The National Church

The ‘National Church’ in the Church of Scotland refers to the agencies of the General Assembly, a range of Councils and Committees, in a collective manner.

Just as issues brought to Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries, and the developments they instruct, are carried out by teams working together, the National Church takes forward the instructions of the annual General Assembly, the sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland.

Various Committees have responsibility for issues concerning the Church and its various relationships with many bodies. Most Councils and Committees report directly to the General Assembly through reports contained in a publication, which is known as the 'Blue Book', which detail their recent work. The Church of Scotland website and the Church of Scotland Yearbook, which is a collection of statistical data published annually, provide more general information.

The members of all Councils and Committees come from local churches. Offering age and gender balance and a fair geographical representation, they bring their insights and experience as a key contribution to the work of Councils and Committees. So, elders, deacons, ministers and members are the ones who meet, pray and discuss - and form the 'National Church'. While staff offer guidance and assistance, provide background reports and prepare papers, it is the members who take decisions and their conveners give an account of this work at the following General Assembly.

Information about nominating individuals to serve is available. Membership usually lasts four years. Meetings take place, on the whole, in major cities and often at the Church of Scotland national offices (121 George street, Edinburgh). They invariably start with prayer or a reflection and end by all together saying 'the Grace' to one another.

Full overview on The National Church

Further reading and resources