Due to the coronavirus epidemic the Church of Scotland has decided to cancel this year’s General Assembly which was due to open on 16 May 2020.

This would have been the start of the new Moderator Martin Fair’s term of office, and the first year that the Duke of Cambridge took up the role of High Commissioner.

Principal Clerk, Rev Dr George Whyte said: “We did not take this decision lightly but in the current circumstances it was the only choice we could make. Our Assembly would have brought almost a thousand people to a week-long meeting in Edinburgh including visitors from overseas and from other churches. It is a time when we can celebrate being the Church and make important decisions about our future but these are exceptional times and people’s health must come first.

“We were also looking forward to welcoming the Duke of Cambridge as the Queen’s representative but we are assured that Prince William will understand our unavoidable decision. We hope that he may be Lord High Commissioner on another occasion.

“In the meantime the Church will find alternative ways to make urgent decisions including confirming the appointment of our new Moderator, the Rev Dr Martin Fair, who will take up his duties in May.”

Rev Dr Martin Fair who will become Moderator in May 2020