General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

General Assembly Of The Church Of Scotland

General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

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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.

Church courts

As a Presbyterian church, the Church of Scotland is governed by courts of elder 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.


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.

Meetings are usually held in the 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...
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