OSCR May Investigate Failing Presbyteries

A vote to the status quo may sound safe but the Kirk may end up walking a tight rope. Doing nothing may end up costing some congregations and Presbyteries dearly. Why am i saying this ? Read on. The General Assembly rejected the proposal for reform of the Presbyteries that had been laid before them by the Panel Review and Reform. It was always going to be a challenging concept for many in the church. Larger Presbyteries with full time staff running the day to day business of the regional church for some may look too much like bishops. Those in rural areas of course argued that creating larger presbyteries would only impact on a greater sense of isolation, with longer distances to travel to attend Presbytery Assemblies. Many omitted to see the advantage in local groups of congregations for fellowship and local strategy. The problem with this report was that it was leaving too many unanswered questions and seeking to encourage commissioners to see this as a virtue. I have not doubt that the Panel was earnestly seeking to model a bottom up reformation however it looked to many as a top down revelation that was being imposed by a central belt Commission. Personally I'm disappointed that this reform didn't win the approval of the whole Assembly because I believe that Presbyteries may now find that OSCR will take a greater interest in their governance role. In fact I'm sure OSCR will, after all the report has highlighted the poor state of some Presbyteries when it comes to filing returns and ensuring congregations file returns. It may be that those who lead the attack against these reforms will now need to reflect on their solutions to the issues that this report has highlighted. As pointed out by Former Moderator of the General Assembly of David Lacy " it was the first time in 20 years" that this had happened, that a major report had been treated so shoddily " He was referring to the fact that the Assembly had passed a counter-motion that was no even in the print, in other words it had been produced with very little thought as a knee jerk re-action. Well it may be that this knee jerk reaction will come back to haunt the Kirk.
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