By Cameron Brooks
The head of a Christian charity which fights global poverty has been named as the next Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, 58, right, who has led Christian Aid in Scotland since 2016, will take a year’s sabbatical to become the Kirk’s ambassador at home and abroad for 12 months from next May.
The Church of Scotland minister said she is looking forward to meeting and encouraging people involved in church work at local, national and international level at a time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity.
The Moderator Designate said: “I’m excited about what the year will bring. I genuinely love and am inspired by the Church of Scotland and its people.
“Over the past years of the pandemic in the face of a global climate emergency and now a cost-of-living crisis, people across the Church have been stepping up and doing their very best to make an extraordinary impact in communities, locally, across our nation and in the world.”
Born and raised in South Carolina in the USA, Mrs Foster-Fulton has been a Church of Scotland minister for more than 20 years and has served in several parishes as well as hospitals as a chaplain.
She is married to the Rev Stuart Fulton, a fellow Church of Scotland minister who serves the parish of Newlands South Church in Glasgow. The couple, who live in Glasgow, have two adult daughters, Alex and Gracie.
Mrs Foster-Fulton recently became a grandmother and she said her new role has “shifted her perspective and given new meaning” to her commitment to try and make the world a better place.
The Moderator Designate convened the Church of Scotland’s former Church and Society Council from 2012-2016 and helped advance work on human rights, climate justice and support for people struggling to overcome poverty in Scotland as well as overseas.
She campaigned on behalf of detainees at Dungavel House immigration removal centre near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire and led the Church’s work with ecumenical and interfaith partners to create networks of support for asylum seekers and refugees.
In the run up to the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, she helped create space for respectful dialogue between campaigners on both sides of the debate.
Mrs Foster-Fulton said the Church of Scotland’s voice on national and international issues has authenticity because it represents people working across the country to support and uplift local communities
She said she is proud of the support that local churches give to national and international partners.
Mrs Foster-Fulton said: “What church congregations do locally in their communities is critical. It is what gives the Church’s voice validity when we speak truth to power. Sometimes we talk about local and international work as if it is an either or, but if there is one thing my work with the Church of Scotland, Christian Aid, this recent pandemic and the climate crisis has affirmed, is that we are all in this together.
“There is no separation between what we do for people in our global neighbourhood and what we do here at home. There is no them and us, there is just us and we have all got to look after one another.”
Ordained as a Church of Scotland minister in 1999, Mrs Foster-Fulton’s first charge was Camelon Irving Parish Church in Falkirk where she spent four years.
The married couple took up the role of co-pastors for a Presbyterian Church in the USA congregation in Seneca, South Carolina, and stayed for four years before returning to Scotland, the place that the Moderator Designate considers home.
In 2007, Mrs Foster-Fulton was appointed associate minister at Dunblane Cathedral where she served for 10 years before taking up her current role at Christian Aid.
The current Moderator of the General Assembly is the Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields.