Presbytery brings about real changes
Presbytery is the court of the Church that has the largest representation of elders. It can bring about real change in congregational life and mission, and yet the most difficult discussion in the annual calendar of the Kirk Session meetings can revolve round the question: Who is going to be the Presbytery elder?
Our forty-six Presbyteries have representation from every congregation in the Church of Scotland. Ministers, deacons, and elders gathering together for fellowship, worship, discussion, and decision-making on matters that affect our local parish and communities.
For many elders and members within the Kirk, the word "Presbytery" is synonymous with problems. The charge is often levied against presbyteries that they are never seen except when they need to administer some justice or discipline. Each Presbytery is charged with the task of supporting of the congregations within its bounds. Far from being overly judgemental and disciplinary, this process is about reviewing the congregation with a high level of congregational involvement, supporting them in celebrating their successes, and highlighting future areas of development and focus, such as mission and outreach, worship, pastoral care, and resource management.
Presbyteries will also seek to ensure that:
- appropriate support is in place for those exercising ministries within the area
- resources of ministers, youth workers, pastoral assistants, and more are deployed appropriately around the Presbytery as a result of an agreed plan
- congregations have appropriate training and skills in a variety of different ministry areas; for example, children’s ministry, youth ministry, pastoral ministry, and ministry amongst those who suffer from dementia
- provide opportunities to learn from, and share with, the wider Church both nationally and internationally
- offer support and provide helpful checks to those maintaining financial records of congregations
- assist congregations with working on their buildings not only to keep them wind and watertight but to ensure they meet the needs of a modern congregation serving their parish