These are some of the key roles and positions within the Church.
Meetings of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland are chaired by the Moderator of the General Assembly. He or she leads daily worship, keeps order, rules on points of order, and signs documents on behalf of the Assembly. The role is an honorary one, held for 12 months.
The correct title is 'Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland', or 'Moderator of the General Assembly', and not 'Moderator of the Church of Scotland'.
The Moderator is not the head of the Church: the Church of Scotland holds that Jesus Christ is 'the King and Head of the Church', nor is the Moderator the leader of the Church of Scotland, or its spokesperson. When asked for an opinion on important issues, the Moderator is expected to have in mind the views of the General Assembly or the relevant Church forum or committee.
After the Assembly, the Moderator spends much of the rest of his or her time in office travelling as a Church representative in Scotland, other parts of the UK, Ireland and overseas in an ambassadorial capacity. Every Moderator carries out a series of visits to several Church of Scotland presbyteries, as well as undertaking a number of international tours.
Regular features on the Moderator's itinerary are visits to one of the armed forces and a visit to the Scottish Parliament. The Moderator has two chaplains who assist in preparing for the General Assembly and provide support throughout Assembly week.
Lord High Commissioner
The Lord High Commissioner, or King's Commissioner, is appointed by the King as his representative at the General Assembly, taking up residence for the week in the Palace of Holyroodhouse. By custom, he or she addresses the Assembly at its opening and closing sessions, and attends much of the daily business, but is strictly not able to influence the debates. The Lord High Commissioner also undertakes a round of official visits in Scotland and several evening engagements at Holyroodhouse.
Faith Action Forum
Different areas of the Church's work is undertaken by the central Faith Action Forum. The Forum presents reports on its work each year to the General Assembly. You can read more about the remit and work of the Forum.
The Charity Trustees of the Church of Scotland, (the Unincorporated Entities) are known as the Assembly Trustees.
The role of the Principal Clerk is to act as the Clerk to the General Assembly, which includes advising the Assembly and the Moderator on church law, practice and procedure. The Principal Clerk also supports the Moderator throughout the year as well as providing training courses and advice on church law and procedures to Kirk Sessions, Presbyteries, ministers and other church bodies.
The Chief Officer has overall executive responsibility for the Trustees' employees and budgets. In addition, the Chief Officer is tasked with implementing the General Assembly's vision and strategy for a more streamlined, efficient church.