Record

CodeNA4577
Dates1631-1987
JurisdictionAberdeen
Person NameAberdeen; St Clement's Kirk Session; 1631-1987; Church of Scotland
EpithetChurch of Scotland
ActivityThe approximate site of St Clement's church, near the modern fishing village of Footdee (Aberdeen), was that of a pre-Reformation chapel dedicated to St Photinus, but by the end of the fifteenth century the dedication had changed to that of St Clement, the patron saint of seafarers. The chapel was restored in 1631, and was until 1828 part of the parish of St Nicholas, the town kirk of Aberdeen, when the parish of St Clement was disjoined, quoad omnia. The minister at the disjunction was John Thomson (1757 - 1838). He was followed in the parish by Alexander Spence (1804 - 1890), who came out at the Disruption and became minister of St Clement’s Free Church. The original St Clement's church continued despite the loss of its minister. After the Union of the United Free Church with the Church of Scotland in 1929, St Clement’s (United) Free Church became St Clement's West Church, which was united with St Clement’s East (the original St Clement's congregation) on 3 October 1963 under the name St Clement's. The congregation was dissolved on 31 May 1987.

Each congregation of the Church of Scotland has a Kirk Session, which comprises the minister(s) and the ruling elders, all members of the Session (including the minister) being elders. The elders' duty is care for the spiritual needs of the congregation; each of them has a district of the parish assigned to him/her. The Kirk Session determines the number of elders. The minister is moderator of the Session, and there is a clerk who has custody of all the Session's records. There may also be a treasurer, and an officer or beadle. The Session must have maintained a communion roll, containing the names and addresses of the communicant church members within the parish.

The Kirk Session's duties are to maintain good order amongst its congregation (including administering discipline and superintending the moral and religious condition of the parish), and to implement the Acts of the General Assembly. The Kirk Session is at the base of the pyramid of church courts, and it is subject to the review of the Presbytery in which it is situated, and to the superior courts of the Church. Each Kirk Session elects one of its number to represent it at the Presbytery (and formerly at the Synod).

Into the 19th century, there used to be weekly collections made for the support of the poor, but as the state began to assume responsibility for their support (by means of taxation) so funds collected from communicants might be directed to special schemes (eg support of missionaries), more recently through a weekly freewill offering scheme. Seat or pew rents were also quite common (money paid for a fixed seat in a church), but declined rapidly from the 1950s. Many congregations now have a congregational board, which monitors income and expenditure. Former Free Church congregations often had Deacons' Courts, which had responsibility for the whole property of the congregation, and had to apply spiritual principles in the conduct of their affairs.
Corporate NameSt Clement's Kirk Session
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