The Church of Scotland will support the formation of 100 new worshipping communities over the next decade, the General Assembly heard.

After taking decisions earlier in the week aimed at arresting the decline in congregations and attendances and tackling the Kirk's financial deficit, the development of new ways of 'being church' is seen as key to turning decline into growth.

A report from the Kirk's Joint Emerging Church Group highlighted new pioneer ministries in universities including Edinburgh and Stirling, a farming pioneer ministry, urban ministries in Lothian and Paisley and the online Sanctuary First initiative.

The Rev Brian Porteous, Convener of the Joint Emerging Church Group, said change was never easy but the Kirk had to put growth and renewal at its heart.

The Reverend David Cameron of New Laigh Kirk, Kilmarnock, said the initiative was inspiring, but would need considerable funding from the Growth Fund already approved by the Assembly. "We are not talking about £20,000 or £40,000 here or there - we are going to have to fund this substantially, it will take a few million pounds t o deliver this throughout the land," he said. "We need to put our money where our hope is."

The Assembly backed proposals aimed at supporting and enabling the creation of new worshipping communities, including the appointment of a ‘national Pioneer Facilitator’, whose role will be to identify and encourage new opportunities for faith communities.

Earlier, the Assembly paid tribute to military chaplains in the armed forces and backed a call for ministers to consider serving as chaplaints to the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force personnel, as well as cadet organisations.

Speaking at the invitation of the Lord High Commissioner, Rear Admiral Jim Higham told the Assembly that the role of chaplains was valued even if treated irreverently in naval slang as "god-botherers" or "the Maker's rep".

He said it was an honour to address the Assembly on behalf of all armed forces services and offer thanks for continuing support of work through the provision of chaplains to all services.

Young people staged a silent protest outside the Church of Scotland's General Assembly today after the Kirk voted to continue to invest in fossil fuel companies.

A motion urging the church to withdraw its investments in oil and gas companies was defeated yesterday, as the Assembly voted to preserve the status quo.

Despite acknowledging the declaration of a climate emergency by the UK Parliament, the Assembly voted to continue to try to engage with those in the fossil fuel industry to bring about change.

But youth members attending the assembly demonstrated outside. Seonaid Knox said many young members could not vote and under assembly rules could not even sign a dissent book opened to acknowledge widespread unhappiness with the decision.

Ms Knox, 24, of Inchinnan, said "This is our way of letting the Assembly know that we are extremely disappointed - totally gutted - regarding yesterday's decision.

"We have done everything we can to make our points and the Church didn't listen to how urgent the call is to divest."

The Reverend Martin Johnston, secretary of the Kirk's Church and Society Council, joined the protestors. He said "This week the General Assembly has talked a lot about radical action. We need radical action to save the planet. If we don't stand as all generations together, we are doing a huge disservice to our children and grandchildren."

The Reverend Peter Johnston, of Foresterhill in Aberdeen, who spoke in favour of divestment yesterday also joined the demonstration. He said: "Some of us wish young people were able to contribute to decisions like this or register their dissent."

Ms Knox added: "We've given the policy of engagement a year. The Church and Society Council's own report says that it is not having the desired outcome. It is not working and not going far enough, fast enough."