General Assembly

The General Assembly is a significant annual event in the Church of Scotland calendar. Throughout the week, commissioners to the General Assembly examine the work and laws of the Church and make decisions that affect its future.

General Assembly 2021

The Church of Scotland General Assembly for 2021 will be held online for a second year. It will open on Saturday 22 May and once again will be facilitated via Zoom and the "Assembly Hub".

This year, 756 participants are expected to join together remotely from across Scotland and around the world for the GA. This includes 671 Commissioners, along with Overseas and Ecumenical Delegates, Corresponding Members, and Youth Reps.

On Saturday 22 May, there will be an opening session at 10am, including the installation of the Moderator, and an afternoon session at 1pm. To limit screen time, business sessions Monday to Thursday will be across two afternoon sessions 1pm and 4pm, with anticipated latest end times of 3.30pm and 6pm respectively. The Assembly will close on the Thursday afternoon.

The proceedings will be live streamed and available for everyone to watch on the Church of Scotland website.

Pre-Assembly event with the Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair

A special event in which outgoing Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, will reflect on his unusual year in office will be streamed live from Assembly Hall at 8 pm Wednesday 19 May. In a conversation with Seonaid Knox, an elder at St John’s Parish Church in Gourock, Inverclyde, Dr Fair will share highlights from the year and his thoughts on how he successfully adapted the unique role in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will be available to watch live on Facebook and our live webcast page from 8-9 pm. A recording will be available after.

Lord High Commissioner

The Lord High Commissioner is the Sovereign's personal representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Lord High Commissioner's role is to maintain the relationship between the State and the Church. The appointee attends the General Assembly as an observer, makes an address, and reports to Her Majesty on its proceedings. The tradition of appointing a Lord High Commissioner began in the late 16th century.

Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge and Earl of Strathearn, as the Lord High Commissioner to the 2021 General Assembly. His Royal Highness was supposed to serve in the role at the 2020 General Assembly, but this was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Further information about the role and Prince William's appointment is available on the royal family's official website.

Moderator of the General Assembly 2021

An elder and former Deputy First Minister in the Scottish Executive minister will serve as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2021-22.

The Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC (Jim Wallace) will begin his year-long role of ambassador for the Church of Scotland in May 2021, succeeding the 2020-21 Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair.

How the General Assembly works

The video below explains how the General Assembly makes decisions and how this year's GA will work. You can learn more about terminology, history and procedures in our Guide to the General Assembly.

Previous General Assemblies

Themes, Reports, speeches and deliverances, as well as video highlights and photo galleries from the 2020 and 2019 General Assemblies can be found on our previous General Assemblies page.

Reports and deliverances from General Assemblies prior to 2019 can be found on our publications page.

Laws of the Church of Scotland

Visit our Church Law section for more information about the Acts, Regulations, and Constitution of the Church of Scotland, and the Barrier Act.