form a Youth Executive.







Synod agrees to:

  • Establish a Youth Executive in place of the Children and Youth Ministry Committee
  • Help Links support their Youth Executive members
  • Encourage Churches to look beyond those attending on Sunday morning to engage young people involved in weekday activities in the life of the Synod and URC Youth
  • Allow Youth Executive to appoint two representatives to attend Synod as full members.


Church and Society

This report was received by Synod Meeting

The following resolution was passed:

The National Synod of Scotland welcomes the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 and agrees:

 1. to continue raising awareness within our local congregations of trafficking in persons as a crime against humanity within our local congregations;

 2. to support and participate in the spiritual befriending project between ACTS churches, advocacy organisations and victims.

Church Life

This report was received

Ecumenical and World Church

This report was received

EMU Review

The following resolution was passed:

Giving thanks for the companionship, faithfulness, creativity and prayers of each of the Partners hitherto for their colleagues, and believing that the common work which has been possible and the friendships made still form a basis for continuing to strive for enhanced ways of working ecumenically in Scotland, the EMU Partners undertake during the next 2 years to work, with a sharpened focus,

  1. a) to produce realistic proposals for identifiable progress in specifically identified areas of work, particularly those impacting locally, such as recognition of ministries, learning and training, creative mission initiatives,


  1. b) to open a process of conversation with ACTS regarding the relationship of the formal EMU Partnership to and within ACTS and, in the light of outcomes under (a), the ways in which EMU can contribute to and enhance ACTS’ own agenda, life and work.

Remaindered Business

Northerly Synods Report

The Synod Clerk updated Synod Meeting on progress on discussions.

With all business concluded, Synod Meeting closed with worship led by the Moderator.