Desmond Tutu will speak at Kirk's General Assembly

By staff writers
May 17, 2009

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will address the Church of Scotland's General Assembly in Edinburgh this week. The peace and justice activist will attend the last day of the Kirk's annual gathering as a guest of the former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, George Reid.

He will give an address to the Assembly, which is the governing body of the Church of Scotland, the country's largest Christian church in the Presbyterian tradition.

The Rev Ian Galloway, convener of the Kirk's Church and Society council, said members would be delighted at the news of Archbishop Tutu's visit.

Dr Tutu, who is a Nobel Peace Laureate, has also been an outspoken critic of homophobia in the churches. His visit coincides with attempts by some hardliners to remove a widely-regarded Aberdeen minister who is openly gay and in a committed relationship. (

Galloway commented: "Desmond Tutu is a towering figure of the Christian faith who has been an inspiration to people all over the world. In the dark years of apartheid rule in South Africa, he was a focus for the hopes and aspirations of his people. And he is up there with global Christian figures alongside Martin Luther King."

He added: "It is a great honour for the Church of Scotland that he will visit the General Assembly."

The incoming Kirk Moderator, the Rev Bill Hewitt, who takes over the post at the start of the Assembly on Thursday 21 May, will visit South Africa as part of his official duties during his year of office.

Hewitt will meet leaders of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa which traces its origins back to the Church of Scotland.

Desmond Tutu will also speak in London on his UK visit. He has written a preface to Fear or Freedom: Why a warring church must change (, edited by Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow, which sets out a biblical and traditional case for a welcoming church fully engaged with issues of justice and peace in the world today.

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