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Encyclopedia > General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The 2004 Assembly with Dr Alison Elliot as Moderator
The 2004 Assembly with Dr Alison Elliot as Moderator

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland, and is thus the Church's governing body. Image File history File links General_assembly_kik_alison_elliot. ... Image File history File links General_assembly_kik_alison_elliot. ... In 2004 Alison Elliot became the first woman ever to be Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. ... Look up Sovereign in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The adjective sovereign is used to refer to a state of sovereignty. ... A court is an official, public forum which a sovereign establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. ... The Church of Scotland (C of S, also known informally as The Kirk; until the 17th century officially the Kirk of Scotland) is the Christian national church of Scotland. ... A governing body is a corporate form of management. ...

Contents


Church courts

As a Presbyterian church, the Church of Scotland is governed by courts of elders rather than by bishops. At the bottom of the hierarchy of courts is the Kirk Session, the court of the parish; representatives of Kirk Sessions form the Presbytery, the local area court. Formerly there were also Synods at regional level, with authority over a group of presbyteries, but these have been abolished. At national level, the General Assembly stands at the top of this structure. Presbyterianism is part of the Reformed churches family of denominations of Christian Protestantism based on the teachings of John Calvin which traces its institutional roots to the Scottish Reformation, especially as led by John Knox. ... Church in Villach, Austria. ... The Church of Scotland (C of S, also known informally as The Kirk; until the 17th century officially the Kirk of Scotland) is the Christian national church of Scotland. ... An elder refers to various Wikipedia topics. ... Diocesan College, or Bishops as it is commonly known, is a private school situated in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch in Cape Town, South Africa, at the foot of Table Mountain. ... Presbyterian governance of a church is typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. ... A presbytery can be - * the residence of one or more presbyters, priests, or religious elders; - * an area of a church or cathedral reserved for priests; - * the collective college of priests in a diocese, archdiocese, or prelature; - * the local unit in the polity of a Presbyterian church, consisting of presbyters (i. ... A synod (also known as a council) is a council of a church, usually a Christian church, convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. ...


Meetings

The General Assembly usually meets for a week of intensive deliberation once a year in May. Ministers, elders and deacons are eligible to be "Commissioners" to the General Assembly. Typically a parish minister would attend the Assembly once every four years, accompanied by an elder from that congregation. The Assembly also has youth representatives and a few officials. In most Protestant churches, a minister is a member of the ordained clergy who leads a congregation or participates in a role in a parachurch ministry; such a person may also be called a Pastor, Preacher, Bishop, Chaplain or Elder. ... The diaconate is one of three ordained offices in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches. ...


Meetings are usually held in the General Assembly Hall on the Mound, Edinburgh. This was built for the Free Church in the 19th century and became the Assembly Hall for the reunited Church of Scotland after the union of 1929. The Moderator presides from the Moderator's chair. In front of him/her, the clerks to the Assembly and other officials are seated around a table in a fenced area popularly but unofficially known as the "playpen". Behind the Moderator is the throne gallery (used by the Monarch or the Lord High Commissioner), which can only be reached through a separate stairway not directly from the Assembly Hall; this symbolises the independence of the church from the Crown in matters spiritual, whilst recognising the status of the Monarch (both constitutionally and theologically). The standard of the Moderator The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is an honorary role, held for 12 months. ...


The General Assembly can also meet elsewhere. A meeting of the Assembly was held in Glasgow to mark the city's status as European City of Culture. When the Scottish Parliament was instituted in 1999, the Assembly Hall was used by the Parliament until the new building at Holyrood was completed in 2004. During these years, the Assembly met in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (1999) and the Usher Hall (2001); in the other years the Parliament temporarily moved out to allow the Assembly to use its own "home". The Usher Hall is a concert hall located on Lothian Road, Edinburgh, Scotland. ...


Functions

The General Assembly has three basis functions: legislative, deliberative and judicial. The ongoing administration is delegated to councils and committees, which have to report annually to the Assembly. Each congregation is invited to send Commissioners on a rota basis, normally once ever four years. The Commissioners would be the minister of the parish plus one elder. Each Presbytery has to nominate Commissioners annually. A legislature is a governmental deliberative body with the power to adopt laws. ... The judiciary, also referred to as the judicature, consists of justices, judges and magistrates among other types of adjudicators. ... A congregation is the group of members who make up a local Christian church or Jewish synagogue (or those who are present at a service thereat), as opposed to the building itself. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. ...


Legislation

The General Assembly can and does pass legislation governing the affairs of the Church. The Assembly discusses issues affecting church and society; the General Assembly is invited to "receive" reports from its committees and councils. Attached to each report are proposed "deliverances" on which the Assembly is invited to approve, reject or modify.


Judicial functions

As a judicial body, the Assembly usually delegates most of its powers to the "Commission of Assembly" or to special tribunals.


Officials

The Assembly elects a Moderator to preside. The Queen is personally represented by a Lord High Commissioner, who has no vote. The standard of the Moderator The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is an honorary role, held for 12 months. ... Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor), born 21 April 1926, is Queen of sixteen independent nations known as the Commonwealth Realms (and has previously been Queen of sixteen others). ... As the Sovereigns personal representative Lord High Commissioners were appointed to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Scotland between 1603 and 1707. ...


The Assembly also has "members" separate from the Commissioners - mainly officials who sit at the clerks' table:

  • The Principal Clerk who advises on church law and procedure;
  • The Depute Clerk who records the minutes and assists the Principal Clerk
  • The Procurator, the Kirk's chief legal adviser (always QC, a senior Advocate)
  • The Solicitor, who also advises on legal issues
  • The Convener and Vice-Convener of the Assembly's Business Committee
  • The minutes recorder, who assists the Depute Clerk

  Results from FactBites:
 
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (645 words)
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland, and is thus the Church's governing body.
At the bottom of the hierarchy of courts is the Kirk Session, the court of the parish; representatives of Kirk Sessions form the Presbytery, the local area court.
This was built for the Free Church in the 19th century and became the Assembly Hall for the reunited Church of Scotland after the union of 1929.
The Work of the Assembly (1302 words)
The Solemn League and Covenant was drafted by Alexander Henderson in Scotland and was approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on August 17, 1643.
It was then sent back to Scotland and on October 13th it was adopted, signed, and sworn to by the Commission of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Committee of the Convention of Estates of the Scottish Parliament and sent throughout the country to be subscribed to by the people.
The Confession of Faith was approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on August 27, 1647.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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