Moderator installed at General Assembly 2019

Rt Rev Colin Sinclair has been installed as Moderator of the Church of Scotland's 2019 General Assembly during Saturday's opening ceremony.

Rt Rev Colin Sinclair and Very Rev Susan Brown during the election of Colin as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

He takes on the year-long role from his post as minister for Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh.

"Let me thank you for affording me this singular honour at being appointed at the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland," the newly installed Moderator told the Assembly.

"For your grace, love, and forgiveness when I get it wrong, I thank all of you who have invested time into my life and my ministry.

"It all started with a Scripture Union holiday, I little knew then how the story of Jesus and his life, death and resurrection would get under my skin and never get out.

"I thank you to all who nurtured me in this faith.

"I had no idea when Jesus said ‘Follow Me' all those years ago, how exciting the adventure would be.

"How it would take me around the world. And I thank You again - I pray I am worthy of the trust You have shown to me."

During the opening session of this year's General Assembly, His Grace Richard Walter John Montagu Douglas Scott, The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, KBE, DL, FSA, FRSE, represented HM The Queen as the Lord High Commissioner to the Assembly.

The Lord High Commissioner welcomed the new Moderator during his speech, saying:

"I begin by offering warmest congratulations on your appointment and by wishing you a richly rewarding year in office.

"Unlike your predecessor you have not had to travel far but for a year you will now be transported into a different world.

Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Lord High Commissioner, The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry
Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Lord High Commissioner, The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

"That you have the most wonderful family, all committed to the church, to support you, that there are legions of friends and colleagues here and across many lands, gained through the Scripture Union is testament to your powers of loving leadership and inspiration.

"You are fitted indeed for this highest honour in the gift of your colleagues."

Following Colin's election, retiring Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Very Rev Susan Brown, said:

"You and I first met a very long time ago, as students at New College together.

"All throughout your years your commitment to the Scripture Union has continued, alongside all the other positions you have taken on.

"You care passionately about communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ to all ages and all parts of the world. You like to see the impact Christ makes to all people.

"This year, you will be asked to say much but I encourage you to listen, too, because you will hear so much.

"My prayers are with You as you follow our Lord on this next stage of your journey with Him."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also attended the opening day along with Scotland's Lord Provosts and distinguished visitors from around the world.

Father and son

Rt Rev Colin Sinclair is joined this year by his two personal chaplains: Rev Andrew Anderson and his son, Rev Tim Sinclair.

Rev Andrew Anderson is a retired minister from Oxford and Rev Tim Sinclair is the minister of Partick Trinity Church of Scotland, having been ordained in February.

"It was humbling to be asked to serve as the very junior chaplain to the Moderator," Tim said.

"I have little prior experience of the General Assembly and limited insight into the workings of the courts and councils of the Church. That said, I have known the Moderator for my entire life and perhaps that counts for something.

"At home or in the church, wherever he finds himself, my dad is an energetic and cheerful presence, always willing to throw himself into a challenge.

"He has a rare capacity to take his faith, family and ministry seriously, without taking himself too seriously in the process.

"I look forward to seeing him serve as Moderator and have no doubt that his servant heart, prodigious work ethic, and warm humour will be a blessing to many."

Right Rev Colin Sinclair
Rt Rev Colin Sinclair began his year in the role by saying “I had no idea when Jesus said ‘Follow Me’ all those years ago, how exciting the adventure would be."

Keep up to date with this year's General Assembly

This year, the General Assembly will debate radical proposals to future-proof the Church of Scotland for generations to come.

Commissioners, made up of ministers, elders and deacons, will debate and vote on two "bold" plans to reform governance and the practices.

The objective is to improve the welfare of the whole Church, ensuring the proper stewardship of resources and making mission work in a local setting a top priority.

There are many ways to keep up to date with the debates and discussions at this year's General Assembly.

  • Once again, the public gallery will be open each day (excluding Sunday 19 May) for any members of the public who are interested in observing the proceedings. Limited seating is provided on a first-come first-served basis and access is via the Lawnmarket entrance on the Royal Mile.
  • You can also keep up to date from anywhere you are using the live stream which will run from around 9am until the close of the days' sessions.
  • Stories featuring some of the highlights of this year's Assembly will be published on our website each day.
  • The first of two General Assembly programmes will be broadcast on BBC Scotland on Sunday 19 May at 11pm. You can watch it on catch-up on the BBC website.
  • All of the days' papers and reports are available to read each day on the General Assembly website.
  • You can also follow along on Twitter using #GA2019 or follow the Church of Scotland on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.