Church of Scotland General Assembly 2022: Truth in public life 'never more important'

Promoting truthfulness in public life has never been more important, the Church of Scotland's General Assembly has been told by Lord Hodge, the Queen's representative to the gathering.

Lord High Commissioner Lord Hodge addressed the Assembly over Zoom.  Picture: Andrew O'Brien.
Lord High Commissioner Lord Hodge addressed the Assembly over Zoom. Picture: Andrew O'Brien.

Without mentioning any names, he referred to political leaders who had "often been disrespectful of the truth" and commentators’ resigned acceptance of "the deliberate purveying of lies".

Lord Hodge, who is deputy president of the UK's Supreme Court, is the Lord High Commissioner to this year's Assembly, succeeding Prince William, who filled the role last year.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

But for health reasons Lord Hodge could not attend the first day of the Assembly in person, which meant much of the usual ceremonial surrounding the opening did not take place.

This year the Assembly is a hybrid gathering, with around 400 commissioners at the Assembly Hall on The Mound and 200 taking part online.

Speaking by zoom, Lord Hodge said: "At a time when political leaders in autocratic regimes, and regrettably in some democracies, have often been disrespectful of the truth and commentators accept with a resigned shrug the deliberate purveying of lies, the commitment of the Church and other churches to promote truthfulness in our public and private lies has never been more important. The Old Testament prescription of acting justly, acting compassionately and acting with humility retains its relevance today.”

He also noted the impact of Covid on the church, forcing buildings to be closed and leading to an inevitable drop in income. "The church faces the challenge of how best to have its voice heard and achieve it worthy aims when there are fewer people and less money available to take forward the church's mission. But challenges can be opportunities.”

He suggested the church could achieve much with fewer resources by focusing on what there was in common, both internally within the church and externally by cooperating with other denominations, faith groups and secular organisations seeking the same goals.

This year's Assembly is a hybrid gathering and the Lord High Commissioner, Lord Hodge, gave his address by zoom. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, of St Margaret's Community Church, Dunfermline, was installed as the Assembly’s new Moderator. taking over from former Deputy First Minister and Kirk elder Lord Wallace of Tankerness. The Assembly runs until Thursday.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.