This weekend has been rather lively for presbyterians, and presbyterian churches have been much in the news.
Firstly the Church of Scotland which, after years of discussions in committees, has decided overwhelmingly to accept the ministry of pastors in same-sex civil partnerships. Its seems inevitable that soon the church will decide to conduct same-sex marriages.
Which brings us to the second of our four churches, the Eglise Protestante Unie de France, which has just voted overwhelmingly to conduct same-sex marriages . Well, to conduct blessings for same-sex marriages. The wording reflects the different situation in France where no religious ceremony can marry people. People get married at the Mairie. Religious ceremonies can bless marriages.
Meanwhile, while the church of Scotland advances into modernity in its ethical standards while losing massive numbers of members, our third church, the Free Church of Scotland, has also been advancing into modernity, "reinventing itself" (according to its moderator, David Robertson) and becoming a lively, energetic denomination occupied with reaching into Scotland's cities and towns and engaging its most vocal unbelievers. On the agenda for its assembly: new churches, mission and "the problems of growth".
Our fourth church is the denomination with which we have been working over the past ten years. The Union Nationale des Eglises Réformées Evangéliques de France has just lightened its synodal structures in order to streamline its decision-making processes. It would be wonderful to see the UNEPREF learning from its Free Church brothers and embracing a strong, committed, energetic, outgoing evangelical gospel vision, to preach Christ to France's cities and towns.
Now is the time to get on with it! Please, Lord Jesus!