|Activity||The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland of 1581 set down a pattern of presbyteries, and an Act of the Scottish parliament (c. 8, 1592) which finally established the Presbyterian system in Scotland made reference to the powers of the Presbytery. The Presbytery superintends the kirk sessions and ecclesiastical activity within its boundaries, and also elects the ministers and elders who are to attend the annual General Assembly. As a court presbyteries have the power of review of decisions taken by kirk sessions or congregations. Its membership comprises ministers, certain elders and (from 1990) members of the diaconate within its bounds. The Presbytery’s main officials are a moderator (effectively chairman), clerk and treasurer. Presbyteries meet more or less monthly.|
The Presbytery includes amongst its tasks the oversight of records (eg kirk session minutes, accounts, communion rolls) produced by each Kirk Session. Within each five-year period it will formally visit each congregation. When a congregation lacks a minister, then the Presbytery has an important role in ensuring that the spiritual needs of the congregation are fully met, fulfilling its responsibility for the spiritual well-being for all parishes within its bounds. The Presbytery will appoint an interim moderator to make arrangements for continuing services and the election of a new minister. Presbyteries have the duty of caring for the well-being of its ministers, and for those who are candidates for the ministry.
The Presbytery structure was one of the features of the Established church adopted by the Free Church at the Disruption of 1843. It was sustained after the unification of the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church in 1900. The resulting United Free Church presbyteries were abolished on the union with the Established Church of Scotland in 1929.