The World Reformed Fellowship have written a letter to the Glasgow Presbytery on behalf of, and at the request of, the Tron Church in Glasgow.
You can read the letter here. Appended are a list of additional signatories (including names from Australia).
It is an extraordinary action for a body such as the WRF to take, and also for the Tron Church to request of the WRF.
Since one of the 61 member denominations claimed by the WRF in the letter is the Presbyterian Church of Australia, we’re part of the reason the letter is presented as deserving credibility.
I am bemused to see that it has been published publicly.
And while sounding earnest, it seems to imply that another course of action is available to the Presbytery.
Within the Presbyterian Church of Australia I think the situation for any Congregation who felt they must conscientiously withdraw from the denomination would be the same as that facing the Tron Church. They would be free to go, but their assets would remain. I stand to be corrected.
In other places Congregations and property can be dismissed into the membership of other Presbyterian denominations, but to effectively change from a Presbyterian church to an independent or congregational church is not possible.
Such is the nature of trusts. It is possible that the WRF have a detailed knowledge of all the provisions relative to the trusts which affect Church of Scotland properties. I don’t, but my limited knowledge of how things work here suggests the situation is fraught with complexity and conflicting responsibilities.
Here’s the text of the letter.
To Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ of the Glasgow Presbytery of the Church of Scotland:
Greetings in the Name of our Lord.
The World Reformed Fellowship is a global body which seeks to support evangelical and Reformed ministries around the world. Currently, our membership consists of 61 denominations, 77 congregations, 130 organizations, and 602 individuals. Our members live and minister in more than seventy-five countries around the world. Our Board is made up of thirty four church leaders from sixteen countries (including Scotland and England) on six continents. Included on our Board are the President of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico; the Clerk of the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, Australia; the Chairs of several denominational ecumenicity committees; numerous senior university and seminary executives; and two Anglican Archbishops.
We write you with respect to the situation regarding St. George’s Tron Church in Glasgow, one of our congregational members.
We have followed this situation carefully from a distance and we are deeply concerned over all that has happened. While we do not pretend to understand all of the issues and while not all of our members are of one mind about when an individual or a congregation should consider leaving a denomination, we do desire that, in light of the decision which has been made by the appropriate leaders of St. George’s Tron, everything possible now be done to preserve the reputation of Christ and His church and to assure that a dynamic evangelical and Reformed ministry be continued in the heart of Glasgow.
As has happened in many other places around the world, we request that you consider taking the most generous and gracious steps that you can with respect to the building which St. George’s Tron currently occupies and with respect to the housing which is provided for the Senior Minister, Dr. William Philip. From our perspective, this seems the course of action which will best foster the witness to the Gospel of all parties involved and which will be most effective in continuing a powerful evangelical and Reformed ministry there in the heart of Glasgow.
A number of our members intend to write to you directly about this matter while several others have specifically requested that their names simply be added to this letter. Those names appear below.
We thank you for considering this request and we assure you of our continued prayers for you.
Sincerely in His grace,
Samuel T. Logan, Jr.