Person NameAberdeen; St Nicholas' West Kirk Session; 1560-1980; Church of Scotland
EpithetChurch of Scotland
ActivitySt Nicholas' Church is the original High Kirk of Aberdeen. It existed long before the Reformation, and in 1577 a second charge was erected for the parish, a third charge being added in 1580. In 1596 the choir and crypt were separated from the main building to allow services there for the second charge. In 1826 a separate North Church was built for the third charge, and the North Parish was formally disjoined in 1828. In 1828 the East Parish of Aberdeen was created, into which was merged the second charge, and it was assigned the eastern part of St Nicholas. The remaining part of St Nicholas (the nave and transepts) was known as the West Church, or West of St Nicholas. The charge continued to 1980, when there was a union of East of St Nicholas and West of St Nicholas, under the name Kirk of St Nicholas.

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 Nicholas' West Kirk Session
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