The final day of the General Assembly is always the least well attended. It tends to be the pensions, trustees and stewardship type committees. Short reports and few decisions.
But not today.
The Ministries Council report was remaindered yesterday and so mid-morning the discussion about Ordained Local Ministry began again. Eventually Assembly voted 200-190 in favour of the Council’s proposals to begin to train people to perform certain ministry functions, including sacraments.
Delv 8. Approve the introduction of an Ordained Local Ministry as outlined in the Report and instruct the Council to bring forward further details of the training process and appropriate legislation to the General Assembly 2012. (Section 1.8.2 – 1.8.5)
Concept of OLM: OLM is conceived as a nonstipendiary form of the ministry of Word and Sacrament, aimed at engaging those with an appropriately tested sense of call towards ordination, but who wish to serve
primarily in a localised ministry. This would often, though not exclusively, be in support of those working in leadership roles as Parish Ministers (whether full-time or part-time). The normal expectation would be that OLMs would offer around 10 hours per week in an unpaid role, though it is recognised that some may find themselves in situations where they are able and willing to offer more time. It is also likely that in some circumstances
OLMs will be appointed to work in other roles specifically designated by Presbyteries, for some of which they may receive payment (eg as a Locum).
I’m all for this development. I think the reservation of sacraments is much more about power than about praise and I’m glad that the Church of Scotland has taken this positive step.
It raises lots of questions about the role and responsibilities of ministers of word and sacrament but I think that particular discussion is way overdue and one for another post.
It was a shame to see such an empty Assembly Hall making such an important decision. I wonder when the Assembly will start to register voting like Parliament so you can see who voted and who was absent.