The committee elected to nominate the Moderator chose Rev Sally Foster-Fulton as the Moderator of the General Assembly 2023-24.
Mrs Foster-Fulton will take a year's sabbatical from her role as head of Christian Aid in Scotland to serve as the Kirk's ambassador at home and abroad. She was formally appointed Moderator in May 2023, succeeding the 2022-23 Moderator, Very Rev Dr Iain Greenshields.
The Moderator—who moderates, or chairs, the annual General Assembly—is nominated by a committee which consists of 15 representatives elected by the General Assembly. The Moderator must also be formally elected by commissioners at the start of the Assembly.
The honorary office is held for one year only. Following the week of the General Assembly, the Moderator acts as an ambassador for the Church of Scotland, frequently being invited to represent the Church at official events at home and abroad. Her chaplains are Rev Louise McClements minister at Lenzie OLd Parish Church and Rev Martin Johnstone, Co-Director of the Poverty Truth Network.
Duties of the Moderator
Office of the Moderator of The General Assembly Regulations (Regulations II 2013) (As Amended By Regulations II 2023). Edinburgh, 18 May 2013, Session. I.
1. The Moderator of the General Assembly shall:
(1) preside over the General Assembly and perform those duties as stated in the Standing Orders;
(2) perform such duties as may be directed by the General Assembly, and represent the Church of Scotland on historic and national occasions, as they may arise; such duties shall include extensive engagement in preaching and in the leading of worship;
(3) visit presbyteries according to the Scheme of Visitation approved by the General Assembly and shall undertake overseas visitation only if circumstances require it, in each case having regard to the needs and resources of the Church and its presbyteries;
(4) where appropriate, act as a spokesperson for the Church. Where a particular matter lies within the remit or area of responsibility of a particular Standing Committee of the General Assembly, that Standing Committee shall determine whether the Moderator is the best person to speak on its behalf on that matter. Only if the Standing Committee decides otherwise, or if the Moderator is unavailable, will it nominate a different spokesperson;
(5) when he or she is asked to express an opinion on any matter of national or public importance or one which lies within the remit or area of responsibility of a particular Standing Committee, be mindful of the views of the General Assembly and of its Standing Committees and so far as possible consult with the Conveners of such Standing Committees.
(6) support the work of the Standing Committees, Presbyteries and other groups within the Church as requested and having regard to his or her other commitments. All Standing Committees shall consider whether the support of the Moderator would assist them in their work and in their dealings with outside bodies. The Moderator shall be briefed by all Standing Committees about their work at the start of and during his or her moderatorial year as appropriate. Where possible, all Standing Committees, Presbyteries and other groups within the Church who wish to involve the Moderator in their work during his or her moderatorial year should make a formal request to the Principal Clerk before 31 January of the moderatorial year;
(7) consult with the Standing Committees and Presbyteries of the Church to identify a particular aspect of the life and witness of the Church in which his or her involvement would be particularly helpful, taking account of his or her skills, interests and experience;
(8) unless exceptional circumstances arise, adhere to the budget approved by the General Assembly for the expenses and other costs of his or her moderatorial year. Those Standing Committees, Presbyteries or other groups who wish to involve the Moderator in their work will bear his or her expenses unless there are exceptional circumstances;
(9) convene the Committee to Nominate the Moderator in the year following his or her moderatorial year;
(10) save in exceptional circumstances, reside in the Moderator's official residence ('the Official Residence') during his or her moderatorial year. The Moderator - Designate shall take up occupation of the Official Residence on the first Saturday in May preceding the commencement of his or her moderatorial year ('the Entry Date'), and as Moderator shall vacate the Official Residence on the date occurring two weeks prior to the Entry Date for the Moderator-Designate in the succeeding year, at which time alternative accommodation for the remainder of the current Moderator's moderatorial year shall be agreed. During periods of the Moderator' absence, maintenance work may be carried out in the Official Residence;
(11) normally be expected to work in the Official Residence and in an area for the Moderator's use within the Office of the General Assembly; and
(12) be offered a debriefing exercise at an appropriate time following his or her moderatorial year, organised by the Principal Clerk.
2. The provisions contained in these Regulations generally apply during the moderatorial year of the Moderator in question, except where expressly stated otherwise.
3. Regulations V(2) 2013 are hereby repealed
Selecting a Moderator
Every year in October, a committee of the Assembly meets in Edinburgh to nominate the person who will be presented as Moderator Designate to the General Assembly the following May. Once the nomination has been accepted on the opening day of the Assembly, the person concerned is elected Moderator of the General Assembly.
If he or she is a minister, they are addressed as the Right Rev until his or her moderatorial year ends with the election of a successor. A former Moderator, who is a minister, is referred to as the Very Rev. The Moderator can also be an elder or a deacon, and can be male or female.