Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, who has led Christian Aid in Scotland since 2016, will serve as Kirk’s Ambassador at home and abroad for the next year.
The 59-year-old said she was “extremely humbling, unspeakably honored and more than a little excited” to represent the church in this role.
Ms. Foster-Fulton looks forward to meeting and encouraging those involved in church work locally, nationally and internationally at a time of unprecedented challenges and opportunities.
She was presented with the official ring and chain of office by the outgoing moderator, Dear Dr. Iain Greenshields, passed.
Ms Foster-Fulton said: “I am exceedingly humbled, unspeakably honored and delighted to be your moderator. Thank you for your trust, prayers and commitment to be a part of the body of Christ in this place.”
Ms Foster-Fulton told the General Assembly that she had exhibited “somewhat renegade” behavior in choosing the official attire for presenters, but said there was a reason for it.
“It felt like an extraordinary time in the life of the planet, in the life of the country and in the life of the Church of Scotland,” she added.
“Green is the liturgical color for ‘ordinary time,’ and reminds us that the world, country and church have experienced extraordinary challenges throughout history,” she added.
“And it has been the courage, determination and hopeful imagination of individuals and communities who have faced these challenges together.”
“Ordinary time is extraordinary and we know what’s at stake – we just have to look around.
“There is a South African expression ‘Ubuntu’ – best translated as ‘I am because you are’.”
“The body of Christ has work to do – to share love, to seek righteousness and righteousness.”
“When I look at you wonderful people, I see a bold hope.
“So General Assembly, right Reverend, let’s roll up our sleeves and bring it.”
Ms. Foster-Fulton was born and raised in South Carolina, USA. She is married to Rev. Stuart Fulton, a Church of Scotland minister serving the parish of Newlands South Church in Glasgow.
The couple, who live in Glasgow, have two adult daughters, Alex and Gracie.
The new facilitator has experience working in parishes and hospital chaplaincy and was Chair of the former Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland from 2012 to 2016.
Ms. Foster-Fulton was ordained a Church of Scotland minister in 1999 and was initially responsible for Camelon Irving Parish Church in Falkirk, where she served for four years.
The couple took on the role of co-pastors of the PCUSA church in Seneca, South Carolina and stayed for four years before returning to Scotland, which the presenter-designate considers home.
In 2007, Ms Foster-Fulton was appointed Assistant Vicar of Dunblane Cathedral, where she served for ten years before taking up her current role with Christian Aid.
She recently became a grandmother and said her new role has “changed her perspective and brought new meaning to her commitment to making the world a better place.”
“The Church of Scotland faces tremendous challenges, the world faces tremendous challenges and the Church is not exempt,” the moderator added.
“In our global neighborhood we face a triple threat that is mutually reinforcing – climate change, conflict and COVID.”
“Together they increase the pressure on well-being, sense of home and culture, finances and resources – and unfortunately it is not surprising that it is the most vulnerable who suffer the most.”
“To be a living, breathing, reforming and loving body of Christ in this place continues to be the mission and ministry of the Church of Scotland.”
dr Greenshields told the new presenter that he recognized this was a proud moment for her and her family.
“You bring significant and unique experience to this important role and calling,” he said.
“Your face and voice are well known to the General Assembly as you have acted as convener of the Church and Society Council and have helped strengthen the Church’s work on human rights, climate justice and support for people struggling in poverty in Scotland and abroad , to advance.
“They work tirelessly to do what is right in the name of Christ.
“It’s in your DNA to be a voice for those in our world who are most in need.
“It is a privilege to honor someone of such strength and determination, and that belief should be elected as the next Moderator of the General Assembly.
“May the Lord bless you in whatever you choose to do to further the cause of Christ.”
The King said he was “inspired” by the way the Church of Scotland and other faith communities have been caring for the poor and asylum seekers.
A letter from Charles was read at the church’s general assembly in Edinburgh, the first time since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who died at her home in Balmoral last September.
The King’s letter used the royal term ‘we’ as read during the opening ceremony in Edinburgh.
By tradition, the King vowed to “uphold and uphold the rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland”.
The letter read: “We are delighted at the many messages of condolence we have received on the death of Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth, our beloved Mother, and for the warmth and dignity of the national service of thanksgiving for her life held at St Giles’ Cathedral.
“We are acutely aware at this time of pain for so many people around the world suffering the vagaries of war and poverty. We are, as always, inspired by the way the Church of Scotland, along with other churches and faith communities, has expressed the gospel commandment to the poor and made the care of refugees and asylum-seekers such a priority.”
He hailed the joint “Peace Pilgrimage” visit to South Sudan that the Church of Scotland Moderator has made with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis.
The letter said: “Her messages of justice, peace and reconciliation were made all the more powerful by her visible presence, symbolizing both the unity and diversity of the churches.” These messages are also vital in Sudan, where people are once again threatened by conflict. We pray for a speedy end to the current hostilities to alleviate human suffering and bring peace.”
And the king said he was “very encouraged” by the church’s interfaith dialogue and a declaration of friendship with the Catholic bishops in Scotland.
The letter went on to say: “We recognize the challenges that the Church faces as it continues the process of reform and recognize that God’s will for the future shaping of service and mission throughout Scotland is at hand meaning is.”
“Our prayers remain with you and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide the Church with wisdom, grace and hope in all of its decisions.”
The role of Facilitator is that Rev. Foster-Fulton will chair meetings in the Mound Meeting Room for five days beginning yesterday and thereafter serve as the Church’s Ambassador, speaking on its behalf at meetings domestically and internationally for the next 12 days
Meeting participants, in the hall or online, will hear details of a report on the Church’s difficult financial situation, participate in topical debates, and vote on issues raised by forums and committees.
Sensitive issues up for debate include proposed legislation allowing assisted suicide and the decision made more than a decade ago to remain neutral in the Scottish independence debate.
Rev. Foster-Fulton previously said she was “extremely humbling, unspeakably honored and more than a little excited” to be the presenter.
She told the congregation, “The Church of Scotland faces great challenges.”
The daunting challenges facing the world and the Church are no exception.