Ordination and presiding at Holy Communion: three of the papers given at the 2019 Study Day, hosted by the Church Service Society and the Scottish Church Society

David D Scott

The Revd David D Scott, lately minister at Traprain, one of four speakers at the Study Day of 2019 to respond to a recent report to the General Assembly exploring the possibility of a new form of ministry of Word and Sacrament to support fresh expressions of being the church or where the scarcity of ordained ministers in scattered parishes reduced opportunities for Communion, took as his starting point a poem by William Soutar (d.1943) where the poet defines community as constituted by giving and receiving of gifts by its members. (Later the poet John Donne is quoted.) The paper approaches the issue by examining the earliest Reformed ‘ordination’ liturgies and The Form of Presbyterial Church Government, particularly the involvement of the whole membership and the rituals by which this was expressed, a system which depended on election affirmed by the ‘taking of the hand’. This emphasises the corporate nature of ministry dependent on the gifts of the Spirit rather than a ministry drawn out of the community to undertake particular tasks. The minister is part of a community in which are ‘things which cannot be touched’, a steward of God’s mysteries (St Paul), of holiness. The present discussion was towards a task-based ministry which could destroy something which is largely unrecognised, something that has nothing to do with the one who holds the office.

Volume 54 2019, p38