General Assembly 2019 begins on Saturday 18th May and runs until Friday 24th
Some Presbytery members will already have been approached about being commissioners at General Assembly. This section of this Highland Presbyteries site will help you make the most of your GA experience – and will help you be a part of the Church’s decision making in these times of change. At the foot of the page is a form where you can ask questions – this will help with future updates of this page. Bookmark this page, share it- tell others about www.highlandpresbyteries.org.uk/GA2019
So you are a commissioner to GA2019…
You have been commissioned by your Presbytery to be at the next General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The notes and videos here will help you make the most of your Assembly experience – by getting the best out of it – and putting the best into it.
Your Presbytery Clerk or others in Presbytery will be able to assist you with any queries not answered here. You can ask a question via the form at the foot of this page. First time commissioners will be invited to an event on the Friday evening at which there will be an introduction to the General Assembly -a very worthwhile event.
Prior to the Assembly
You should make accommodation arrangements for the week. Expenses up to £75 per night accommodation and a daily allowance of up to £15 can be reimbirsed. (If staying in Edinburgh area with family or friends up to £80 may be claimed towards a gift/ meal etc by way of gesture of thanks). Expense claim form will be sent to you and can be handed in towards the close of the Assembly or within a few days thereafter.
If you have requested a printed copy of the “Blue Book” of Assembly Reports this will be sent to you late April, otherwise reports can be downloaded from www.gapublications.co.uk.
In the mailing with the ID Card you will receive the Order of Proceedings Booklet – this will outline the timetable for the week, and also lists all the commissioners. This booklet is also available as an electronic download.
Reading the Blue Book
You should read over the reports prior to Assembly – ideally from cover to cover! However a realistic approach is to skim through the book, noticing areas of particular interest to you. Prior to each report is the “Deliverance” (the proposals which are being presented by the reporting Council or Committee). The Deliverance will give you an idea of the topics which will be debated – and you can then focus in or particular areas of the reports. As you read and reflect upon the reports – think on how it will impact your setting and congregation – are there questions forming in your mind? Questions are in order at any time during the Assembly and will encourage meaningful debate. Don’t assume that everyone else knows the answer.
On the Saturday you can pick up, or have previously downloaded “the daily papers”. These will outline the agenda for Saturday and Monday, along with information about Assembly Worship at St Giles, the Gaelic Service at Grayfriars and Heart and Soul. There will also be “notices of motion” which have already been received. Each day, Tuesday to Friday there will be updated Daily Papers. For the printed copies you will want to retain previous days papers which may be required; the electronic copies will include prior days. Daily papers will be available to download from early evening on the prior day. If you are able to, it is advisable to download Daily Papers before you arrive at the Assembly Hall – to get an early look at the day’s business and to avoid over stretching the Internet provision at the Hall.
Internet provision has been enhanced at the Assembly Hall this year with a dedicated Fibre optic connection. (The facilities from New College provide back up should it be required during the Assembly). The logon details will be on the daily papers. This provision is primarily to enable to access GA publications, and commissioners are asked to minimise other internet use in the Hall.
The Rainy Hall, adjacent to the main Assembly Hall, is where the “Commissioners’ boxes” are located – each commissioner has a numbered box from where papers can be collected. Note that Daily Papers will NOT be in Commissioners’ boxes – but can be collected in the Rainy Hall by those preferring not to use the electronic versions.
Speaking and Voting
Deliverances – and how to change them
Each Council or Committee reporting to the Assembly will present a “deliverance” this is a list of proposals which the Assembly will debate and vote upon. In many cases agreement is indicated with stamping of feet (augmented with hand clapping in these days of a carpetted hall!)
[This section is being developed – come back again soon!]
Heart and Soul -will take place on Sunday 20th – HeartAndSoul.org.uk
In the Martin Hall there will be various displays, bookstall and clerical outfitters.
Various events are hosted during Assembly Week by Councils, Committees, and organisations – details are on the gapublications website
- One of the Presbytery’s Commissioners may be asked to bring a brief report to the Presbytery meeting following Assembly
- The entire proceedings will be available to be viewed on-line after the event
- Remember to submit your expense claim – if you didn’t hand it in at Assembly – make sure it is posted to arrive within 14 days of the close of Assembly.
- Over the summer period the Consolidated Deliverance will be available and later included with the “Assembly Remits” booklet available in printed and electronic formats – these are the decisions which having been made a General Assembly will be worked on in Councils, Committees, Presbyteries and Congregations
If you have any questions please use the form here – this will assist in the further editing of this page.