Frequently asked questions

Below are the answers to some frequently-asked questions about the Guild. If you can't find the answer to your question, please contact guild@churchofscotland.org.uk and we'll do our best to help you.

When did the Guild start?

The Guild was started in 1887 by Rev Dr Archibald Charteris. More details are in our timeline on the Resources page [link to resources page].

When and why was the name changed from Woman's Guild to Church of Scotland Guild?

Our name was changed in 1997, as the result of a research and development project which encouraged a change of name to mark the re-launch. This opened up our membership to men. The change in our constitution at that time also made our structure more flexible and brought in better ways of communicating throughout the organisation; things like a newsletter for every member and conferences for specific office-bearers.

How many men are in the Guild?

Anyone is welcome to be a member of the Guild if they accept our aim, however, we take note of the gender split in our membership. We now have over 400 men who are members. Many play a big part in their local Guilds and Councils. June 2010 saw the first man representing his Presbyterial Council on National Committee.

How can I join the Guild?

The Guild is open to anyone, women or men, who accepts our aim: that the Church of Scotland Guild is a movement within the Church of Scotland which invites and encourages both women and men to commit their lives to Jesus Christ and enables them to express their faith in worship, prayer and action. To find details of a local group near you, or about how to become an individual member, please email the Guild office at guild@churchofscotland.org.uk

How many office bearers do we need in our Guild group?

Contrary to popular belief, Guild groups only need to have a treasurer (under charities law, a named person has to be responsible for money) and someone who is willing to receive mailings from Guild Office (mailings that are full of news and interesting information!). Other than that, you can organise your group however you choose. Lots of groups now try to include more people in the day-to-day running of things and have a little group or groups of people to organise meetings or blocks of meetings – spread and share the load!

Our minister can't attend our first meeting – does this mean we can't start our Guild till he/she can come?

Lots of Guild ask their minister to 'open' their first meeting – and that's really good. But you certainly don't need the minister to open your first, or any other meeting! Why not try it yourselves – plan a simple opening worship and, of course, ask your minister along to one or more of your other meetings!

Someone has been proposed to sit on our Guild Business Committee, but they are not a member of our church (or of the Church of Scotland) – is that okay?

Our constitution says (paragraph 4:1) that it only matters that there is a majority of Church of Scotland members on your committee. The others don't have to be members of your church and can be of another denomination, just as long as they accept our aim!

We have a good Guild in our church - how can I get more involved?

If you are not yet a member, why not find out who the office-bearers are and arrange with them to pop along to the next meeting? If you are already a member but would like to get more involved, try getting in touch with your Presbyterial Council. Presbyterial Councils are groupings of Guilds, roughly in presbytery areas. By participating at council level, Guild members can be nominated to various posts including representing their council on national committees - a great way to be really involved with national decision making!

How long have we been supporting projects?

Guilds began supporting annual projects in 1969. The first was in partnership with National Mission and raised funding for playgroups in local congregations. Among the most newsworthy was the so-called Centenary Project in 1987 which raised money for work with drug-addicted prostitutes. In 1997, the Project Partnership Scheme was started and all the Guild's work was set out in three-year strategies. As part of that, six projects were selected to be supported for each of the three-year periods.

What do we do with old minute books?

Old minute books, from any part of church life, are an important part of church history. Minute books should be retained locally as far as possible within your church, or Presbytery office. Older records can be sent to the National Archives of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh.

We have a speaker coming to our next meeting – what do we pay them?

Expenses should always be offered to speakers as they give of their time to come and speak to your Guild. If a car is used, a mileage rate of 25p allows you to calculate the amount to offer. If the speaker is coming by train, it should be straightforward to ascertain the ticket cost. If you book a speaker from the Guild leadership team (National Convener, National Vice-Convener, Committee Convener, or the General Secretary), then there is a flat rate charge, no matter where that person is coming from. Currently, this charge is £40 (please check with Guild Office). Please ensure cheques are payable to the Church of Scotland Guild, and not to the person (individuals get all their expenses covered by the Guild Office, so no-one is out of pocket working for the Guild). Some organisations, eg. Guild Project Partners, may have different arrangements. Do feel free to raise the whole issue of expenses when booking a speaker, so you can be sure to do the right thing!

Why does the National Convener only serve one year?

Before the constitution was changed in 1997, the Guild National Presidents served three-year terms. When the constitution was being amended, it was felt that it was fairer to ask people to serve a one year period. The National Convener has a busy year liaising with the Guild Office, attending committee meetings, representing the Guild at external meetings and events, not forgetting the Annual Meeting and the General Assembly! It was hoped that by reducing the term of office to one year, that this would reduce the workload and be fairer to the other parts of a person's life, such as family and work commitments.

Are there Guilds outside Scotland?

There are five guild groups in the Presbyterial Council of England. Groups in other parts of the world - such as Bermuda, Mauritius and Malawi which maintain links with the Church of Scotland Guild - have joined in with various events, such as Guild Week.