Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh
Sunday Services at 10 am and 11.30 am
Stillness Services every Wednesday at 10 am
Letter from the Manse
During the month of May, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will be holding its annual meeting at the Mound. Both Liz and I are commissioners. Every three or four years the opportunity comes along to be a commissioner at the General Assembly and for both of us to be chosen on the same year is a bonus!
The Church of Scotland has three courts that govern us. At a local level each congregation has a Kirk Session comprised of members from the congregation who are elected to serve and ordained to be Elder (or Ruling Elder). The local Kirk Session is moderated by the Minister (or Teaching Elder). The work of the Kirk Session is about oversight of spiritual and temporal matters of the local church. Under the law, our elders are charity trustees and have to comply therefore with charity law.
Our second court is the Presbytery. Wherever we live in Scotland we will geographically be within a Parish and also a Presbytery. We happen to live within the Presbytery of Edinburgh. The Presbytery meets several times during the year and is responsible for church matters affecting all congregations within its bounds. Each congregation is invited to send one Teaching Elder and one Ruling Elder to have a seat on the Presbytery, thus having parity of Elders and Ministers when making decisions. The Presbytery operates a series of committees. I am currently the Convener of the Deployment of Resources Committee which is responsible for taking to Presbytery matters relating to how best we can be the church in Edinburgh; with such issues as church unions and new churches being established. Liz serves on the Finance Committee.
The highest court of our church is the General Assembly. The Assembly meets once every year for a week. The General Assembly used to be described as the nearest Scotland had to a government. Indeed, it petitioned Her Majesty’s Government on many issues. Whatever the General Assembly decides then the rest of the church must follow. There are 49 Presbyteries represented, including the Presbyteries of England, Europe and Jerusalem! Did you know the Church of Scotland has congregations in places like Bermuda, Trinidad, Paris and Jerusalem? Also at the Assembly will be representatives from the other major denominations in Scotland, together with representatives from our partner churches throughout the world. Even the Queen will be represented though her Lord High Commissioner who this year is His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry.
The Assembly is moderated by someone who has been nominated by a local Kirk Session or individual. The nominees are decided by a committee and the next Moderator is chosen. Our Moderator for the coming year will be the Rev Colin Sinclair from Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh. We wish Colin well in his moderatorial year and will continue to pray for him and his family.
Rev. Dr James Jack