The Kirk Session meets on a regular basis and have responsibility for the spiritual wellbeing of the congregation as well as the property and finances
We have organised into 4 Ministries to allow Paisley St Georges to look to the future and look after all aspects of the church and our people.
The four Ministeries are: –
Nurturing, Outreach, Caring and Support. We also have a Business team to provide some overall structure and planning
All Session meetings are open and any member is free to attend. Minutes can be made available on request
The dates of the Session meetings can be found in our Kirk Session Calendar
The Role of the Kirk Session
I thought as Session Clerk that it might be helpful and educational for members to have some brief information on the function of the Kirk Session, as I am sure that many do not really know how it operates and what its powers are.
Our church, Paisley St George’s, operates under what is known in Church of Scotland as a Unitary Constitution. This means that we operate solely with a Kirk Session, and not as used to be in many churches, with a Kirk Session and Congregational Board. Under the Unitary Constitution the Kirk Session deals with all matters of the congregation whither spiritual ( worship, pastoral care etc) or temporal (finance, maintenance etc) as opposed to previously where Kirk Session dealt with spiritual matters and Congregational Board dealt with temporal matters.
The Kirk Session is made up of the Moderator, usually the Minister of the Church, and Elders. Appointment of Elders to the Kirk Session can be done in many ways, but is usually by recommendation from existing elders. The person is asked if they are willing to become an Elder, and then the Kirk Session approve the appointment.
The Kirk Session meets regularly, in our case about every two months unless there is something urgent to discuss. Session meetings are open to all members of the Church, although there are certain matters which must, due to the confidential nature of the discussion, be held in closed session, ie no person other than Elders.
Elders are ordained for life, but can retire from active Session duties, either full time(due to age, illness etc) or a limited time ( work issues, illness etc).
Duties of an elder are first of all to attend Session meetings, and thereafter any duty allocated to them by Session. This could include for instance, being responsible for a “district”, ie a small number of members who they keep in contact with and deliver regular Communion invitations, and usually being a member of a small committee, of which there are usually many dealing with all aspects of Church Life.
A Kirk Session also has responsibility for
~ matters of discipline
~ admission of new members
~ appointing new elders
~ appointing a Treasurer ( not necessarily an Elder),
~ maintaining property in accordance with all legislation and regulations,
~ issuing Contracts of Employment to any employee (cleaners and organist),
~ delegate to committees with remits.
~ all other matters relating to running of the Church
A Session Clerk will be appointed (not necessarily an Elder) and the duties are
~ orderly keeping of records including Minutes of Session meetings,
~issue Extracts of Minutes as required,
~ deal with any other correspondence,
~ any other matter as directed by Session.
The format of Worship is not included in Session remit as this is solely the responsibility of the Minister, although in a well organised and run church, it would hopefully be decided by mutual agreement.
As can be seen from the above brief description, the work of running the Church depends very much of the cooperation of many volunteers who are willing to give their time and talents to make things happen. Much of the work is done without the knowledge of the congregation, who in many cases do not appreciate what it takes to keep the buildings in good condition, control finances, etc.
If you feel that you could contribute your own talents in any way without the need to be an Elder, please contact me at any time.
Hamish Sutherland (Session Clerk) firstname.lastname@example.org