AT the opening of the annual Synod of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which took place in Inverness from 18th May, the retiring Moderator, the Rev. Donald A Ross, Laide, preached from Colossians 1:15-18. (See page 197). The new Moderator is the Rev. George G. Hutton, Broadford, Skye.
The Rev. Angus Smith, M.A., a former minister of the Free Church in the Island of Lewis, was admitted to the ministry of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Rev. James Clark, M.A., M.Sc., formerly a minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, was received on trial for a year as a minister of the Church; and the Rev. Allan MacDonald, M.A., formerly a Probationer of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland, was received on trial for a year as a Probationer in the Church. The position will be reviewed at the next meeting of Synod, D.V.
The Synod rescinded the decision of the 1998 Synod (that the Church withdraw from its mission work in Kenya). Steps will taken to resume the work on a limited scale.
A Resolution on education in Scotland was adopted by the Synod for submission to the new Scottish Parliament. In expressing its concern about education in Scottish schools, the Synod stated, “We strongly hold the view that the nations problems are the result of the increasing secularisation of education and consequent lack of regard for the Holy Scriptures as Gods word to us as a nation and as individuals.” The Synod called on the Scottish Parliament to consider that the present Scottish education system is rooted in the 16th century Protestant Reformation, and that the basis of this system was a knowledge of, and respect for, the Bible. “We would urge Parliament,” the Resolution continues, “as they now have an opportunity to make a new beginning, once more to give due regard to the Christian principles which in the past proved so successful in giving Scotland an education system second to none. We believe it is only when Gods authority is honoured by individuals and the nation as a whole that authority will be restored in schools. If discipline on biblical principles were established and maintained in Scottish schools, by Gods blessing the result would be better schools and better education, better pupils and better citizens. We call on the new Scottish Parliament to take the Bible as their guide in formulating educational policy and to keep biblical principles before them as they frame their educational programmes. Gods promise cannot fail: Them that honour me I will honour (1 Samuel 2:30).”
Events in the Scottish Partliament overtook the Resolution, proposed by the Religion and Morals Committee, about prayer in the Scottish Parliament. The Committee was instructed therefore to make representations to the Scottish Parliament about the proposal to have interfaith prayers, and not Christian prayer exclusively, at the opening of its sessions.
None of the ministers from Zimbabwe was able to be present on this occasion, but their reports were presented by members of the Foreign Missions Committee and Mr. E. Zikhali from Bulawayo. Mr H. van Vliet, Secretary of Mbuma Zending, the Dutch society which so generously supports the Church’s work in Africa, and Mr A. B. den Breejen, the Treasurer, were welcomed by the Moderator to the meeting. Mr van Vliet addressed the Synod and conveyed the greetings and prayerful good wishes of Mbuma Zending to the Synod.
Wednesday, 15th December, 1999, was appointed be kept as a day of humiliation and prayer throughout the Church, “to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God on account of the widespread departure from true religion and scriptural morality by all sections of society in our land. We need to humble ourselves also on account of the solemn indications of Divine judgment to be seen in various ways, especially in the flames of war now kindled on the continent of Europe for the first time since the end of World War 2. The Synod exhorts one and all to be in earnest prayer for the spirit of repentance to be poured upon us as a nation.”
The Synod noted with sadness that some former members passed away since the last meeting. Tributes to the late Rev. Lachlan MacLeod, formerly of Greenock, Rev. Angus MacKay, formerly of Tarbert, Harris, Rev. Alexander Morrison, North Uist, and Mr Neil Beaton, Portree, were recorded.