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The Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland is one of the largest organisations in the country. We have over 500,000 members, with more regularly involved in local congregations and our work.

Within the organisation, we have around 1200 ministers serving in parishes and chaplainces, supported by more than 2,000 professional and administrative staff.  Most of our parishes are in Scotland, but there are also churches in England, Europe and overseas.

The Church of Scotland works with communities worldwide. At the heart of our work to achieve these aims is one of the largest organisations in Scotland that has a pivotal role in Scottish society and indeed religion throughout the world.

Our faith

Central to the Church of Scotland is our love and worship of God through following the teachings and  examples of Jesus Christ. We express our love for God by our love and practical care for each other and for those we live with and encounter in our daily lives.

Church of Scotland parish churches play a crucial part across a range of communities, from remote villages to deprived urban areas where shops, banks, schools and other institutions have disappeared.

Pastoral care of parishoners is an essential part of Christ’s calling to the Church, particularly in times of need. As part of their caring task, local churches also aim to resource and run projects relating to groups such as asylum seekers and unemployed people.

How We Worship

Worship within the Church of Scotland is for everybody, regardless of age, nationality, status or ability. Patterns of worship vary from church to church and this generally means that people can find a place of worship where they feel comfortable.

The parish minister is responsible for leading worship although increasingly, church members including deacons, elders and readers are involved in both planning and helping to lead worship. Regular services of worship are at the heart of the life of the Church, but congregational life often includes prayer groups, Sunday schools for children, youth groups, the Guild, social activities and support groups for people facing problems.

Music is an essential part  of the Church’s worship and can take a wide variety of different forms. Increasingly, multimedia, such as the use of video, is used during church services to help spread the word of God in the 21st century. Preaching is central to the  Church of Scotland’s way of worshipping God. The preacher, usually the minister, will share a message drawn out of a passage from the Bible.  Preaching aims to help people interpret and apply the Bible’s teaching to  modern life today.

Holy Communion

Holy Communion,also called the Lord’s Supper, is open to all those who love the Lord Jesus  Christ and have made public profession of faith.

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Westminster Confession of Faith asserts the real presence in the Sacrament, the supreme authority of God’s Word, and the catholicity of the Church, made distinctive by three characteristics: the true preaching of the Word, the right administration of the Sacraments, and discipline.

The Westminster Confession of 1647 superseded but did not cancel out the original Scots Confession of 1560, drawn up by six ‘Johns’: Knox, Willock, Winram, Spottiswoode, Row, and Douglas in supposedly six days, which was accepted by Presbyterians and Episcopalians alike.

The full Confession of Faith was agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster and examined and approved in 1647 by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and ratified by Acts of Parliament in 1649 and 1690.