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Explanatory note

Draft basis of deferred linking of the congregations of Geneva and Lausanne
Derek G Lawson, convener of the mission plan committee of the International Presbytery

The draft basis accompanies this note and is being put to the congregations in both Geneva and Lausanne for their approval.

What does it do? It makes provision for the linking of the two congregations once Rev Laurence Twaddle retires from Geneva. It does so by establishing a deferred linking, thus allowing a minister to be called to be minister of the deferred linking, given that Lausanne has been vacant since the end of June 2023.

What does this mean? On the one hand Rev Laurence Twaddle will continue as minister in Geneva until his retirement, while a minister can be sought who will meantime (effectively) be minister in Lausanne but will ultimately become the minister of the linked charge. At that point it would be intended that Geneva seek to employ a full-time associate whose responsibility it would be to be minister to the Geneva congregation. The minister called to the deferred linking would automatically become the minister of the linked charge.

Each congregation would continue to exist as it does at present, retaining its own assets, organisations and kirk session. The nominating committee to be appointed to the deferred linking will consist of members from both congregations (on a basis to be determined by the presbytery’s vacancy procedure committee) and once a sole nominee is found he/she will be voted on by both congregations. The selection of an associate in due course will also involve representatives from both congregations.

Assuming the draft basis is approved by both congregations, it will then require to be approved by presbytery and, once the presbytery mission plan implementation group (part of the Church of Scotland’s faith action programme) approves the change in the approved plan from a ‘linking’ to a ‘deferred linking’, the vacancy procedure committee will be able to give permission to call, the first step in the vacancy process which will lead to a minister being called.

Hopefully, this explains reasonably clearly the somewhat complicated process the law of the Church of Scotland requires us to follow.