General Assembly 2014

This year's General Assembly will take place from May 17 to 23 in the General Assembly Hall on The Mound in Edinburgh. It has met almost every year since its inception in 1560.

It is preceded by the Ceremony of the Keys at Holyrood Palace on 16th May. This colourful tradition marks the handing over of the keys of Holyrood Palace from the City of Edinburgh to the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly

This year's Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly will be Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. He will take part in a ceremonial procession on the morning of the first day of the General Assembly. As Lord High Commissioner, the Prince will obseerve the Assembly as The Queen's representative, reporting back to Her Majesty what has been said. The last time the position was held by a member of the Royal Family was in 2007 when Prince Andrew was appointed. Prince Edward will also attend this year's Heart and Soul festival on 18th May in Princes Street Gardens where the Church of Scotland is celebrating its role across the world.

During General Assembly week, this annual gathering of the Church of Scotland will make decisions on matters of Church policy and governance.

The issues will be debated by around 730 Commissioners drawn from congregations across Scotland and beyond. The decisions made can have an historic and long-standing impact on the future of the national Church. Reports to the General Assembly are summarised in the Blue Book [5.3 MB].

This year a mobile app has been developed for Apple iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. This will allow users to access publications produced from the Assembly and will provides other useful features including the order of business, as well as local information on travel, accommodation, entertainment and places of interest. It can/will be available for download from the General Assembly Publications website.

Creativity in young people from across the nation is being celebrated during the week of the General Assembly. This is when this year's winners of the Moderator's Medal and Stevenson Prize are presented. Entrants for the Moderator's Medal, now in its third year, were asked to express, through any art form they wished, what the concept of 'who is my neighbour' meant to them. The Stevenson Prize has been established to encourage excellence within the fields of Religious Observance and Religious Education. Schools have been asked to submit folders of work describing school assemblies and activities relating to Religious Observation.

General Assembly timetable

Saturday May 17- 9.30am

  • Constitution of Assembly
  • Roll of Commissioners laid on the table
  • Election of Moderator and Prayer of Consecration (Members of Assembly stand when Moderator enters)
  • Commission to His Grace the Lord High Commissioner to be read, and order given for recording it (Members of Assembly stand)
  • Her Majesty's Letter to be read, and order given for recording it
  • Address by His Grace the Lord High Commissioner, and Reply by the Moderator
  • Appointment of Committee to prepare Answer to the Queen's Letter
  • Report of Standing Committee on Commissions
  • Submission of Standing Orders
  • Appointment of Committee for arranging Order of Business
  • Appointment of Panel of Tellers
  • Appointment of Committee to prepare Minute on Deceased Ministers, Missionaries and Deacons
  • Intimation of arrangements for the celebration of Holy Communion on Monday 19 May at 9.15am
  • Suspension of business - 10.30am - 10.45am (approximately)
  • Assembly Arrangements Committee
  • Scottish Bible Society
  • Returns to Overtures
  • Delegation of Assembly
  • Minutes of Commission of Assembly tabled
  • Overtures and Cases
  • Legal Questions Committee
  • Council of Assembly
  • Overture Presbytery of Argyll
  • Review and Reform
  • Iona Community Board
  • 5pm Communion rehearsal

Saturday May 17 - 7pm

  • Constitution of Assembly
  • Address by Retiring Moderator
  • Presentation of Delegates and Visitors

Sunday May 18

  • 10.00 am Assembly Service (St Giles')
  • 12.30 pm Gaelic Service (Greyfriars Kirk)
  • 1 - 6pm Heart and Soul 2014 (Princes St Gardens)

Monday May 19 - 9.15 am

Holy Communion

  • Constitution of Assembly
  • Business Committee
  • Ministries Council
  • Tenure Commission
  • Housing and Loan Fund
  • Pension Trustees
  • Overseas League reception

Tuesday May 20 - 9.15 am

  • Constitution of Assembly
  • Mission and Discipleship
  • Youth Assembly
  • Church of Scotland Guild
  • World Mission Council

Wednesday May 21- 9.15 am

  • Constitution of Assembly
  • Social Care Council
  • Theological Forum
  • Legal Questions Overture
  • Moderator's reception

Thursday May 22- 9.15 am

Order of the Day 2pm Stevenson Prize

  • Constitution of Assembly
  • Chaplains to HM Forces
  • Church and Society Council
  • 1707 Joint Report
  • Safeguarding
  • Beating Retreat and reception

Friday May 23 - 9.15 am

  • Constitution of Assembly
  • Ecumenical Relations
  • General Trustees
  • Church Hymnary Trustees
  • Church of Scotland Trust
  • Investors Trust
  • Central Services Committee
  • Nomination Committee
  • Selection Committee
  • Committee on Printing of Acts
  • Closing Session