Rev. Scott was one of three ministers nominated for the prestigious role as voted by the members of all the Presbyteries across Canada. The runner up nominees were Rev. Paulette Brown and Rev. Mary Fontaine.
Scott will be taking over the duties from the current Moderator, Rev. Amanda Currie, who (due to Covid) served a two-year term from 2019; however, the position is typically one-year.
Moderators function as the chair of the General Assembly (similar to the speaker and other presiding officers of the House of Commons). The role entails regulating debates and calls for decisions, receiving and approving reports from various aspects of the National church, including international affairs, church doctrine and ecumenical dialogue.
“It was a complete surprise!” exclaims Rev. Scott who was notified by the General Assembly Clerk he was the ‘clear winner’. “For all three of us, it’s a huge honour by our colleagues. I’m honoured, surprised, and humbled by the nomination and to be elected… and grateful to my family, church, Presbyterian churches, and to my God.”
All three nominees were subject to video interviews which were recorded and published on the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s website through YouTube. Questions ranged from favourite scriptures and religious readings to sharing their visions of the church and what features of faithful discipleship are.
The General Assembly meets annually with the first meeting in June which Rev. Scott will moderate for the first time. Historically, this year will be the first General Assembly meeting that will commence virtually through Zoom.
“I recognize that I will need God’s grace and prayer to represent all aspects of the church with different understandings of different issues,” explains Scott. “How will the churches be post-COVID? We’ve done well in terms of livestreaming… but none of us know what the post-COVID church environments will be like.”
Rev. Scott shares that he will have his own committee to advise him as the new Moderator and will begin receiving requests for visits from within Canada and outside the country. The Committee will advise him on which invitations he should accept.
Travel is often required to visit different countries for national discussions with other faith communities. Due to the pandemic, his role will remain online for the time being.
In addition to his new role, Rev. Scott will continue his pastoral duties at St. John’s Presbyterian Church and other community obligations with help from church members and family.
“I’m very grateful for my church to ‘loan’ me to the National church,” expresses Scott. “I will need people to take on some services when I am called away but as Moderator, I must continue with my responsibilities that I currently have while taking on extra tasks with assistance provided.”
Current Moderator, Amanda Currie was the first to call Rev. Scott and congratulate him, followed by family, friends and colleagues (including Facebook messages from politicians Sam Oosterhoof and Kathleen Wynne
“We’re very grateful for her leadership and commitment for the last two years,” notes Rev. Scott about Currie. “One would expect friends and families to email, phone call, or text to congratulate me – I was surprised and pleased at the broad spectrum of Canadian people who contacted me.”
Rev. Scott and his family have lived in Bradford West Gwillimbury for 25 years. He has contributed to the community and abroad. On top of his current role as Minister of St. John’s Presbyterian Church (which celebrated its 201st anniversary last November), he is also an associate professor at Tyndale University where he served as vice president and academic dean. Rev. Scott is also the founder of the Bradford Ministerial and served as the managing director of ‘Save the Mothers’; a maternal health NGO (non-Governmental organization) that seeks to improve the quality of life for new mothers and their babies internationally (based out of Uganda, Africa).
Scott was instrumental in starting a special-needs camp and a twinning project between local schools and First Nations schools, and all three of his children were involved with support for special needs and exceptionalities.
In the past, Rev. Scott has served as Moderator of the Presbytery of Oak Ridges and as the Presbyterian representative of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario’s Faith-based Advisory Committee. Many years ago, Rev. Scott taught overseas in China at universities in Shanghai. Over the years he has published many scholarly articles and books.
Rev. Scott’s service to both the community and abroad are just some of the points that propelled him to advance as Moderator of the General Assembly.
“I’m incredibly proud of my dad on his election as the highest officer in the Canadian Presbyterian Church,” expresses Scott’s son, Jonathan Scott who is Bradford’s newest Ward 2 Councillor. “It’s a fitting next step for him and reflects the confidence colleague clergy members across the country have in his record of service.”
Rev. Scott has three grown children – a son and two daughters – and three grandchildren.
To view Rev. Scott’s Bio and Video Interview, visit: Ballot for Moderator of the 2021 General Assembly | The Presbyterian Church in Canada